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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Johnny Horton born 30 April 1925

 
 
John Gale "Johnny" Horton (April 30, 1925 – November 5, 1960) was an American country music and rockabilly singer most famous for his semi-folk, so-called "saga songs" which began the "historical ballad" craze of the late 1950s and early 1960s. With them, he had several major successes, most notably in 1959 with the song "The Battle of New Orleans" (written by Jimmy Driftwood), which was awarded the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording. The song was awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award, and in 2001 ranked No. 333 of the Recording Industry Association of America's "Songs of the Century". His first hit, a number 1 song in 1959, was "When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)".
 
During 1960, Horton had two other successes with "North to Alaska" for John Wayne's movie, North to Alaska, and "Sink the Bismarck". Horton is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame

Horton was born John Gale Horton in Los Angeles but raised in the town of Rusk in East Texas. His family trekked back and forth from California often as migrant fruit pickers but always returned to the Rusk/Gallatin area in Texas. After graduation from Gallatin High School in 1944, he attended on a basketball scholarship the Methodist-affiliated Lon Morris College (then called "Lon Morris Junior College") in Jacksonville, Texas, the oldest junior college in the state. Although he did not graduate from Lon Morris or any other college, he later attended Seattle University. Thereafter, he worked in California and Alaska. He returned to Texas and won a talent contest hosted by then-radio announcer Jim Reeves at the Reo Palm Isle club in Longview, the seat of Gregg County. (Photo above -  Johny Horton in the middle flanked by Tillman Franks on bass & Tommy Tomlinson on electric guitar)

In 1950 he began singing country music on KXLA,Pasadena, Texas, and then proceeded to Cliffie Stone's "Hometown Jamboree" on KLAC-TV. In September 1953, he married Billie Jean Jones, who, in late 1952, had also been married to country music star Hank Williams for two and a half months prior to his death. Horton's first marriage to Donna Cook ended in a divorce, granted in Rusk. With Billie Jean, Johnny had two daughters, Yanina (Nina) and Melody. Billie Jean's daughter, Jerry, was also part of the family.

 
He joined the “Louisiana Hayride” in 1955 and performed under the name the Singing Fisherman. Companies he recorded with included Mercury, Dot, and Columbia. Horton was known for his versatility, but his specialty was honky-tonk. In 1956 he had his first hit, "Honky Tonk Man" as well as a few other singles that achieved respectable positions on the country and western charts.
 
 
 
 
1957 and 1958 were lean years, but his career peaked in 1959 and 1960 with the historically-flavored smashes "When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)," "The Battle of New Orleans," "Johnny Reb," "Sink the Bismark," and "North to Alaska." However, this formula eventually started to wear thin, requiring Horton and Franks to come up with another musical reinvention. They never received the opportunity to do so.
 
Horton was killed instantly in a head-on collision with a drunk driver on Highway 79 at Milano, Texas while he was returning home from a performance at the Skyline Club in Austin on November 5, 1960. Horton was still alive when he was pulled from the wreckage, but he died on the way to hospital in Cameron. With him in the car were Tillman Franks and guitarist Tommy

Tomlinson, who were badly injured, but survived. Johnny Horton reportedly had experienced premonitions several months before his own death about the possibility of dying in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. He always said that if he was in a head-on situation to drive into the ditch. His accident took place on a bridge so there was no ditch for which to head.

Horton is buried in the Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton east of Bossier City, Louisiana. He loved fishing as much, if not more, than singing. His favorite fishing holes abound through the Piney Woods of East Texas and northern Louisiana.
 
After Horton’s death, the vaults were raided, and unreleased songs would continue to be released for years to come.  A stash of home recorded demos turned up, and several of these were overdubbed by the Nashville A-Team and released on album. Although Johnny Horton’s personal life was filled with huge successes, hard times, and a tragic early death, fifty years later we are left with the voice—that magical voice that has calmed and soothed and entertained millions over the years.  Magic like that can’t be manufactured.

Johnny Horton will forever be remembered for his major contribution to both country and rockabilly music. He was a real easy going guy who was happiest when fishing or just messing about and that's perhaps how he should be remembered. Claude King summed him up best when he quoted Horton telling him "Don't ever worry, Ace, you'll get a wrinkle". (info various mainly Wikipedia)

 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Ann Peebles born 27 April 1947

 
Ann Peebles (born April 27, 1947) is an African American singer-songwriter who gained celebrity for her Memphis soul albums of the 1970s on the Hi Records label. Easily the best female singer in the Hi stable, Peebles ranked among the finest deep Southern soul singers of the decade, notching an instant classic with her 1973 hit "I Can't Stand the Rain." She co-wrote a generous share of her own material with husband Don Bryant, and while she cut plenty of love and heartbreak tunes, her persona was built on the grit and resilient strength she displayed on songs like "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down." Peebles wasn't always as appreciated on the charts as her work often merited, especially among pop listeners, but her best recordings hold up among the best of their era.
 
Peebles was born April 27, 1947, in East St. Louis, Missouri, the seventh of 11 children. Her father was a minister and her mother a singer, and naturally Peebles began singing at a young age in her father's church choir. She also sang with the family group, the Peebles Choir, which had been touring the gospel circuit since Peebles' grandfather founded it a generation earlier. As a teenager, she sang secular music on the St. Louis club circuit, supported and accompanied by her father. There she met blues bandleader Oliver Sain, a local legend, and eventually joined his revue.
 
Peebles caught her big break in 1968 on a trip to Memphis, where she asked to sit in on a club set by trumpeter Gene "Bowlegs" Miller. Miller was already signed to Hi Records at the time, and duly impressed with Peebles' voice, he brought her to Hi house producer Willie Mitchell for a tryout. Mitchell, who was still in the process of shifting the label from country to R&B (and had not yet discovered Al Green), immediately offered Peebles a contract; she was still shy of her 21st birthday.
 


 
 
Mitchell teamed Peebles with singer and house songwriter Don Bryant, seeking a bit more seasoning in her R&B phrasing. Peebles and Bryant soon began writing together (and would also end up dating). In the meantime, Peebles recorded her debut single, "Walk Away," a song written by Sain that just missed the Top 20 on the R&B chart in 1969. The follow-up, "Give Me Some Credit," was also a minor hit. Both songs were featured on the singer's debut album, This Is Ann Peebles. Her fourth single, 1970's "Part Time Love," was her first R&B Top Ten.
 
Her hot streak continued with 1973's I Can't Stand the Rain, which many critics still regard as her finest work. "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" was a decent-sized hit, and the brilliant title cut -- written by Peebles, Bryant, and disc jockey Bernard Miller -- became her biggest hit, peaking at number six R&B and famously becoming a favorite of John Lennon. She also charted with "(You Keep Me) Hangin' On" and "Do I Need You," but more importantly, married Bryant in 1974. 
 
In the wake of "I Can't Stand the Rain," Peebles was a star on the soul circuit, even if she never duplicated its commercial success. The rise of disco and the sale of Hi Records in 1977 would conspire against Peebles' career momentum.

By the late 70's with Mitchell and most of the Hi house band gone, Peebles took a hiatus from the music business to concentrate on her family. She reunited with Mitchell in 1989 to produce her comeback album, Call Me. Peebles then signed with roots label Rounder's Bullseye Blues subsidiary from 1992 - 1998.
 
1997 brought us Ann Peebles' second release on written and produced by Ann herself, Donald Bryant, and music director, arranger; Paul Brown titled Fill This World with Love. That album like her last earned much praise from her critics as well as a Handy Nomination, but it also spawned a worldwide tour that featured Ann Peebles in the most captivating live shows of her career. After Ann Peebles left Bullseye in 1998, she embarked on a series of album appearances including duets with soul legends, Don Covay, Carl Weathersby, European superstar Billie Ray Martin and most recently her husband Don Bryant on his brand new release titled It's All In The Word. Meanwhile, "I Can't Stand the Rain" was covered by numerous artists, including Tina Turner, and revived by Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott via sampling on her 1997 smash "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)."
 
 
 
In 2006 she released the album Brand New Classics, which consisted of re-recordings of some of her songs in an acoustic style. Her last concert appearance was at the Beale Street Music Festival in 2007. (see above photo) She and husband Don Bryant continue finding rewards in their involvement with a local therapeutic foster care agency called Omni Vision, Inc.
 
(Info various sources but mainly edited from All Music Guide) 

 
 
 
I usually post one video but had to add this live later version of      "I Can't Stand the Rain"

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Bobby Rydell born 26 April 1942


Bobby Rydell (born Robert Louis Ridarelli, April 26, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American professional singer, mainly of rock and roll music. In the early 1960s he was considered a teen idol. Well known tracks include "Wild One" and "Volare", and he appeared in the movie Bye Bye Birdie in 1963.

Robert Louis Ridarelli was born April 26th, 1942 and grew up in the same Italian neighbourhood of South Philadelphia as Frankie Avalon and Fabian. In his early years, Bobby would sit in front of the TV set trying to impersonate performers like Louis Prima, Milton Berle, and Johnny Ray. His father recognized Bobby's talent and encouraged him to pursue a show business career. While other children were listening to the latest hits, Rydell's father was taking him to listen to the last of the big bands working the various Philly clubs.

At age five, Bobby began taking drum lessons because he admired Gene Krupa, and by age seven, he had begun to work night clubs in Philadelphia. At nine, he was a regular on Paul Whiteman's television show that was broadcast from Philadelphia and performed on it for three years. It was during this time that Whiteman changed Bobby's last name to Rydell, because he had trouble pronouncing Ridarelli. 


By the time he was a teenager, Bobby was playing drums in a dance band called "Rocco and the Saints", that featured Frankie Avalon on the trumpet. The band played summer bookings in the seaside resorts around Atlantic City. Rydell also played the guitar and bass and was a natural comedian. He was later signed by Cameo Records and became an international star. In 1963, he portrayed Hugo Peabody in the movie version of Bye Bye Birdie with Ann Margret and Dick Van Dyke.


 




During the 1960s, Rydell had nineteen hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. These included his most popular hit, 1960's "Wild One" (his highest charting single, it reached #2). Other songs included, "Volare (song)", "Swingin' School," "Kissin' Time," "Sway", "I've Got Bonnie" and "Forget Him" (which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart).


Rydell's 18 charted hits — six of which hit the Top 10 and 12 of which hit the Top 20 — was quite a feat in the age when Elvis Presley was still king and the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Motown sound hadn't hit the American musical scene yet. Rydell's hits came in the four years after the death of Buddy Holly, the Army induction of Presley, the jailing of Chuck Berry, the scandal that hit Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard's retirement into ministry.

Rydell is also considered one of the "Teen Idols" — such as Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Johnny Tillotson, Jimmy Clanton and Bobby Vee — who all ruled the pop charts during this time. Ironically, Rydell's last chart smash was a song called Forget Him, which hit in the waning months of 1963. During this time, Rydell also appeared on many television shows, including the Red Skelton Show and the Danny Thomas Show.

In the late 60s Rydell joined the rock and roll revival shows at Madison Square Garden. In the 70s, he was a popular entertainer at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Clubs. He also worked at the Hyatt Regency and Waldorf Hotel chains and appeared at Disney theme parks. In January 1968, it was announced in the UK music magazine NME that Rydell had signed a long term recording contract with Reprise Records company. His career was hampered by Cameo-Parkway catalogue owner ABKCO Records' refusal to reissue Rydell's music, so the entire catalog was unavailable until 2005 (although he re-recorded his hits in 1995 for K-Tel Records)

In the late 70s Rydell considered moving into a "pop" direction pioneered by Barry Manilow. He appeared in a summer stock of "Bye, Bye, Birdie," this time playing the part of the father.He also appeared in a pilot comedy-variety television show "One More Time" that was to be produced by the Osmonds.



Rydell continued to perform as a solo act and has toured as part of The Golden Boys stage production since 1985 (above photo  of Fabian, Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell )

However, Rydell cancelled his 2012 Australia tour because his health had deteriorated significantly and he was in need of urgent major surgery. In July 2012, he underwent a double organ transplant to replace his liver and kidneys at Thomas Jefferson University in his hometown of Philadelphia. In January 2013, six months after double transplant surgery, Rydell returned to the stage in Las Vegas for a three night engagement to a sold out audience. He continues to perform internationally and he returned to tour Australia in 2014. (recent photo of Bobby Rydell and his wife, Linda Hoffman)

Bobby Rydell was never caught up in his fame. When asked why, Rydell always gave credit to his family roots. (info edited from classicbands.com & Wikipedia. First two label scans & mp3s from Music Master Oldies)
 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Ella Fitzgerald born 25 April 1917

 
Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917* – June 15, 1996), also known as "Lady Ella" and the "First Lady of Song", is considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th century. With a vocal range spanning three octaves, she was noted for her purity of tone, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing. She is widely considered to have been one of the supreme interpreters of the Great American Songbook. Over a recording career that lasted 59 years, she was the winner of 13 Grammy Awards, and was awarded the National Medal of Art by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush.
 
Her first dream was to be a dancer. Growing up in New York, she was inspired by "Snake Hips" Tucker, studying his serpentine moves and practicing them constantly with friends. Then, one fateful night at the Apollo Theater in 1934, the headlining Edwards Sisters brought down the house with their dancing. Amateur Hour began immediately after, and a 16-year-old Ella Fitzgerald stepped on stage, but was too intimidated to dance. Instead, she sang "Judy," silenced the awestruck crowd, and won first prize. It was the beginning of one of the most celebrated careers in music history.
 
Born in Newport News, Virginia in 1917, Ella Fitzgerald moved with her mother to New York after the death of her father. Living in Yonkers, Fitzgerald attended public school, where she sang in the glee club and received her musical education. After her early success at the Apollo, and as a popular performer at a number of other amateur venues, Fitzgerald was invited to join Chick Webb's band. Within a short while she was the star attraction, and had made a number hits including her trademark "A-tisket, A-tasket" (1938). After Webb's death in 1939, Fitzgerald led the band for three years. 
 
 
 
 
During her time with Webb's band, Fitzgerald recorded with a number of other musicians, including Benny Goodman. By the time she began her solo career in the mid-1940s, she was a well-respected figure throughout the music industry. Her vibrant and energetic voice showed an exceptional range and control. Performing with "Jazz at the Philharmonic," her popularity grew beyond the music world. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, she continued to perform as a jazz musician, but concentrated primarily on popular music. Rivaled only by Frank Sinatra, her recordings of work by Cole Porter, Ira and George Gershwin, and Rogers and Hart were incredibly successful.
 
One of the early "scat" performers, Fitzgerald found a place among the growing jazz innovators, making recordings with such greats as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. Her true genius, however, was not formal innovation or deeper expression, but artistic renderings of the enthusiastic songs of her time. "I'm very shy, and I shy away from people," Ella once said. "But the moment I hit the stage, it's a different feeling. I get nerve from somewhere; maybe it's because it's something I love to do." More than anything, it is this love of performing that won her the hearts of millions throughout the world.
 
By the 1970s, she was performing with a trio headed by pianist Tommy Flanagan, and regularly with dozens of different symphony orchestras. Though her voice was not what it had been, Fitzgerald's enthusiasm and charisma continued to excite crowds well into the 1980s. In September of 1986, she underwent a quintuple by-pass surgery.
Amazingly, she survived this surgery but was then diagnosed with diabetes.
 
After a successful appearance in the United Kingdom in 1990, she retired due to ailing health. Two years later President Ronald Reagan awarded her the National Medal of Honor. During 1993 suffering continued health problems, her diabetes worsened and as a result, she had to have both of her legs amputated below the knee. Fitzgerald spent the last few years of her life in her Beverly Hills home. On June 15, 1996 she died at the age of seventy-eight.
 
Of Fitzgerald, Johnny Mathis said, "She was the best there ever was. Amongst all of us who sing, she was the best." From those early days on Harlem streets to the upper stratosphere of musical fame, Ella Fitzgerald's life was the quintessential American success story.
 
 
Through fifty-eight years of performing, thirteen Grammys and more than forty million records sold, she elevated swing, bebop, and ballads to their highest potential. She was, undeniably, the First Lady of Song. (info mainly pbs.org. American Masters) (*NB a very few sources give birthday as 17th April, but I have gone with the majority)
 


Live at the Cannes Jazz Festival France July 8, 1958

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Freddie Scott born 24 April 1933


Freddie Scott (April 24, 1933 – June 4, 2007) was a solo artist who began his career as a songwriter for Colpix Records, along with Carole King and Gerry Goffin.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he sang with his grandmother’s gospel group the Gospel Keys while in his early teens. He attended Cooper High School in New York City and studied medicine at the University of Rhode Island but gave it up for singing. He recorded his first solo single, “Running Home”, for the small J&S label in 1956. But his recording career was cut short because of a call from Uncle Sam – resulting in a short period in Korea, but mainly working in Special Services up to '59 – which, however, didn't prevent Freddie from recording to small Bow and Arrow labels in '57 and '58. 
From 1956 to 1962 he would release nine more records for four different labels, but with little or no success.


During that period he wrote songs and together with Helen Miller they wrote for Al Nevins' and Don Kirshner's Aldon Music (in the company of Goffin & King, Mann & Weil, Neil Sedaka and others) providing material for Paul Anka, Ann-Margret, Gene Chandler, Bobby Darin, Tommy Hunt and Jackie Wilson. and even did production work to keep his singing dream alive. Freddies "Baby I'm Sorry" was recorded by Ricky Nelson for his 1957 debut album "Ricky"



His big break came in 1962 when he recorded a demo of “Hey Girl”, written by the Brill Building writing team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The song was written with Chuck Jackson in mind, but Chuck turned it down. Goffin and King liked Scott’s voice and recorded another version with Freddie and it was released in 1963 on the Colpix label, almost one year after he recorded the demo record.

The record became a Top Ten hit and effectively launched Scott’s career.The success of Hey Girl sent Freddie from behind the writing desk onto the road, but the success also called for an album. Freddie Scott Sings was released on a Columbia subsidiary, Colpix, in '63. He hit the charts another two times for Colpix, but lost favor as many American singers did due to the British Invasion. 

He moved on to Columbia records and released four more singles, but this time, with no chart activity.  In 1966 Bert Berns, the producer, songwriter and owner of Shout Records signed Freddie and returned him to the charts with “Are You Lonely For Me”.

 Freddie stayed on the charts until the untimely death of Bert Berns in 1967. Freddie’s chart career seemed to die with Berns. He did some jingle writing after that, and took some minor acting roles, but his singing career was over. One of Freddie’s songs from 1968 “You Got What I Need” was sampled in 1989 and became the signature song for rapper Biz Markie. While Scott’s star waned somewhat in the 1980s, he still toured and performed regularly, releasing a pair of new albums in 2001 and 2004. He also was a contributor to Van Morrison's "Vanthology" album released in 2003.

 

Over the course of his career, Freddie Scott released well over 30 single recordings and many, many albums. He died of a heart attack June 4, 2007 in New york City at the age of 74.
(Info edited mainly from Tunedex memories)


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Ray Peterson born 23 April 1935



Ray Peterson (April 23, 1935 – January 25, 2005) was an American pop music singer who was best remembered for singing "Tell Laura I Love Her" and "Corinna, Corinna" in the 1960s.


Ray T.Peterson was born in Denton, Texas on April 23, 1935. As a boy he had to overcome polio. He was told he would never walk again, but miraculously that was not the case, and he was left with only a slight limp. In later life, he even became an accomplished golfer. It was while he was being treated for polio at Warm Springs Foundation Hospital in Texas, that Ray began to sing to amuse himself and the other patients. When he was finally released, he began to work in local clubs before moving to Los Angeles, where he met longtime manager Stan Shulman.

Ray Peterson's remarkable 4-1/2-octave voice intrigued executives at RCA Records and they signed the singer in 1957. His first single was an unusual, almost gospel version of the Little Willie John 1956 hit, "Fever" that fell somewhere between the bluesy John arrangement and the later, sexier take by Peggy Lee.

"Fever" cooled in the marketplace and a new single "Let's Try Romance"/"Shirley Purly" was issued, but also found little response. Despite the lack of interest in Ray's early records, he remained with RCA and finally scored his first hit with his seventh single "The Wonder Of You". It was a gentle ballad written by veteran Baker Knight, and became a Top 30 success in the summer of 1959. Elvis Presley was so taken with Ray's heartwarming rendition that he called Ray and asked if he too could record it. A very flattered Ray Peterson told Elvis that he didn't have to ask - he was Elvis Presley. Elvis replied, "Yes I do - you are Ray Peterson". "The Wonder of You" became a Top 10 hit for Elvis in 1970.




Another minor hit, "Answer Me," followed before Peterson scored his greatest success with the 1960 epic "Tell Laura I Love Her." The record's popularity allowed the singer to fund his own label, Dunes, and he soon recruited producer Phil Spector  to helm a smash rendition of the traditional "Corrina Corrina." The Dunes roster also included singer Curtis Lee, for whom Spector produced the 1961 hits "Pretty Little Angel Eyes" and "Under the Moon of Love." Peterson himself went on to cut the Goffin/King-authored "Missing You" and "I Could Have Loved You So Well," but his stardom quickly faded, and after scoring a last minor chart entry with 1963's "Give Us Your Blessing" he signed to MGM in an attempt to cross over to country audiences..

His performances at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, produced by Fred Vail, beginning in 1963 helped fuel a revival of "The Wonder of You" as well as launch his new relationship with MGM Records, an alliance that produced two albums, "The Very Best of Ray Peterson" featuring most of the Dunes singles, and "The Other Side of Ray Peterson", which included many of his nightclub songs. He later moved to Nashville, Tennessee and by the 1970s when the hit records stopped coming, Peterson became a Baptist Church minister and occasionally played the oldies music circuit. Although ill the last couple of years, he still performed whenever he could.


Ray Peterson passed away at his home in Smyrna, Tennessee, at the age of 65, in January 2005, after battling cancer and pneumonia. He left a widow and four sons and three daughters. He was interred in the Roselawn Memorial Gardens cemetery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

(info edited from Wikipedia & rockabillyhall.com)



Monday, 21 April 2014

Don Cornell born 21 April 1919

 
Don Cornell (April 21, 1919 – February 23, 2004) was an American singer and top record seller during the big band era, the post war band years, and the fifties pop scene. he is regarded as one of American pop music's true superstars noted for his smooth but robust baritone voice.
 
Don Cornell was born Luigi Francisco Valero in New York City. He launched his music career as a guitarist with Red Nichols, and began his singing career in the late 1930s with a stint at the Hotel

Edison in New York. He recorded with the band of Bobby Hayes. In January of 1942 Don was with the orchestra of the McFarlane Twins. A few months later Cornell joined the band of Sammy Kaye,  His tenure with the band was short lived  however, as he joined the U.S. military. With the war over, Cornell got back together with the Sammy Kaye  Orchestra replacing Billy Williams late in 1946 and began a productive stay. After just one year with the band, Don Cornell proved to be the most popular vocalist since the Kaye band was formed.
 
In early 1950, Don Cornell stepped into the recording studio for RCA and recorded the song "It Isn't Fair" with Sammy Kaye on #3609. Before the record ended its more than six months stay on the best seller charts it had sold well more than one million copies and was number two for six consecutive weeks kept out of the top spot by "The Third Man Theme". The enormity of the sales he had racked up convinced Cornell that he was ready to go out on his own after eight years with Sammy Kaye. Cornell had sixteen charted records with Kaye, all but two of those in the last three years. RCA Victor kept Cornell with their label and looked forward to the continuation of the string of hits.
 
Unfortunately things did not work out as RCA had planned and Dons records failed to sell. RCA then came to the conclusion that without Sammy Kaye, Don Cornell could not be as big a success as he had been in the past. In late 1951 they let him go after a decade together, and now Cornell was really on his own. In the first days of 1952 Don Cornell was signed to Coral Records, and he hoped a fresh new beginning would be what he needed to revive his flagging career.
 
Maybe it was the change of scenery, or perhaps it was just the right time, or maybe a bit of luck was involved. Whatever the reason, the first Cornell release for Coral  was a song from the film of singer Jane Froman's life "With A Song In My Heart" - called "I'll Walk Alone".
 
The record began selling big almost immediately and carried Cornell into the top five best sellers and a five month stay on the charts. This record and most of Don Cornell's Coral recordings were accompanied by the Norman Leyden Orchestra. Almost before "I'll Walk Alone" began to fade, Coral was released in late spring featuring the song "I'm Yours". The song was perfectly suited for the strong baritone of Cornell and resulted in a massive hit record selling more than a million copies and reaching the number three position on the best seller charts. It stayed on the best seller list through the summer and re-established Cornell as one of the top recording stars of the post war era.
 
During his five decades in show business Don Cornell sold over 50 million records and charted with hits from 1949 to 1957 with such greats as "It Isn't Fair," "I'm Yours," "I'll Walk Alone," and "Hold My Hand." His version of "Hold My Hand" sold over one million copies, and topped the UK Singles Chart in 1954.
 
 
 
 
In 1963 Don Cornell was rewarded for his great career by being the recipient of a personal star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In later years Cornell made sporadic appearances in television such as on Miami Vice and BC Stryker. In 1979 Cornell moved to Florida. Considered a staple on the club circuit in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, Cornell continued performing into his 80s. His voice remained remarkably consistent despite his advancing years. 
 

 
In 1993, he was inducted into the Big Band Hall of Fame. His final performance was in February 2003. He died February 23, 2004, in Aventura, Florida from emphysema and diabetes at the age of 84. (info edited from various sources mainly earthlink.net)