Happy New Year, everyone! A few hours late for the celebrations of yesterday, but I thought honoring Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians was appropriate. He and his orchestra were a fixture of New Year’s Eve from 1928 until 1976, a few months before he died of a heart attack.
Gaetano Alberto “Guy” Lombardo was born in London, Ontario to Italian immigrants Gaetano Sr. and Lena Lombardo in 1902. His father was a tailor and a baritone singer who encouraged Guy and brothers Carmen, Lebert, and Victor to learn musical instruments so that they could accompany him. The band rehearsed in the back of Dad’s tailor shop. They began their prolific recording career in 1926. (Louis Armstrong was a big fan.) They started playing New Year’s Eve at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1928. Generally, their New Year’s Eve broadcasts (both radio and TV beginning in 1956) were carried on the CBS network, though they were syndicated in the late Sixties and early Seventies.
The first song here is “On a Slow Boat to China,” featuring a vocal by ?. “Auld Lang Syne,” the tune for which they are best known, is the second; the tradition is that it’s the song that plays at Times Square at midnight.
I wish you success, happiness, love, and fulfillment in 2013.