Percy Faith (April 7, 1908 – February 9, 1976) was a Canadian bandleader, orchestrator, composer and conductor, known for his lush arrangements of pop and Christmas standards. He is often credited with popularizing the "easy listening" or "mood music" format. Faith became a staple of American popular music in the 1950s and continued well into the 1960s. Though his professional orchestra-leading career began at the height of the swing era, Faith refined and rethought orchestration techniques, including use of large string sections, to soften and fill out the brass-dominated popular music of the 1940s.
Though Faith initially mined the worlds of Broadway, Hollywood and Latin music for many of his top-selling 1950s recordings, he enjoyed popularity starting in 1962 with his orchestral versions of popular rock and pop hits of the day. His Themes for Young Lovers album was a top seller during this era and introduced the Faith sound to a younger generation of listeners. With the success of Columbia record-mate Ray Conniff's chorus and orchestra during this same time, Faith began using a chorus (usually all female in most of his recordings, but used a mixed chorus on his albums "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and "I Think I Love You," which were released in 1970 and 1971 respectively) in several popular albums from the mid-1960s on. Faith's first single with a female chorus, "Yellow Days," was a substantial hit in the MOR (Middle of the Road) easy listening radio format of the mid-1960s. Faith continued to enjoy airplay and consistent album sales throughout the early 1970s, and received a second Grammy award in 1969 for his album Love Theme from 'Romeo and Juliet'.
Though best known for his recording career, Faith also occasionally scored motion pictures, and received an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of the song score for the Doris Day musical feature, Love Me or Leave Me. Several of his other original scores for dramatic features such as Tammy Tell Me True and The Oscar contained popular theme songs. Faith also composed the popular theme for the long running NBC series The Virginian.
With the advent of harder rock sounds in the 1970s, Faith's elegant arrangements fell out of favor with the listening and record-buying public, although he continued to release albums as diverse and contemporary as Jesus Christ Superstar and Black Magic Woman. He released one album of country music and two albums of disco-oriented arrangements toward the end of his forty-year career, his very last recording being a disco-style reworking of "Theme from a Summer Place", titled "Summer Place '76", which was a minor and, sadly, posthumous hit. Faith died of cancer in Encino, California, and was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. His wife, Mary (Palange) Faith, was born November 24, 1909 and died November 27, 1997 in Los Angeles. They married in 1928 and had 2 children, Marilyn and Peter.