Buddy Greco

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Buddy Greco
Buddy Greco 1962
Greco in 1962
Background information
Birth nameArmando Joseph Greco
Born(1926-08-14)August 14, 1926
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJanuary 10, 2017(2017-01-10) (aged 90)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
GenresJazz, traditional pop, country
Occupation(s)Singer, musician, arranger
InstrumentsPiano
Years active1942–2017
LabelsBainbridge, Kapp, London, Epic, Fontana, Reprise, Pye
Websitebuddygreco.com

Armando Joseph "Buddy" Greco (August 14, 1926 – January 10, 2017) was an American jazz and pop singer and pianist who had a long career in the US and UK. His recordings have sold millions, including "Oh Look A-There Ain't She Pretty", "Up, Up and Away", and "Around the World".[1] His most successful single was "The Lady Is a Tramp", which sold over one million copies.[2] During his career, he recorded over sixty albums. He conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, performed for Queen Elizabeth II and with the Beatles.[1]

Music career[edit]

Greco and George Carlin in a skit from Away We Go, 1967

Buddy Greco was born Armando Joseph Greco to an Italian-American family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother introduced him to piano at age four. As a child he sang on the radio, and as a teen performed in night clubs in Philadelphia. At age 16, he was hired by bandleader Benny Goodman and spent four years touring the world with the Goodman orchestra, playing piano, singing, and arranging.[1][3][4][5] In 1951 Greco started his recording career, signing with labels such as Coral, Kapp, Epic, and Reprise.

In 1967 he hosted the CBS television series Away We Go with comedian George Carlin. Guests included Buddy Rich and Carmen McRae. He had a role in the film The Girl Who Knew Too Much.[1] In 1969 he formed a duo with jazz guitarist Ron Escheté.[6]

Las Vegas and Palm Springs[edit]

Greco met his fifth and last wife, Lezlie Anders, while she was performing in Las Vegas. Working as his supporting act, she met Greco on the stage of the Desert Inn. After marrying, they worked and toured together.[7] In 1992, he performed in Las Vegas at the Starlight Room at Stars' Desert Inn. This engagement ushered in the second phase of his career. The following year he was added to the Philadelphia Music Alliance's Walk of Fame. Shortly after, he toured Italy, France, Australia, and England.[8]

While living in Palm Springs, Greco opened a small club. The walls were decorated with pictures of Greco, the Rat Pack, and other celebrity friends. He performed there often, and it became a popular place for celebrities to dine. After closing it, he moved to England.[9] While living in Palm Desert, California, he continued to appear at his club in Cathedral City, California,[10] until it closed in August 2009.

In 2004, he and Anders were headliners with The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies at the Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs, California.[11][12]

Life in Britain[edit]

Greco became acquainted with Great Britain in 1949. He spent many years performing in Britain's clubs. He moved to Essex, keeping his Palm Springs, California, property as a vacation home.[5] In 2008, he and Anders toured the UK. They performed with the BBC Big Band and at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. In August of that year, he was the first Las Vegas headliner to star at a British casino when he performed at the Circus Casino, Star City, Birmingham. In April 2010, he performed a tribute to Frank Sinatra for BBC Radio 2 with the 42-piece BBC Concert Orchestra. He toured the UK with the Swinging Las Vegas Legends show beginning in July 2010.

In 2010, Greco and his wife produced the stage show Fever! The Music of Miss Peggy Lee, which met with critical acclaim at its London West End opening. Greco played piano and conducted the orchestra while Anders sang. The show received positive reviews in the U.S.[7] On New Year's Eve 2011, he made a guest appearance at Hootenanny hosted by Jools Holland, singing "Fly Me to the Moon".

In 2012, he toured the UK in smaller venues, including Thameside Theatre Stage,[13] and The Broadway in Essex.[14]

Greco died on January 10, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the age of 90.[15]

Greco had an album released by Scepter which Tom Murray of the Calgary Herald referred to 48 years later as "a strange and beautiful mutant of its time".[16] The album was Let the Sunshine In. It included the songs "Let the Sunshine In", "Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon", "You're My World", "Spinning Wheel", "Never Gonna Give You Up", and "Like a Rolling Stone".[16]

Material loss[edit]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Buddy Greco among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[17]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Inductee, Walk of Fame, Philadelphia Music Alliance
  • Appears in Encyclopedia of Great Musicians and the Encyclopedia of Great Jazz Singers and Musicians[1]
  • Inducted into the Grand Order of Water Rats in 2011

Discography[edit]

Buddy Greco, by Allan Warren

As leader[edit]

  • Broadway Melodies (Kapp, 1956)
  • Buddy Greco at Mister Kelly's (Coral, 1956)
  • My Buddy (Fontana, 1959)
  • I Like It Swinging (Columbia, 1961)
  • Songs for Swinging Losers (Epic, 1961)
  • Let's Love (Epic, 1961)
  • Songs for Swinging Losers (Epic, 1961)
  • Buddy & Soul (Epic, 1962)
  • Sings for Intimate Moments with Dave Grusin (Epic, 1963)
  • Soft and Gentle (Epic, 1963)
  • Buddy's Back in Town (Columbia, 1961)
  • Modern Sounds of Hank Williams (Epic, 1964)
  • On Stage (Epic, 1964)
  • My Last Night in Rome (Epic, 1964)
  • Here's Buddy Greco (Vocalion, 1964)
  • From the Wrists Down (Epic, 1965)
  • I Love a Piano (Columbia, 1965)
  • Buddy Greco Sings and Plays with the Hollywood All Stars (Society, 1965)
  • Buddy's in a Brand New Bag (Reprise, 1966)
  • Big Band & Ballads (Reprise, 1966)[18]
  • Away We Go! (Reprise, 1966)[18]
  • Let the Sunshine In (Wand, 1969)[18]
  • It's My Life (Pye, 1972)[18]
  • Movin' On (Pye, 1973)[18]
  • Buddy Greco Live (Pye, 1974)[18]
  • Live at the Sands (Picc-a-Dilly, 1980)[18]
  • For Once in My Life (Project 3, 1979)
  • Hot Nights (Applause, 1982)
  • Ready for Your Love (Bainbridge, 1984)[19][20]
  • Movin' On (USA Music, 1989)
  • It's Magic (Prestige, 1990)[18]
  • 'Round Midnight (Bay Cities, 1992)
  • Route 66 (Celebrity, 1994)
  • In Style (Camden, 1996)
  • Jazz Grooves (Candid, 1998)

Singles[edit]

Year Title Chart positions
US US AC
1947 "Ooh! Look-A There, Ain't She Pretty" 15
1951 "I Ran All the Way Home" 30
1960 "The Lady Is a Tramp"A
1961 "Around the World" 109
1962 "Mr. Lonely" 64
1965 "That Darn Cat" 36
"I Can't Begin to Tell You" 132 27
1966 "Put Yourself in My Place" 24
"Walking on New Grass" 21
1967 "Love's Gonna Live Here Again" 19
"There She Goes" 14
1972 "From Atlanta to Goodbye" 34
  • A "The Lady Is a Tramp" peaked at No. 26 in UK Singles charts.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Summers, Kim. "Buddy Greco". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins. p. 135. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The book of golden discs (2 ed.). London: Barrie & Jenkins. p. 43. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. ^ "I Would Die If I Quit". Liverpool Daily Echo. 13 August 2010. p. 11.
  5. ^ a b "My Hols". The Sunday Times. 7 April 2013. p. 27.
  6. ^ "Ron Escheté - Biography". www.roneschete.com. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Rat pack legend tells Peggy's story". Croydon Advertiser, 4 November. 2011: 49, Print.
  8. ^ "Six decades and 62 albums later, this showman goes on". St. Petersburg Times. 24 January 1997. p. 5.
  9. ^ "Performer finds heavenly Springs". The Gold Coast Bulletin. 8 September 2007. p. 123.
  10. ^ Davis, Rick (November 1, 2005). "Dinner Club Due in Desert: For Buddy Greco, it's show business as usual". The Public Record. Desert Publication, Inc. and Sharon Apfelbaum. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014.
  11. ^ "Palm Springs Follies Opens". Inland Empire Business Journal. Daily Planet Publishing, Inc. November 1, 2004. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  12. ^ "Palm Springs Follies pays tribute to the golden age of burlesque". Redlands Daily Facts. Los Angeles Newspaper Group. August 4, 2004. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  13. ^ "Legend Buddy Is Back On Stage". Thurrock Gazette, 15 April 2012: Print.
  14. ^ "An Evening With Buddy Greco". Brentwood Gazette, 25 January 2012: 3, Print.
  15. ^ Mike Barnes (January 10, 2017). "Buddy Greco, Jazz Pianist, Vocalist and Las Vegas Mainstay, Dies at 90". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Murray, Tom (15 July 2017). "Bob Dylan inspires covers and controversy". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  17. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h "Buddy Greco." Discogs, 2014. Web. 19 Jan 2014.
  19. ^ Billboard Dec 22, 1984 - Page 72 "BUDDY GRECO Ready For Your Love PRODUCERS: Buddy Greco. Art Clausen Bainbridge BT 6255 With a full orchestra dotted with top L.A. players, Greco tackles a program of newer, lesser-known, adult pop titles, with the lone recent hit ..."
  20. ^ Show Music - Volume 4, Issue 1 - Page 43 1985 "Jazz singer Buddy Greco's READY FOR TOUR LOVE (BT 6255) features nine recent vintage songs, with "The Hungry Years," "Love Won't Let Me Wait," "Me and Mrs. Jones," and "Ready For Your Love" included on the album. I AM WHAT I AM ..."

External links[edit]