Two For Tuesday: Sammy Kaye

As I’ve said many times before, the things you learn in this job. The list I built early on when I started this series came up with the name Sammy Kaye, who I had never heard of. It might have something to do with his not having a hit record after 1952, or it might be because his heyday came much earlier, before World War II. I had heard the tagline “Swing And Sway With Sammy Kaye” before, though.

According to The Blogger’s Best Friend, Sammy Kaye’s orchestra was one of the “sweet” bands of the Big Band Era, and I think you’ll understand what that means after you hear today’s songs. He was a hit at the record store and on the radio, and hosted several TV shows in that medium’s early days, on three of the four networks (DuMont was the odd one out). Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he and Don Reid wrote “Remember Pearl Harbor”, which he recorded and released on December 17, 1941, which rose to #3 in 1942. The tune was actually lifted from Ohio University’s alma mater.

One of his first #1 singles in the Baby Boom era was 1946’s “The Old Lamp-Lighter.” Billy Williams (not the Chicago Cubs’ outfielder during the 1960’s) did the vocal.

Sammy’s signature tune was “Harbor Lights,” which he released as a single in 1950. It topped the chart that year.

Shortly before his death in 1987, Sammy turned the reins of the orchestra over to Roger Thorpe, his longtime friend and music professor at SUNY New Paltz. Roger continues to lead the orchestra, according to their website.

Sammy Kaye, your Two For Tuesday, December 5, 2017.

11 thoughts on “Two For Tuesday: Sammy Kaye

  1. Wow, I remember Sammy Kaye, and his tagline – “Swing And Sway With Sammy Kaye”. Harbor Lights, I remember mostly by The Platters.


    1. There are hundreds of recordings of “Harbor Lights,” with The Platters doing the version most people are familiar with. I might use it in a future Battle of the Bands.


  2. The things I learn from this blog!! Thanks, John.
    “The Old Lamplighter” was familiar as soon as I heard the first bars. But I didn’t know “Harbor Lights.” 🎶🎶🎶


    1. Thanks. Sometimes you hear a name and know they’re famous but you can’t put your finger on what they did that made them so. I saw the name and decided to investigate.


  3. I might be the only one of your readers who remembers Sammy Kate; especially “Harbor Lights.”


  4. I’ve known the name, but I wasn’t much familiar with what Sammy Kaye had recorded. I do recall hearing both these songs before, but I can’t say what versions I’ve heard before.

    Tossing It Out


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