Tony Acquaviva

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Anthony "Tony" Acquaviva (May 10, 1925[1] – September 27, 1986,[2] also known professionally as Acquaviva, was an American composer, conductor and string instrumentalist, and the founder of the New York Pops Symphony Orchestra.[3]

Acquaviva was a graduate of the United States Military Academy and served in the Army's orchestral division from 1944 to 1948.[2] As a struggling young musician in New York City, he roomed with singer Guy Mitchell, sleeping on the floor for lack of furniture and once admitted to the press that the refrigerator there contained only one jar of mustard.[4]

He married Joni James in 1956 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City[5] and served as her manager and conductor.[2]

He recorded for MGM Records.[6][7]

Acquaviva later fell into bad health, and Joni James retired from performing to care for him (and their two children, adopted from Italy) for the last 18 years of his life.[5]

In recent years several authors have confused Tony Acquaviva with his younger brother Nick, who is the cowriter of "My Love, My Love" and numerous other Joni James hits. Tony Acquaviva did not compose songs which Joni James recorded, however, uncredited, he reportedly according to Joni James did write the bridge for the English version of the standard "That's All," a song he also successfully recorded.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Anthony Acquaviva at "Find A Grave",
  2. ^ a b c "Anthony Acquaviva, Composer, Dies at 61", Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2011.
  3. ^ "Acquaviva Shapes Symphony Project", Billboard, March 6, 1961, p.1.
  4. ^ Kleiner, Dick (May 15, 1955). "Guy Mitchell Once Wound Up With Nothing But Mustard In The Icebox". Florence Times. p. 13. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Bill Bell, "Joni James: A Melancholy Baby Returns", Daily News (New York), October 28, 2000.
  6. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "Platinum & Gold: The MGM Years". AllMusic Guide. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  7. ^ Some of Acquaviva's songs are credited to Nick Acquaviva. (See, e,g., David F. Lonergan, Hit Records, 1950–1975 (Scarecrow Press, 2004), ISBN 978-0-8108-5129-0, pp. 67, 110, 156. Excerpt available at Google Books.) Some sources treat Nick as the same person referred to in other sources as Tony (See, e.g., Mark Rotella, Amore: The Story of Italian American Song (Macmillan, 2010), ISBN 978-0-86547-698-1, p. 154. Excerpt available at Google Books.), but another source states that Nick was Tony's younger brother. (See Metronome magazine, vol. 70, p. 44 (1954). Excerpt available at Google Books.)

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