Al Caiola

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Al Caiola
Birth nameAlexander Emil Caiola
Born(1920-09-07)September 7, 1920
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedNovember 9, 2016(2016-11-09) (aged 96)
Allendale, New Jersey
GenresJazz, country, rock, pop
Occupation(s)Musician, conductor, arranger, songwriter
Years active
  • 1955–1969
  • 1980–2016
LabelsAtco, Chancellor, Coral, HMV, RCA, Roulette, Savoy, Time, United Artists, Durium

Alexander Emil Caiola (September 7, 1920 – November 9, 2016) was an American guitarist, composer and arranger, who spanned a variety of music genres including jazz, country, rock, and pop.[1] He recorded over fifty albums and worked with some of the biggest names in music during the 20th century, including Elvis Presley, Ray Conniff, Ferrante & Teicher, Frank Sinatra, Percy Faith, Buddy Holly, Mitch Miller, and Tony Bennett.


During World War II Caiola played with the United States Marine Corps 5th Marine Division Band that also included Bob Crosby. Caiola served in the Battle of Iwo Jima as a stretcher bearer.

Caiola was a studio musician in the 1950s in New York City. He released some minor records under his own name in that decade. In addition, he performed under the musical direction of John Serry Sr. on an album for Dot Records in 1956 (Squeeze Play).

In 1960 he became a recording star on the United Artists label for over ten years. He had hits in 1961 with "The Magnificent Seven" (#35 in USA)[2] and "Bonanza" (#19 in USA[2]). The arrangements were typically by Don Costa, using a large orchestral backing.[3]

Caiola released singles and albums throughout the 1960s and beyond, though no others appeared on the charts except for an entry in 1964 with "From Russia with Love". United Artists used him to make commercial recordings of many movie and TV themes: "Wagon Train (Wagons Ho)", "The Ballad of Paladin", "The Rebel", and "Gunslinger". His album Solid Gold Guitar contained arrangements of "Jezebel", "Two Guitars", "Big Guitar", "I Walk the Line", and "Guitar Boogie".[citation needed]

The Magnificent Seven album, other than the title track, consisted of a variety of pop songs with a jazzy bent. Guitars Guitars Guitars was similar. There was a wide variety to his albums — soft pop, Italian, Hawaiian, country, jazz. In the early 1970s he continued on the Avalanche Recordings label, producing similar work including the album Theme From the 'Magnificent 7 Ride' '73. Later, on other labels, came some ethnic-themed instrumental albums such as In a Spanish Mood in 1982, and Italian instrumentals. In 1976, Caiola accompanied Sergio Franchi, Dana Valery, and Wayne J. Kirby (Franchi's musical director) on a concert tour to Johannesburg, South Africa.[citation needed]

Caiola died in Allendale, New Jersey, at the age of 96.[4]


  • Serenade in Blue (Savoy, 1956)
  • Music for Space Squirrels (Atco, 1958)
  • Deep in a Dream (Savoy, 1958)
  • High Strung (RCA Victor, 1959)
  • Guitars Guitars Guitars (United Artists, 1960)
  • Percussion Espanol (Time, 1960)
  • Great Pickin' with Don Arnone (Chancellor, 1960)
  • Salute Italia! (Roulette, 1960)
  • Guitar of Plenty (Time, 1960)
  • Italian Guitars (Time, 1960)
  • Guitars Woodwinds and Bongos (United Artists, 1960)
  • Golden Hit Instrumentals (United Artists, 1961)
  • Hit Instrumentals from Western TV Themes (United Artists, 1961)
  • Cleopatra and All That Jazz (United Artists, 1962)
  • The Guitar Style of Al Caiola (RCA Camden, 1962)
  • Solid Gold Guitar (United Artists, 1962)
  • Golden Guitar (United Artists, 1962)
  • Spanish Guitars (Time, 1962)
  • 50 Fabulous Guitar Favorites (United Artists, 1964)
  • Guitar for Lovers (United Artists, 1964)
  • The Magic World of Italy (Roulette, 1964)
  • 50 Fabulous Italian Favorites (United Artists, 1964)
  • On the Trail (United Artists, 1964)
  • Tuff Guitar (United Artists, 1965)
  • Solid Gold Guitar Goes Hawaiian (United Artists, 1965)
  • Sounds for Spies and Private Eyes (United Artists, 1965)
  • Tuff Guitar English Style (United Artists, 1965)
  • Tuff Guitar Tijuana Style (United Artists, 1966)
  • Romantico (United Artists, 1966)
  • King Guitar (United Artists, 1967)
  • The Power of Brass (United Artists, 1968)
  • It Must Be Him (United Artists, 1968)
  • Let the Sunshine In (United Artists, 1969)
  • Soft Guitars (Bainbridge, 1980)
  • In a Spanish Mood (Accord, 1982)
  • Amigo & Other Songs (Aurora, 1993)
  • Encore! Oro Italiano (Alanna, 2001)
  • Guitar for Latin Lovers (Alanna, 2001)
  • The Manhattan Guitars (Alanna, 2002)
  • Classic Italian Love Songs (Alanna, 2005)

Partial studio recordings list[edit]

External audio
audio icon You may hear Al Caiola performing the songs Granada and Secret Love from the album Squeeze Play with John Serry Sr. as released on Chicago Musette: John Serry et son Accordéon in 1958 Here on Gallica.BnF [5]
audio icon You may hear Al Caiola performing with John Serry on the album Squeeze Play in 1956 Here on [6]



  1. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 214/5. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ a b Whitburn 1992, p. 76.
  3. ^ Carlton, Jim (2009). "Al Caiola". Conversations with Great Jazz and Studio Guitarists. Mel Bay Publications. pp. 5–18. ISBN 978-0786651238.
  4. ^ Barnes, Mike (11 November 2016). "Al Caiola, Guitarist on Themes for 'Bonanza' and 'The Magnificent Seven,' Dies at 96". The Hollywood Reporter. ISSN 0018-3660.
  5. ^ "John Serry - Squeeze Play Featuring The Dynamic Accordion Of John Serry". Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  6. ^ Squeeze Play Featuring the Dynamic Accordion of John Serry album credits including Al Caiola playing guitar on
  7. ^ "Atlantic Records Discography: 1957". Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  8. ^ "Atlantic Records Discography: 1959". Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  9. ^ Selvin, Joel, Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues, Counterpoint, Berkeley, California, 2014 p. 372
  10. ^ "Atlantic Records Discography: 1958". Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  11. ^ "John Serry - Squeeze Play Featuring The Dynamic Accordion Of John Serry". Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  12. ^ Willis, Chuck, The Complete Chuck Willis: 1951-1957, JSP Records, London, England, 2009, Discs 1, 2 & 3, liner notes

Cited sources[edit]

  • Whitburn, Joel (1992). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. New York: Billboard Books.

External links[edit]