Frederic Efrem "Fred" Rich (January 31, 1898 – September 8, 1956) was a Polish-born American bandleader and composer who was active from the 1920s to the 1950s. Among the famous musicians in his band included the Dorsey Brothers, Joe Venuti, Bunny Berigan and Benny Goodman. In the early 1930s, Elmer Feldkamp was one of his vocalists.
Fred Rich was born in Warsaw, Poland. Rich was a pianist and he formed his own band in the 1920s. His theme songs were “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” and “So Beats My Heart For You.” Between 1925-1928, he toured Europe. Rich enjoyed a long stay at the famous Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. After this, he began leading studio band that featured many famous musicians. He recorded for Okeh, Columbia, Paramount, Camden and Vocalion and several others, often recording under the names Fred Richards, the Astorites, the Hotel Astor Band (Rich and his band served as their house band for a time in the 1920s) and many others. In the late 1930s, he would become a musical director for various radio stations and in 1942, he moved onto a staff position with United Artists Studios in Hollywood, where he was to remain for most of his career.
Like many prolific leaders of bands and studio groups, most of Rich's records are typical ordinary dance fare of the era. However, during the period between November 1929 and March 1931, there was a scattering of outstanding hot jazz versions of popular tunes, with notable solos by Bunny Berigan, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, and others. These celebrated recordings include:
- A Peach Of A Pair (October 29, 1930)
- I Got Rhythm (October 29, 1930)
- Cheerful Little Earful (November 19, 1930)
- I'm Tickled Pink With A Blue-Eyed Baby (November 19, 1930)
As "Freddie Rich," he recorded dozens of popular-title piano rolls in the 1920s for the Aeolian Company, both for its reproducing Duo-Art system and its 88 note Mel-O-Dee label.
In 1945, Rich was badly injured when he suffered a fall. As a result, he suffered from partial paralysis. But despite this, Rich continued to lead studio bands into the 1950s. Fred Rich died on September 8, 1956 in California aged 58 after a long illness.
A pianist, Fred Rich has a number of song credits to his name, including “Blue Tahitian Moonlight,” “Time Will Tell” and “On The Riviera.” He also wrote scores for many movies.
Awards and nominations
- 1943 - Nominated for Academy Award for Original Music Score (Scoring of a Musical Picture) for Stage Door Canteen
- 1944 - Nominated for Academy Award for Original Music Score (Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) for Jack London
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