Welcome to the PERCY FAITH PAGES

featuring the music and memory of

Percy Faith 1908-1976

POPULAR MUSIC FOR ORCHESTRA

PERCY FAITH:   COMPOSER-CONDUCTOR-ARRANGER

Percy Faith had a tremendous career, doing just what he wanted to do, creating albums of beautiful music.   Actually that's the second half of his career, the first was "on the air" bringing his unique orchestral arrangements and compositions to radio.  I've been told that there was actually a time when few households had TELEVISIONS... my late mother used to stay up late at night to hear David Rose and his CALIFORNIA MELODIES programs.  As time goes by people don't even remember Percy's hit arrangement of Max Steiner's SUMMER PLACE, or DELICADO or MOULIN ROUGE - but view these pages and you'll realize that he recorded over a thousand arrangements with a style that could never be duplicated.  After all these years, we are rewarded with our treasured albums being available in the "best possible" sound of the compact disc; see below!   There are several great CD reissues by Taragon and Collectables, and manufacturing remains with Sony (Taragon 's Eliot Goshman did his own re-mastering of the Percy Faith Columbia albums he reissued).   It is a great tribute to PERCY FAITH that his music continues to delight listeners in the 21st Century!


ATTENTION PERCY FAITH FANS and lovers of bad movies with great music

THE OSCAR is available on Blu Ray or DVD

Out of respect for some fine actors and actresses (except 2 of them, I'll leave that up to you) this film was for rent/reluctant sale in the VHS heyday, featuring Percy Faith's beautiful score, it's an interesting time capsule for some of us aging boomers; Columbia Records released the soundtrack on Lp,  Oldies (Collectables) in conjunction with Sony, reissued the Lp on a wonderful CD.  This is NOT a wonderful film per W. Halvorsen, movie critic of the moment).  When asked about the film in the WMAL-radio interview, Percy said "Tony Bennett is certainly no actor."  Buy this and see what you think... due to the pandemic, Oldies.com is closed, AMAZON has prioritized orders to help with Corona-19 so shipping is about a month out; BESTBUY.com shipped it to me very quickly, though there was a hefty postage to pay.  Hollywood likes to make movies about Hollywood.  This film had to be supressed for a half century for a reason - but I'm glad to see it reissued, dubious writing and acting and all.  In the 1990's and through various permutations since, Mystery Since Theater 3000, showed horrible movies that baffle the mind with "what were they thinking" but MST3K, later Cinematic Titanic made it clear, movies with certain characteristics made them great riffing material.  Watch this a few times, and (maintaining social distancing) get your friends to join in the fray!  Joel Hodgson, we need you and your cast OUT of retirement to restore dignity to this "cinematic titanic."  Seriously, it's fun to watch, the extras are - well, they COULD explain the era, the cast members, the writing, the "worst movie ever made to a beautiful score" (said the late Gene Lees years ago).

Good news in this very gloomy pandemic year of 2020.

THE OSCAR 1965 original VHS covers

THE OSCAR 2020 reissue 4k scan on Blu Ray

I don't have a super-duper 4K computer monitor, the scans above are likely impossible to read; most importantly, the film was restored and scanned at 4K and it looks WONDERFUL.  I think it's Pathe´ Colour, and looks - well - a thousand times better than the VHS copy (not just because the VHS resolution is BAD, but because through re-scanning and opening up the colour palette you might think it's a 3-stripe Technicolour film; I don't know much about these things, but it looks wonderful on a 16:9 screen that many of us are using.  The VHS of a half-century ago is 4:3 aspect ratio.  It's one of those outcomes that is nearly ideal - a brand-new looking print, vivid colors, I don't know what aspect ratio it was originally but the restoration leaves very narrow black areas at the extreme left and right edges of the screen, but there is no stretching or any other kind of mickey-mousing with the film.  It does light the magical DTS sound-related light on my receiver, but evidently sound in 1965 wasn't a top priority, as it is monophonic sound, but pleasing, no distortion, no gimmicks, dialog of the ?questionable? script is crystal clear.

Two "extras" are included - both nearly wipe out the soundtrack while the audio commentators talk, though on the second set good use is made of subtitles.  Percy Faith had very little success with films, and the commentaries are a bit skewed on this; I've said it before and will say it again - Percy Faith was no stranger to films - going back to 1955's LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME which was essentially a brassy backing for Doris day.  Percy Faith's son Peter (who preceded Percy in death in 1974) ran a highly successful talent agency (THE PETER FAITH AGENCY) that brought temperamental producers/directors/dictators together with musical talent, back when scores were written for pictures (now films seem hell-bent on packing in as many "hit" vocal singles as physically possible, making for some looong end-credits).  As both Percy and son Peter Faith (and many others) knew well, a favorite producer trick was to "throw out" scores - in some cases it seemed said producers didn't appreciate the talent that went into scoring a picture - there's an entire CD by Henry Mancini made up of discarded scores - some quite stunning.

Percy did quite well in the Columbia recording studios making RECORDS, first in NYC then in LA; I don't even know how many albums he made, exactly, but the number has to be around 90.  That ain't bad for a composer-conductor-arranger of popular music for ORCHESTRA.  Marilyn stressed that Percy's career was already almost halfway done from the many radio shows he arranged and conducted when he was hired by Mitch Miller for Columbia Records.  Ii's hard to count the exact number as, of course, reissues took place, many Faith tracks were used on "omnibus" albums that make one wonder who these marketeers were - anyway, please enjoy THE OSCAR, I'm pretty sure you'll find it to be the only Faith soundtrack score that was re-done in the studio for stereo (hence OS 2950) but sadly NOT for the film.

Elsewhere on this site there are some raw studio tracks from the few pictures Percy scored; interestingly in 1991 when I visited Dolly and Marilyn there was no raw tape of the film sequences - just a 1/2 track stereo tape of the Columbia LA studio session (OS 2950) for THE OSCAR.  The studio orchestra used in the film, conducted, composed, and arranged by Percy, are not Percy's "regular performers" as they ARE in the  "after the picture" recordings.  (Like Mancini and many others, their "soundtrack" albums were really full-on studio recordings where they took off on their own.

Tony Bennett did NOT sing Percy's "Maybe September" in the film, though it does appear on the CD, it is also on Tony's own MOVIE SONG ALBUM.  At Percy's funeral, MAYBE SEPTEMBER, the instrumental version, was the only music played at the service... chosen by Marilyn as the most beautiful song he had written.  Buy this film, enjoy it as a time capsule, just don't damage the television when the acting and writing get to be way off.  The flat-screen televisions of today are NOT meant to survive projectile hits!


My Scrapbook! 7/2018


GOOD NEWS FOR THIS OLD SITE - 5/2020

Several years ago in a planet far, far away... Microsoft clobbered this site with its large audio and video files as it made "streaming" impossible; it DID work in Internet Exploder 11, but that's it.  Be sure to associate .wma and .wmv files with Windows Media Player, I'm not sure that the newer "stuff" works.  I'm HAPPY TO SAY that at least Windows 10 - using Windows Media Player - WORKS again; click on a video or audio file and it will play immediately.  Of course you can still right click and download the huge file as well.  I don't have an Apple desktop, but can say that the "streaming" is also working on the iPad (1st generation 12.9" screen with a nearly dead battery).  HOWEVER on the ipad you need to download a "player/helper app" - I chose "wmv HD Player" - it  costs $3.99 to convert it from noware, 10-second limitations) to realware; and when you want to visit this site or the WQMR/WGAYmemories.org site, you need to bring up the webpages through the app - don't try Safari, it will download the file but won't attempt to play it, only yielding a lovely black screen, the file WILL appear on your iPad in "files" but you'll have no native way to play them without the "helper."  Use the full URL, or the add-in program will take you to strange places (use http:/www.percyfaithpages.org   - spell it all out, otherwise you'll encounter problems.  A workaround to this is to use a PC instead.  JUST KIDDING.  What used to happen, in Windows, is that the entire file had to downloaded before the Windows Media Player would launch and play the file.  Now it works - watch as much or as little as you wish, and just "red x" out of Windows Media Player when your done, OR right click and download if you have a s-l-o-w connection, like DSL.


Any questions or requests regarding rights, manuscripts, etc. of the great legacy of compositions and arrangements should be directed to: PercyFaithMusic@gmail.com

(PercyFaithMusic is managed by his grandson, Rick Gleitsman!)


WQMR/WGAY MEMORIES

...a station that was one of the "originals" broadcasting uninterrupted blocks (clusters) of instrumental popular music long before The Syndicators came along...

my GOD, they played mostly instrumental standards and showtunes, THIS is one of many stations that adults enjoyed and made the station VERY popular for the "adults" in the Washington DC area

December 2014, Joe Brechner's son Berl writes, Joe was one of the co-founders of WGAY (follow the above link); there's a bit of information about the station "pre Quality Music" and "Pre Connie Bariot Gay's ownership" - it looks like in the late 1950's at least during some dayparts and days of the week, the station was top 40... new scans of "Top 40" WGAY playlists from the late 1950's have been added, thanks to Charlie Polinger, May 2017

WQMR (Washington's Quality Music Radio) was located at "1050 on the AM band" - while Connie B. Gay bought the station that bore his last name, a 1,000 watt daytimer that broadcast from a white art-deco building known as 11306 Kemp Mill Road in Wheaton, Maryland that went on the air in 1947 as WGAY, Mr. Gay "flipped" the format to beautiful music in the spring of 1960 and changed the call letters to WQMR, a couple years later he added a 20,000 watt monophonic transmitter at the Kemp Mill Road address, though it was licensed to Washington, DC (common practice).  The newly added FM station, at 99.5 FM, picked up the WGAY call letters, and brought Washington Metropolitan Area listeners "great albums of beautiful music" in high fidelity with extended hours after sunset, something the 1050 AM side couldn't do!  The AM/FM stations were so successful the stations moved to the top (10th story) of the World Building on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, where it offered 24/7 (save for a few times when the transmitter was taken off-air for maintenance) service - IN STEREO.  Details in the link above - sounds not heard since the 60's and 70's, pictures, articles about the "little daytimer" that became a huge success... then went away as ROCK took over the world :(

Detective Bob Bell who figured out where WQMR's little art-deco 1947 vintage building was (I couldn't tell and don't live in Maryland anymore) has rescued the original URL that I abandoned, and for several years it has been held by a foreign country, a five letter word, I did get a "ransom letter" written in barely perceptible English that I could have it back for some outrageous fee.  Bob saw it had become available again (they gave up - and no one wanted it - 'tis rather obscure, I should think), and picked it up!  So if you'd like you can tune your browser to "wqmrwgaymemories.org" and that's exactly where you will land.  Until I break it again :*(



Percy Faith in 4 Channel Discrete Surround Sound, finally...along with artists such as Henry Mancini

Michael Dutton's essential Vocalion UK label

duttonvocalion.com

Get thee to Michael Dutton's VOCALION site in the UK and you'll see some new SACD reissues of our favorite music!

   - lots of Henry Mancini, Hugo Montenegro, Charles Gearhardt, etc. with our favorite soundtracks orchestrally performed - and several more artists to discover in true discrete four channel sound (40 odd years later, but who's counting).

NEW RELEASE, 2-fer from Michael Dutton available NOW

SACD's - we used to have two huge bins of them at that big box store; the bins were removed after a couple of years (1970's) and then they were relegated to a rather small section of a shelf.  A lot has happened; I'll try to be brief but it's only a web site, but read it anyway... The large recording companies ranted and raved and promulgated 4-channel sound for the Age of Aquarius.  It was interesting to see Japanese countries and the American companies still making "hi fi" components rush for the ultimate, that is, "surround sound."

SQ,QS,Vario-Matrix, etc., tried to make 4 channels out of two with out-of-phase sounds highly exaggerated, with instruments often recorded in separate booths to emphasize their "quadraphonic-ness."  Long before this tangled web companies like Dynaco made SIMPLE connectors with connectors/POTS/etc., that allowed you to try - sometimes to moderate success, sometimes to NO success, a "surround" recording, at least with reverberance pushed to be back; it was "luck of the draw" and not all that good in terms of luck.  RCA was the only company with CD-4 Quadrasks that took a stab at REAL discrete 4-channel sound, using roughly the same technique as FM multiplexing.  Trouble is, the tracking of the music, the infrasonic carrier, and the "difference" information made tracking and bass reproduction a bear - but at least they tried, and weren't foisting this Matrix nonsense on the public.

Trying to acquire a system capable of reproducing SACD's today is difficult; back in 1970, lots of CD players had RCA connectors with the four channels represented; no more, now all CD capable players force us to go the HDMI route - if you're a "hard-core" Percy Faith listener (lots of Mancini SACD's are out there as well on Vocalion) with full-range speakers you might check into it; just remember the package or instructions MUST have the SACD logo or you'll get nothing better than a standard CD upon playback.  The logo can be seen (poorly) in the photo above.

Be careful before jumping into a system with SACD capability; the few releases sound great, but as the 70's wore on the SACD racks at Best Buy vanished, leaving a small shelf area - and if you find them you'll not find Faith, Mancini, Montenegro, etc., though you can find some at the UK's VOCALION label, that now belongs to Michael Dutton.  Above all, don't assume your new fancy surround receiver with all the bells and whistles will decode the SACD!  It must carry the SACD logo, verify before you buy!  Newer technology can bring full Dolby Digital 5.1 channel sound (and more, especially on movie soundtracks, latest thing is to carry "height" information).  Yes, it probably will decode tens of formats, but SACD is now what corporate types would call LEGACY.

Since I'm Very Old (geezer age) 2-channel sound, when well done, is my favorite, we only have two ears.  I remember 1960s era AUDIO magazines being very honest about all this; in "matrixed quad" you can be sure front to rear separation will be only a few decibels, and left-rear to right-rear separation - is close to non-existent.


REAL GONE MUSIC - YOU'VE DONE IT AGAIN!

JOHN KLEIN - at the Carillon Americana, with a 2'fer (A Christmas Sound Spectacular, plus "Let's Ring The Bells All Around the Christmas Tree) from 1958 and 1964.

 I have searched for "A Christmas Sound Spectacular" since first hearing it; RCA must have deleted it quickly after its release, I used to hunt for records in warehouses and old record stores all over the metro DC area and never even found a "beat-up" mono copy!  SO NOW THE GREAT NEWS: After only half a century of wanting to hear this album again, it can be found (like everything else) on AMAZON!  The CD's aren't the "magic" as I remembered the first tracks heard circa 1968, Klien's own arrangements and the recording of the orchestra seem (to me) not up to the standards of the Sid Ramin collaboration I've listened to over the years, but it's still a wonderful, one-of-a-kind CD.


Percy Faith did not like vocals, a "controversy" according to some.  This was flatly spoken to me by the late Faith daughter Marilyn Faith Leonard; Percy had professional respect for vocalists - but in his own work, his Percy Faith albums, he much preferred working and creating compositions and of course arrangements for the orchestra.  Don't believe me?  Look over Percy's catalog; after the Mitch Miller agreement had elapsed (you do vocal arrangements for me, I'll let you record the orchestra under your own name) Percy recorded and sold most of his Columbia catalog sans vocals.  This is the backbone of his work; people who loved show tunes, standards and popular music could at last hear CAMELOT, SOUND OF MUSIC, PORGY & BESS, etc. without words... the vocal accompaniments were few and far between after the early-mid 1950's, and when Percy wanted to do an album of vocals, he did it!  One such album was "The Power and The Glory" with Mahalia Jackson; also the Earl Wrightson/Lois Hunt albums where Percy got equal "billing."  Not much outside of that until the mid to late 1960s, in the Clive Davis era where Percy was told to record today's popular music "or go down."  Irving Townsend was producer/idea man for the late 1960's "orchestra and chorus" albums.  Percy did take a different direction in these albums; unlike the early-mid 50's albums where he did orchestral writing/arranging he had Ray Charles (Ray Charles Singers on Columbia and other labels) do the vocal arrangements; I don't think this was credited often if at all.  In the mid-late 60's Percy did both the vocal and choral arrangements and what often sound like a much smaller orchestra.   There were some great tracks in there, I must admit, and I don't like vocals or chorus... and a lot of "lesser" tracks as well.  Around 1970 Faith was pretty much back to instrumentals... with some exceptions, not the rule. 

Most/many of Percy's albums in the post-radio days continued with an innovation he used with the with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation era. where they cut his radio budget, and he could hire singers far cheaper than instrumentalists, so he hired six or so female vocalists that didn't sing solos, rather they were the wordless voices (that Percy called vocalese, or "magic voices,"  and they were used as a "part" of the orchestra, not usually for solo parts, and usually rather simply  "oohs and aahs" - they pop up on MANY Faith albums, if you really want to hear them (over)used, listen to "Magic Voices" Ep where they actually break out into words on "I Talk To The Trees."  On that Ep I tend to think that really, they tried a bit too hard... broke out into harmonizations on occasions.  Percy liked the "human" effect on many of his albums; the six singers usually sang in unison, making their use similar to adding another  instrument but it was the wordless chorus, that didn't sing words,  instead,  felt use of the "vocalese" added a human quality to the orchestral ensemble (lots of arrangers used variations of this, sometimes with just one wordless vocalist, think Patricia Clarke on Norrie Paramor albums).  Hearing her drift in and out of Norrie's arrangements is something I have become accustomed to but prefer albums such as "Strings- Staged For Stereo" which is the Paramor orchestra without Patricia Clark....  question for Paramor listeners:  The French horns sound really sour/flat.  It could be just me, or it could be the way things were done in the UK, or I'm making a hill out of a molemountain, or something like that.    MARTIN ECCLES from the UK has generously answered this question that has puzzled me for decades - it's not a French Horn At All.  Rather, it's a trombone trying to sound like a French Horn and in my opinion didn't work!



WARREN BARKER

Speaking of FULL RANGE SPEAKERS, there is GOOD NEWS to report in the ides of March 2017!    A letter from John Prins, a long-time reader of this site (rarely updated, I'm having a bad time lately) brings the great news that Discovery Records of the U.K. (Wiltshire) has reissued two great albums originally on Warner Brothers, MUSIC OF DESIRE and WILLIAM HOLDEN PRESENTS...A MUSICAL TOUCH OF FAR AWAY PLACES.  Both albums feature bright arrangements that feature large percussion (tuned and non-tuned) sections and brilliant arrangements - recorded in those great Hi-Fi STEREO days (1960 for Music Of Desire, 1959 for Far Away Places, both included on one CD, £15.49, the US cost and postage may vary, but it's well worth it - it's a departure from the all-plastic cases with their "kinda clumsy" inserts, instead it's a cardboard box with shiny printing of the original artwork, which is replicated again with full liner notes on an easy-to-use folder; a clear plastic insert is still used to hold the CD.  The sound is nothing short of amazing!  Mr. Barker used up to 8 percussionists; and in listening you'll hear strings, but the stars of the arrangements might be the trombone arrangements and the percussion.  I like Far Away Places more than any other "exotica" albums!  I was fortunate enough to talk on the phone with Mr. Barker, I have to dig out his letters to see what year that was; he was most kind, and when I told him I could NOT find a copy of his splendid KING AND I FOR ORCHESTRA (stereo copy) at all, or in good condition, he ran me off a cassette copy; he, himself, only had a mono copy of Far Away Places, I believe I sent him a stereo copy.

I used to call this "hard-core mood music" - these two albums got a LOT of radio play on WQMR/WGAY in Washington, DC (long gone), an important component of the station's sound.  Sadly the station used tracks from these albums, they simply didn't have the rest.  I should note that Warner Brothers turned their attention to rock (of course) and fired Warren Barker.  Then in 1966 they reissued MUSIC OF DESIRE as "Strings '66 by the SONORA STRINGS."  Barker is given no credit; after all, he was no longer in their employ.  Actually I found a few copies of this album, knowing it's origins kept me angry with Warner Brothers, at least they kept Barker's album on the air at the radio station for a few more years.  In keeping with the true creativity (!) of this reissue-without-credit-to-the-gentleman-who-arranged-the-damned-thing, the track order was modified.  Wow, new cover art, reordering of tracks and a fake name to boot!  Warren Barker scored several television shows; he sent me an article entitled "He Made Samantha's Nose Twitch" - anyone remember BEWITCHED?

Back in the very early part of the last decade, I had done a couple "telephone consults" (true meaning: no compensation to me but I was bowled over just to be asked!) with GOOD MUSIC RECORD COMPANY of Katonah, NY (long gone) and helped complete track selections on two CD's projects; I did get at least one, perhaps two, Barker tracks included; and Warren Barker took the time to call the company and ask who in the heck recommended his tracks (he was very pleased) and was informed it was me!

After leaving (!) Warner Brothers, Barker told me he had bought a small cattle ranch in California, and wrote a lot of educational arrangements and compositions for high school and college musicians.  Eventually he moved to South Carolina.  Sadly we lost him in 2006; but it's great to hear the great arrangements again - with the great 1959/1960 sound that - to me - was far ahead of it's time!  In addition to educational arrangements, Warren Barker provided the music for many television shows, perhaps the most well-remembered "Bewitched."  Somewhere I may have a copy of an article entitled "He Made Samantha's Nose Twitch."  I don't remember which periodical it appeared in, gotta look for it and will post it if it scans (the original, I believe, was itself a copy that Warren Barker sent me).

By all means visit www.discovery-records.com and you'll find two more essential early 1960's albums - FLY ME TO THE MOON and THE BOSSA NOVA POPS (sequel) on another 2-fer.  I've ordered this Joe Harnell 2-fer CD sounds "merely great."   The CD's are manufactured in Spain, sold by Discovery Records is in the UK; it turns out the same CD's are on Amazon.  Of course they are; "Manufactured and distributed by Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas.  I wonder how these things come about, as in "who has the beautiful music catalog of Warner Brothers and will there be more reissues?" The Joe Harnell reissues show that Blue Moon has at least some of the Kapp recordings available to it as well.  Write and tell then how great they sound all these years, maybe they'll reissue more of our favorite albums!

 

  



JIM COX chapter about Percy Faith -  from the book MUSICMAKERS OF NETWORK RADIO 1926-1962

 From Musicmakers of Network Radio: 24 Entertainers, 1926–1962 © 2012 Jim Cox by permission of McFarland & Company, Inc., Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640. www.mcfarlandpub.com.

I'm honored to present GORDON BIBBY doing a superb job of doing all the work - writing the DJ script for the BROADWAY BOUQUET promotional record originally created for radio stations to use their own announcers to "talk with" Percy Faith - I don't have the original announcer's script, so Gordon has written and recorded his own for a realistic "talk" with Percy about Broadway Bouquet, amazingly this recording of 1965 and 2015 took only a half century to bring together!  Congratulations and kudos to Gordon.  I hope with all sincerity that readers listen to this great effort by Gordon, with great writing, timing, announcing skills he has brought this 1965 promotional record to life!

from Gordon Bibby -

My first exposure to Percy Faith was subliminal.  His renditions of Delicado, Swedish Rhapsody, Theme from Moulin Rouge and Christmas in Killarney played over my parents’ Rogers Majestic radio in their home in Calgary throughout the early 50’s.  I was young and the synapses in my brain hadn’t yet matured sufficiently to draw a connection between genius and the sounds emanating from the speakers. 

It was a definitive moment in 1959, however, when I heard “Theme From a Summer Place” that my love affair with Percy Faith and his music began.  I was 14 and my youth compelled me to acquire a copy of this iconic performance for my own.  Dipping into my meager paper route money I made my first ever record purchase for 99 cents: a maroon & silver-labeled Columbia 45 RPM single with Go-Go-Po-Go on the reverse side. 

This may not have ranked up there with buying one’s first car but certainly became a definitive moment in my appreciation of music.  The Chinook Winds swept city of Calgary, at that time a culturally-deprived backwater, was populated with record stores that offered little more than what the local country music and top 40 stations were spinning.  My only saving grace was the Columbia Record Club which allowed me to cultivate my collection of Faith recordings by mail. 

I would occasionally tuck an album or two under my arm before heading off to a house party.  At some point I'd hijack the host’s record player and gently lower the tone arm onto Harold Arlen's "Out of This World" from Mr. Faith's "Bouquet of Love" album which inevitably brought looks of horror and jeers from my Top 40 addled high school friends.  The concept of time and place was obviously overshadowed by my enthusiasm to broaden their musical tastes. 

For years I felt I was the only person left on earth who still appreciated the music of Percy Faith and his peers.  Fortunately the advent of the internet in the early nineties changed all that.  It became quickly apparent that I was among thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, who were keeping the easy listening genre alive and well.   The feedback I receive from listeners to my local weekly radio program over the past 14 years is a testament to the appreciation music lovers everywhere have for easy listening and light instrumental music. 

It has become evident, however, that my enjoyment of Mr. Faith’s music paled in comparison to those who have taken their admiration of his work to a much higher level such as Alan Bunting and Bill Halvorsen.  Bill’s Percy Faith Pages website has been a revelation and I feel like a kid in a candy store poring over the many articles, sound bytes, video clips and pictures. 

It was here that I discovered the audio file taken from the Broadway Bouquet EP record that was distributed to radio stations to promote the launch of Mr. Faith’s latest album back in 1965.  Since the printed script with questions to Mr. Faith’s recorded answers was lost, I drafted up some which I thought would be appropriate and proceeded to cut and paste the various segments using audio editing software and created a faux interview. 

The interview started off as a lark but soon became almost spiritual in nature as I connected in a virtual manner with a gentleman whose work I hold close and have treasured throughout my life.  It’s unfortunate for me that time or opportunity did not allow me to meet or correspond with Mr. Faith when he was alive.  This experience, however, has allowed me to share some of his artistic insight and a glimpse into his personality which I truly consider an honour. - Gordon Bibby  ...CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO HEAR THIS!

BROADWAY BOUQUET PROMOTIONAL RECORD - 1965 - PERCY FAITH and GORDON BIBBY!!! (1/2015)

also from GORDON BIBBY and a school chum of his, click the link below for a great, professional video that reminds us that all the "magic" that happens in the music we enjoy (the vast vast vast majority of us) happens in only 12 tones!!!  We can do a LOT with 12 tones, perhaps some future listeners in the year 3015 will use 15 - or 18 - or 37 - yeah, that's it, 37 tone music..........

Music's_12_Note_Miracle  (fixed twice TRY IT NOW 10/30/2016)

Gord was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  He had a fascination with radio at a very early age and played DJ with his Seabreeze record player using his parents’ record collection as early as 5 years old.Unfortunately Gord didn’t possess a “radio voice” necessary for on air work in the 60’s so worked behind the scenes writing commercials for a local radio station while still in high school and eventually moved into station management.He realized his dream of being on air and sharing his love of easy listening music when he began hosting “Elevator Club” on the community/campus FM radio station originating from Nanaimo, British Columbia in April, 2000.  His program has since been carried on other radio stations in BC of which dozens of archived broadcasts and current programs can be heard and downloaded from Gord’s blog at www.elevatorclubradio.com.


Here is an interview from a promotional record from Japan, it's dated 5/1975.   It's a very thin plastic record (almost transparent blue) promotional record with the CBS/Sony and Kyodo production labels.  Click here to listen.


The Sound of Recording excellence at Columbia - HAROLD CHAPMAN, recording engineer

Columbia Records - and Percy Faith - and many other artists - were most fortunate to have an excellent recording engineer from the opening of the New York City studio until his retirement in 1970 - HAROLD CHAPMAN who is often referred to with a great deal of respect by his nickname "Chappie."  For many artists he is credited for the full, detailed sound on Columbia records - so well recorded that the analog master tapes digitized and put on CD didn't sound "old" at all in the next century!  He was a good friend of Percy Faith, and through his miking/mixing techniques brought forth every part of a Faith arrangement, including those mixed in the "pre-stereo" era - sure, monophonic recordings are what they are - then again when well done, aside from losing the two-channel benefit, they could STILL bring forth the well-balanced sounds of the Faith orchestra as well as many Columbia artists.  Chappie moved to LA at the same time Percy Faith left NYC for the relentless sunshine and good weather (usually) of California.

It's great to have received an email from Harold Chapman's grandson, Guy Farris, a few weeks ago.  I forwarded his email address to Rick Gleitsman, Percy Faith's grandson, and the two spoke on the phone, and I'm very pleased to reproduce a biography of Chappie that Guy wrote not long ago:

"According to renowned Columbia Records producer Irving Townsend, Harold Chapman was responsible for developing the remarkable sound heard on thousands of the company’s albums from 1940 to 1970. Columbia’s sterling reputation for aural excellence was attributed directly to Chappie. His ear for sound was unparalleled in the music industry. As a result, his supervision was requested by some of the greatest musicians, singers and bandleaders of the 20th century—from jazz geniuses Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington to masters of the American Songbook Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis and Dinah Shore to classical music greats Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland and Igor Stravinsky. His work is also heard on some of the best-loved Broadway albums of all time—My Fair Lady, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Kiss Me Kate and Gypsy. Chappie’s closest friend was Percy Faith and other music industry pals included Ray Conniff, Andy Williams and Mitch Miller. He was also close friends with David Oppenheim (who directed the Columbia Masterworks division) and his wife, actress Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday) and was a frequent visitor to their New York City home. Chapman is also credited with finding and setting up Columbia's fabled 30th Street studio in NYC. His ability to enhance every instrument, note of music and vocal performance is still considered unsurpassed to this day."

Click here to view some pictures of Chappie   Seems as a teen/twenty-something I noticed a majority of radio announcers and very talented media people smoked to their detriment.  Television depicted smoking during working hours as a normal thing.  They don't show many of the shows we grew up on but I have the Dr. Kildare TV pilot and MY GOD, it seems like everyone smoked, especially in the hospital, patient rooms, cafeterias, and so on.  Even the wise Raymond Massey who played the "knowledgeable chief doctor to be feared" smoked.  There was a lot of peer pressure to smoke at school bus stops when I was in junior high in the mid 1960's.  I have to say, though, that the earlier decades up to the 60's "were a different time."  There were a hell of a lot of cigarette commercials on the television and radio airwaves and they sponsored in whole or in part some great TV/radio shows involving the music we love.  Now we've gone to the other extreme, where CVS seems to have taken on the role of Big Parent In The Sky and removed all tobacco from their stores.  On a lighter  note we were fortunate to have tobacco sponsoring some incredibly talented Canadians and their great radio/TV programs "back in the day" - Percy Faith, Lorne Greene, Raymond Massey, Art Linkletter come to mind.  Marilyn did tell me that Lorne Greene (anyone remember Bonanza on NBC In Color?) and Percy were good friends and that Mr. Greene attended Percy's funeral.  Bonanza was a western, of course, and wonderfully scored by David Rose.

(proof that no one reads this web site beyond the telemetry, I had Frank DeVol in the above paragraph as having scored Bonanza; wow.  I heard not a word from website visitors, I guess the site is of VERY limited interest.


Follow the links below to read and listen to historical information about our kind of music and the career of Percy Faith, including great, educational reading by Alfred Holden and Richard O'Connor. 

  This material is presented for historical purposes - not meant to show up elsewhere, not for commercial use.  The family of Percy Faith, especially his late daughter Marilyn and her children, have been most generous in letting us all read and listen to the very rare material that Percy had in his Encino home, and passed it on to his #1 fan, the late Marilyn Leonard, his daughter, who had every one of his albums in her own condo, and Marilyn in turn shared it with all of us, she was very much involved with this website.


PERCY FAITH:  Performances Past

Percy Faith: video containing the Paul Whiteman show (America's Greatest Bands), a promotional spot for Columbia Records with Percy Faith and Goddard Leiberson, and the 1966 broadcast of the Canadian Broadcasting Company program "Off The Record."

NOTES ABOUT THIS VIDEO:

The first several minutes are SILENT - and ironically in color, it was some very early color "movie" footage taken while Percy was conducting the orchestra. UPDATE 6/24/2017 While there is very little resolution to begin with, Dan Mortensen has tweaked the video to try to eke out a slightly better picture, and he also made the best of some bad splices and edits in the film.  Converting it from Dan's Apple .mov format to Microsoft's .wmv did no harm that I can see.  This represents footage that Percy managed to save over time.  If the window opens small on your monitor, don't enlarge it too much as there is not enough resolution to support doing that - hey, this was a tad before the era of 4K Hi Def.  Just a tad, plus low-resolution videotape dubs since the original film.  This film represents the most essential Percy Faith - I got a big kick out of seeing sections of the orchestra stand up and play - wow, this was on Paul Whiteman's show, circa 1955, where Faith and his orchestra took the 15 minute show.  Also shown is Percy at his house the way it looked (!) in 1960, explaining just what it is an arranger does and how arranging often crosses the line between arranging and composing; and a fascinating performance in Toronto, a lavish production, circa 1966 and repeated only once (or so I believe) - several weeks after his death as a tribute, preceded by some kind words from the CBC production personnel who made the original telecast possible (I've not seen the additional footage).


Percy Faith and His Orchestra, LA studio, including Harold Chapman (engineer - "Chappie")

enhanced 6/15/2017 by Dan Mortensen, from the original telecine conversion of long years ago, now it's a frame-by-frame digital conversion

The Ed Prentiss Television show entitled "Music of the 60's" featuring Percy Faith and his orchestra with a special look at Harold Chapman at the recording controls, we ancients really did have very capable mixing consoles with ROTARY KNOB CONTROLS and no doubt rows of vacuum tubes.

Alan Bunting, who graciously provided this film, has remastered it offering us a rare glimpse into the past.  It's the real thing - real mikes, music stands, composer-conductor-arranger (!) and that same parquet floor you see on the back of the BROADWAY BOUQUET album, 3 years or so before that album was recorded.  It was originally found on 16mm film and converted to PAL formatted VHS tapes and I had them converted to NTSC to be able to use the VHS tape on this side of the pond!  My late, great friend from Scotland, Alan Bunting, had "ontoDVD" do a frame-by-frame conversion digitally; it offers enhanced detail and facial recognition in particular; many thanks to UK violinist Martin Eccles for noticing the video being ahead of the audio by about a bar only in the last part of the final selection (The Sound of Music).  Dan Mortensen from the enormous web site with an excellent thread, http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/history-of-cbs-records-30th-street-studio-nyc-many-pictures.388186/page-1 - if you've ever wondered about the legendary 30th Street Studios of Columbia, this huge thread will delight you with information and vintage pictures.  Dan edited this film using Final Edit Pro and was able to correct the final selection's audio and video to once again be in sync.  Now with a corrected and enhanced film, we can see the best of this Percy Faith/Harold Chapman performance from 1961.  You might marvel at the "studio audience" that Prentiss announces.  I kinda doubt their existence - they are heard through what sounds like canned applause but not seen, at all.  I don't even hear squeaks from metal chairs at the behind-the-camera level.  The sound quality is, er, not great, it's a 16mm optical track; but listen to the tracks on records or (much later) CD's - COLUMBIA was way ahead of its time in providing great sounding recordings.

Please enjoy, and this is truly a great group effort by the late Alan Bunting, Dan Mortensen, and Martin Eccles, to bring you the best print possible.  You'll see more detail and much improved facial recognition!


 Click to see Movie Trailers - some movie titles from films Faith scored

 I edited these, poorly didn't (still don't) know how to use a "computer video editor" -, from VHS tapes, so it's exciting to see the film openings with "Music by Percy Faith" it's a VHS "fuzzy" experience all the way; and sadly the original soundtrack of THE LOVE GODDESSES is badly distorted but you can still block that out and enjoy Percy's score (starts with the film credits which are at the end of the movie).  Percy wrote a beautiful score that is heard in the film, and recorded six of the selections for the Columbia Lp CS 9009 THE LOVE GODDESSES, also on a Collectables CD, and happily his "not really a soundtrack" (it was a record recording session, not the monophonic tracks meant for movie timing) was available on Lp (try and find it) and was reissued several years ago on CD by Collectables.  There is no way to hear THE THIRD DAY except to buy the DVD (if it's still available) - I have the opening love theme and titles from the film but that's it; and I don't know why the sound and video are waaaay out of sync on TAMMY TELL ME TRUE.  I did this back in the day of the ATi "Video Wonder" computer video card, I don't know why this happened.


PERCY FAITH CONDUCTS MOULIN ROUGE and MORITAT WITH THE VOICE OF FIRESTONE ORCHESTRA

Next is a new contribution for 2006, captured by Bert Richard; where you might see Toscanini conducting a classical masterpiece at 2:38:15 am on a Wednesday on cable (I'm making this all up) -  here you will see PERCY FAITH conduct THE VOICE OF FIRESTONE orchestra in 1958 - two selections - Georges Auric's MOULIN ROUGE, which of course you can compare to Percy's conducting with his own studio orchestra from Alan's film clip from the Ed Prentiss show; then MORITAT (Mack The Knife?) by Kurt Weill.   Incredible shots of Percy conducting in this one.   The critic in me was a little let down by the accordionist with timing and embellishment disagreements, and I don't understand some of the brass punctuations that had not appeared in the '56 version from PASSPORT TO ROMANCE - same sort of thing happened with a film clip in 1955, from the Paul Whiteman show where Percy oddly had brass punching in on SWEDISH RHAPSODY.  OH well.  This is such a rare opportunity to glimpse into the past; we have the wonderful recordings to celebrate but precious little video of the orchestra, so thanks to Bert Richard, here's a bit more!


PLEASE DON'T FORGET;  These videos and audio clips are for HISTORICAL purposes.  There're here to enjoy, not for reposting to other web sites or entities.


MAGAZINE and WEBSITE ARTICLES

1974 FAITH by Tony Thomas from the Canadian Stereo Guide

PERCY FAITH: THE STREAMLINED MAN Written in 2000 by Alfred Holden for
Taddle Creek Magazine
(Christmas 2000) (.pdf document)

August, 1976 Gene Lees Tribute from HIGH FIDELITY part 1    /   part 2 (.pdf documents)

A Brief History of Beautiful Music Radio ©2009 Richard O'Connor (.pdf document)

  The Orchestral Sound - and Popular Music for Orchestra by Richard O'Connor (txt)

Radio and Recording Techniques by Percy Faith, contributed by Dick O'Connor (circa 1958) (text file)

Dick O'Connor's TRIBUTE TO ROBERT FARNON April, 2005 (text file)

NOTES about Percy's Christmas Albums

THE THIRD DAY is available now - click for more information (photos)

1959 Catalog of Columbia Open Reel Tapes (.pdf photos)

1964 (December 1) Catalog of Columbia Stereo Tapes (.pdf scan)

Bill picks 3 favorite albums by Percy Faith (text file)


RADIO INTERVIEWS

WMAL Radio, Washington, DC Interview - Percy Faith, host Tom Gauger, March 23, 1974 (Saturday, the below concert was the next day!)

The United States Air Force Concert Band, guest conductor Percy Faith, March 24, 1974 (no strings!) .wma file (please read THIS)

This was the 1-hour show that once commercials, Paul Harvey, newscasts, ID's and promos are deleted, amounts to about 19 1/2 minutes; but enjoy.  I know I did, I was seated next to Percy Faith and got to ask him lots of questions during all those "breaks" (Tom had programmed many Faith tracks, it wasn't all commercials).  I had edited them out, crudely, but the fast-paced engineering at WMAL didn't make that easy so it has a few boo-boos.  After the large build-up at the end of the interview for "The Hill Where The Lord Hides" I decided to leave this in, and crudely spliced in the track from the then brand-new Lp "New Thing" in stereo.  The interview sounds very low-fidelity because I had to set up my equipment to run unattended to record this show while I was at the studio myself, and used some horribly low speed (don't remember, but may have used 1 7/8 i.p.s. speed on an open reel Sony, but it was worth it to be able to drive to DC and not have the tape run out!  Meeting Percy Faith was great, the inspired composer/conductor/arranger who had a true gift and yet came to the radio station with MY letter in his coat pocket, he said "I figured I'd see you here and if not I would call you from my hotel." - this for a mere fan -  and I'll always be grateful to Tom Gauger for letting me in the studio against management rules especially Saturdays (visitors not allowed, period!)(!) for that great hour.  That picture somewhere on this site of me standing next to Percy Faith was taken outside the then-new building on Jenifer St. NW Washington, D.C. where WMAL had moved; they used to have a "true radio studio" in a fairly secluded location (millions of cars passing by its secret location near the 495 and 270 juncture; now, in 2000 something they've sold off that pristeen property, lots of McMansions there now.

 KMPC Radio 1972 interview Percy Faith - Wink Martindale (audio file)

The BBC Radio 2 Series: THE ARRANGERS: Percy Faith (audio file)

Part of radio interview with GENE LEES  (audio file)


VIDEO by Marilyn and Bill

Bill's trip to LA in 1991 to meet Dolly Faith and Marilyn Leonard (video, .wmv)

ignore the "star driving" and historical house tour of Percy & Dolly's home in Encino (if you must, "scrub" through) (roughly 2/3 through) to where we're seated at a table, sorting through Percy's "music photo albums" - he worked and associated with amazing musicians!  Yes, LOW resolution but still recognizable shots and well worth the time to view fascinating tidbits of Percy's work with famous musicians!


THE COCA-COLA HOUR from the radio days

The Coca-Cola Hour - The Pause That Refreshes On The Air - circa 1947 - Percy Faith w/vocalist Ginny Simms - Show 1 (.wma file) (added 10/2014)

The Coca-Cola Hour - The Pause That Refreshes On The Air - circa 1947 - Percy Faith w/vocalist Ginny Simms - Show 2 Part A (.wma file) (added 10/2014)

The Coca-Cola Hour - The Pause That Refreshes On The Air - circa 1947 - Percy Faith w/vocalist Ginny Simms - Show 2 Part B (abrupt ending, end of show not heard) (.wma file) (added 10/2014)


TELEVISION AND FILM WORK

THE VIRGINIAN - Season 1, Episode 1, THE EXECUTIONER score excerpt (.wma file (you can find THE VIRGINIAN TV series at AMAZON.COM)

On the above track there is a "pre-introductory" bit of thematic material - keep listening and then you'll hear "the real thing" with the RIDE THEM HORSES music that was used for most seasons of the show!  Percy scored only one 1 1/2 hour show for season 1 and below (NO TEARS FOR SAVANNAH) for Season 2.  Listen closely and in subsequent episodes lots of Percy's thematic and various original theme music ideas were used in shows/seasons to follow.  This was "the real thing," though Percy jazzed up his own Virginian theme (and included a couple other original songs from the TV scores he wrote) in CS 9009, THE LOVE GODDESSES which is all original Faith music.  I've seen many complaints about this that the REAL "The Virginian" version isn't around but it's on this file, after a bit of introductory/scenery music!

THE VIRGINIAN - Season 2, Episode 1 ?or? 3 (NO TEARS FOR SAVANNAH)

(.wma file,  2nd season premiere (or so I think, boxed set pegs it as ep 3...?!?!?!?) (.wma file)

 A LOOK AT MONACO soundtrack from 1963, recorded in Monaco

you'll hear LOUD pops and sync (beep) codes (.wma file)

I'D RATHER BE RICH soundtrack excerpts

(could not be satisfactorily edited, tape broken in many places)

Note that these tracks contain only Percy Faith's original scores, before any dialog or singers were added.  On "I'd Rather Be Rich" you could listen to the song elsewhere on this site to hear the opening credits with Robert Goulet and Andy Williams singing - but here it's more like a "music minus one" exercise - the tracks were not complete -  get out those keyboards and fill in the melody!

OPEN REEL fans note:  just for a dive into the past regarding some of this tape, it appears to be 1 1/2 mil, some full or half track mono; imagine, if you will, playing a tape "upside-down" with the backing side to the heads, the "rusty powder" side away from the heads; i don't know how but some of these were recorded with such strong magnetism that playing them "inside-out" didn't make much difference - a little bit of highs were lost but nothing like you'd think.  Now those magnificent open reel machines aren't relevant to today's Millennial, their ipads/pods/digital whatever devices give no clue as to what came before.  I remember trying to lift an old/broken Magnecord 3-motor half track to throw in the trash as it languished on the floor of an ad agency (a back room full of old electronic stuff I was asked to clear out).  TALK ABOUT HEAVY!  Even the face plate looked to be really thick which contributed to it's tremendous mass.  Alas, though the motors spun, the electronics were gone... some of the tubes had metal instead of glass envelopes... wow.  The reel motors appeared about as big as those on my Sears washing machine (probably bigger).  Looking at the heads, it was a well-used machine in its time!  Another item found to be kinda/sorta working was an early 1950's Meissner FM (only!) tuner.  Beautiful mahogany cabinet; I wanted to see if it had a "drift" problem (pre automatic frequency control (AFC) - but it was putting out mostly a hash noise with a hint that one or two stations were almost captured - but it needed restoration.  That wasn't in the plans!  This is what the well-heeled "hi-fi" listener used as an FM tuner during the time, say, of PASSPORT TO ROMANCE (1956).  There were two HEAVY rim-drive turntables mounted to a heavy table, one Rek-O-Cut, one Presto.  They still worked (rumble rumble rumble) but I fear their tonearms tracked at about 6 pounds (OK, maybe 8 or 10 grams).  I've seen pictures of old turntables from WTOP's Wheaton studio from many years ago (more like wreckage of old unused equipment and some of them were REALLY huge.  There was a site with these photos (also from the equipment "junk pile" of WMAL radio.  If I can ever find them I'll link to them.  The WTOP 'tables looked so large that they could play 16" transcription discs natively - maybe they did!


Percy Faith assembled this tape cassette from his collection of 78's... Early 1950's vocals/choral numbers (read this first)  .wma file


the 2013 Japan Concert SCHEDULE

2013 ORCHESTRA MEMBER LIST

***TERRY WOODSON CONDUCTS THE PERCY FAITH ORCHESTRA ON TOUR IN JAPAN SPRING 2013 (photos)***

The following movies (.avi format) were taken by Rick Gleitsman, on a Canon Elph, no tripod, but Rick's shaky knee, from the back row of the theaters.  The house lights dim, the curtain rises, and - MUSIC!  These are excerpts from the concerts, just a small sampling of the program, and they all show how Maestro Woodson was able to coax the Percy Faith sound from the players as they toured Japan.

The Program for these concerts is missing, it was in .pdf format and I've lost the original email (I've lost all my original emails, it was a bad idea to convert from SMTP to IMAP email and a bad idea to think an image backup would work with Microsoft Windows on email, 90% data loss on emails going back to 1997, so that's why I don't write emails to all those who have written over the years - I don't know the names, addresses, nothing)

  MOVIES from the Spring 2013 Concert conducted by Terry Woodson (from the original manuscripts)

Opening:  Theme from "A Summer Place/Peanut Vendor

Malaguena/Mexican Hat Dance

Moon River

Tara's Theme from Gone With The Wind

Crunchy Granola Suite

Sunrise, Sunset; Fiddler On The Roof medley

More Than You Know/That Old Black Magic

The Song from MOULIN ROUGE

Medley from MY FAIR LADY

Orange Blossom Special

The Godfather Theme

The "Sound of Music"


Marilyn Leonard, Percy Faith's daughter, died after a long battle with cancer on January 1, 2010.  Marilyn was a wonderful, kind friend who spent many hours on the phone talking about her father's work, and then hosted me for a 1-week visit in May of 1991 where I was able to learn more about Percy Faith, seeing the artwork Percy and Dolly collected and enjoyed, and all the awards and miscellaneous items in his office in his home; we made a low-production value video of my visit.  I feel very sad at losing the kind Marilyn who absolutely loved her father Percy's music and knew every track.  My sincere condolences go out to her family, friends, and all who will miss her.  The obituary:

LEONARD, Marilyn Born December 5, 1931 in Toronto Canada to Mary and Percy Faith. It is with great sorrow that we announce the loss of our mother and friend, Marilyn Faith Leonard who passed away January 1 at the age of 78 after a long but courageous battle with cancer. Left to cherish her memory are her children Lisa McCloskey, Rick Gleitsman, Judy Kaplan, son-in-law Jim Kaplan, and grandchildren Steven Stinson, Brittany, Austin and Lily Gleitsman, Zach and Mattie Kaplan. She had a great love for music, cooking, all things creative, and her "band of sisters." There was not a soul that met her that didn't fall in love with her. She was a caring and dedicated friend and her spirit of generosity and open-heartedness will long be remembered by all who knew her.
She is now reunited in heaven with her son Johnny, Jack Leonard the love of her life, her father whom she dearly adored, her mother and her brother Peter.  Thursday, January 7 at 11:00 a.m.

 Published in Los Angeles Times January 5-6 2010

 =====================

How Bill came to know MARILYN LEONARD, Percy Faith's daughter


Percy Faith's song "My Heart Cries For You" gets Inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

by Rick Gleitsman, grandson of Percy Faith

Sorry the quality is so lousy, it was shot on my still camera, and it ends abruptly as I was asked to stand up. It's cute to hear my 88 year old Great Aunt, Percy's sister, sitting next to me say "That's my Brother". :)

Anyway, it is on youtube titled: Movie #1 Recut by RgpropsEnjoy!!! (Gosh I hope this works)!!! Enjoy!!!

http://youtu.be/YeGlzGniI0E

----Rick Gleitsman


 Here is a recording found in Marilyn's tapes, evidently recorded by one of the Percy Faith Society members in Japan, in the audience of NICK PERITO IN JAPAN CONDUCTING PERCY FAITH.  Recording-wise it's not great in that it was a VHS tape that looks like it was dubbed to another VHS tape,  then rendered to .WMV so I fear you can't get much detail from the orchestra (sure, you can see where the (too quiet) strings are, but the piano and percussion are kind of a mystery.  VHS had it's own built-in copy protection even when it didn't - in that quality took a nosedive on anything but the first recording.  You can't  make out faces, sadly.  The footage may stream if the internet cooperates, never a sure thing; you could right click and "save" the .wmv file but it's about 500 megabytes in size...  You get the feeling of a "real concert" - starting right from the brief orchestra tune-up with the concertmaster providing a middle "A" followed by the pianist, and the rest of the instruments get into sync.


MITCH MILLER 1911-2010

8/2/2010: on July 31, we have lost Mitch Miller - performing musician, arranger, conductor, oboist, and the man who hired Percy Faith into Columbia Records in 1950.  Mitch Miller was 99 years old.  Mitch hired the famous vocalists, and assigned various arrangers who worked for him (and he arranged music as well) to help them succeed with their recording careers.  Such "youngsters" as Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett Johnny Mathis, and many others became stars working for Columbia and Mitch Miller's stable of arrangers, often through the orchestral magic of Percy Faith!  This was a good deal for Percy, as he really wanted to record instrumentally and not be involved with vocalists; so for the duration of the 1950's Faith had a deal with Columbia and Mitch, that he'd record for the "youngsters" - and in turn he could record orchestral albums under his own name... and he did just that!  I don't have a link but the New York Times website has an excellent article about Mr. Miller - wow - he used to work with George Gershwin!!!

I was honored to talk to Mitch on the phone a few times in the 1990's and again for the BBC Radio 2 program "The Arrangers" where he gladly agreed to participate in the show (they sent interviewers with recording equipment to his home).  He was rather sad that his music had been forgotten but I think I encouraged him a bit when I started listing some of his Lp's that had been digitally remastered for CD reissue.  I know that he was very pleased when two of his own albums, along with the two albums he recorded with Percy Faith, were reissued intact.  MANON is a Faith composition, and here is a track from the album "Columbia House Party" where Mitch just happens to have an oboe that squeaks to life, and Percy Faith started playing the song as a piano solo - but Mitch came through with the expressive oboe - right click and save the track then hear what could easily have been a thirteenth track to MUSIC UNTIL MIDNIGHT!  I sent him the two "2-fer" CD sets mentioned so he knew his music was very much alive!

MANON by Percy Faith, composer and pianist, with Mitch Miller on the oboe!


While thinking about our loss of Columbia's popular music giant Mitch Miller, one day I came upon a WONDERFUL, long, detailed, rich web site discussion - about the famous Columbia 30th Street studios in NYC; all of Percy Faith's albums were recorded there until Faith and Chappie moved to Lost Angeles in 1960.  From this thread http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/history-of-cbs-records-30th-street-studio-nyc-many-pictures.388186/page-1 (whew) comes the above picture.  I can't decide if it's MUSIC UNTIL MIDNIGHT or IT'S SO PEACEFUL IN THE COUNTRY.  I do think it's one or the other; however I'm expecting a harpsichord would figure into a picture from PEACEFUL since it was seemingly thrown, I mean blended, into every tune, it's a minor quibble but I wish it didn't appear in this album at all...

This discussion on Steve Hoffman's web site is so rich with pictures and memories of a studio from the distant past that was used for some incredible music (some of us think Columbia was far better than the rest, I still think it was, perhaps because it featured "managers" such as Miller, Avakian, Leiberson, etc., who were not just "managers" but were also musicians!  If you care even a bit about Columbia's early Lp days, the CL 500 days, please visit this website and this particular thread.


Percy Faith?  Japan?  Starting in 1966, Percy began concert tours of about a month's duration, around 20 cities, throughout Japan, where people loved to hear his renditions of popular music, including Gershwin and showtunes. Through all these years, Percy's trips to Japan to conduct his original manuscripts brought his arrangements to life in Japanese concert halls, to listeners young, old, and in-between.  Too bad it can't happen in the "corporate" environment of the United States...  In the spring of 1976, just a short time after Percy's death, the already planned for trip was now missing its conductor and became a "tribute to Percy Faith" and was conducted by DAVID ROSE.  Then for many years, Alan Broadbent took the baton, followed in the 90's by the late Nick Perito.  Orchestra manager Terry Woodson, conductor for Frank Sinatra, Jr., has brought the sounds of Percy Faith's arrangements performed live to several cities in Japan in recent years.  This sort of thing SHOULD HAPPEN IN THE UNITED STATES but the interest isn't there, people would rather see aging rockers and rappers I guess.  Damn it.

KOGA MELODIES - HATTORI MELODIES

You can see the liner notes in the photo below are in Japanese, here is a translation from jazz collector Keizo Takada of Tokyo - Keizo got me multiple copies of Koga and Hattori when first released.  This translation is excerpted from a letter to me from Keizo dated February 25, 1976:  This is from the second record in the series, the HATTORI MELODIES album.

"It was just after the War when I heard the name of Percy Faith for the first time.  I had been attracted by the music of Kostelanetz with its flavor of symphonic jazz before I heard Percy Faith, and when I received the record of my melodies made by Percy Faith, I was so excited that I felt as though I was a child.  As I enjoyed the Koga Melodies Lp, I had looked forward to hearing the Percy Faith arrangements of my melodies.  The arrangements are unique.  I am an arranger myself and I heard his arrangements with critical ears, however, his arrangements, with preludes and interludes which I could never think of, utterly knocked me down.  I felt unavoidable difference in attitude toward music which probably came from cultural difference.  The same can be said if I arranged some American music.  It is very welcome that many Japanese music melodies are played by various musicians abroad and that Japanese melodies are introduced to world music lovers.  I look forward to seeing Percy Faith on his next trip to Japan.  - Ryoichi Hattori"

I was told way back then by a few members of the Percy Faith Society of Japan that Ryoichi Hattori really didn't approve of what Percy had "done to his compositions" with Faith arrangements bordering on being practically recompositions which happens to be a hallmark of Faith embellishments...  Could be, who knows, but that doesn't "jibe" with the paragraph above translated from the Hattori Melodies album liner notes.  Both albums are VERY "Percy Faith" although the melodies will not be familiar to you.  The late great Alan Bunting from Scotland encouraged Eliot Goshman at TARAGON to release these albums, recorded by PF in Los Angles, but meant originally for the Japanese listeners only (until the CDs from Taragon, they were never for sale outside of Japan, my first copy of KOGA was on the CBS/SONY label pressed in Holland.


2005 Japan Concerts Program Cover Art front and back, Terry Woodson conducting

2005 Program

2005 Concert Photo 1

2005 Concert Photo 2

2005 Concert Photo 3

(concert photos above courtesy Toshiho Namba)

Spring, 2003 Concert Pictures from Japan courtesy Kats-Aoyama and Takeo Kimura


The Living Strings

a very incomplete tribute to a great bunch of albums recorded on the RCA Camden (cheap) label with wonderful music by such conductors as William Hill-Bowen and Johnny Douglas; if you run across these in dusty used record shops, they are fine albums in spite of their, er, economical packaging and sometimes bad pressings; to me the work of Douglas, Bowen, and several others really makes up a lot of the backbone of what we used to enjoy on "beautiful music" formatted stations.


view some original cover art that predates what you see in the current reissues - plus a couple albums from Japan - Music Of Christmas, Continental Music, Romantic Music, Music Until Midnight, Kismet, Music from Hollywood, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Hattori Melodies, and The Crystal Sound Orchestra (explanation on that page).  Here's an alternate cover to Hattori Melodies


Collectables forgot the liner notes on the below mentioned album titles (and a few others as well); click on the title to read them!

BOUQUET / BOUQUET OF LOVE / MUCHO GUSTO! / PASSPORT TO ROMANCE


 The WMAL studio pictures were taken the day before a concert with Percy Faith as guest conductor of the USAF Concert Band with the Singing Sergeants at DAR Constitution Hall the following day (Sunday, March 24, 1974).  I don't have the entire concert, but have posted the few songs Percy conducted - with NO STRINGS. 

Here are some "nostalgic" photos/reviews taken from a 1955 concert tour Percy did with Tony Bennett.  The very page with the most Percy Faith information, and his picture, was torn out, but it's still very interesting!

Rather too shy to write to Percy Faith I initially composed a letter (didn't keep a copy for myself, damn it) to Irving Townsend, here is Faith's response!


Percy Faith's own listings of his arrangements (large .pdf files)

Album Listing     • Orchestral Numbers     •Vocals


 Entire Web Site Copyright © 1995-2020 Bill Halvorsen, billh1331@live.com

Historical music/films are provided for historical purposes only, provided by Percy's family, primarily Dolly (his wife) and daughter Marilyn, and material from the Japan 2013 concert (Terry Woodson conducting) through the much appreciated kindness of Percy's grandchildren, along with material from the late Yukio Tanase of Tokyo;  Grandfather "poppy" Percy Faith has provided a lifetime of musical enjoyment for myself and at least a few others around the world, Percy took lots of orchestra pictures, however they reside in photo albums, that Marilyn and I went through in the (corny-but-we-had-fun) 1991 "trip tape" (see VIDEO by Marilyn and Bill, where we took photos-of-photos on Marilyn's vintage 8mm analog (but with helical scan) Handicam; trouble is, Marilyn had to dub that tape to... VHS so that I could use it.  Result, video resolution not good; the original Handicam tape has never been found but then again Handicam analog was obsolete long ago, and finding reproduction equipment for this vintage material is kind of like wanting to own a fully restored vintage automobile from the 1950's - it can be done but only at great talent and expense.  I fear my 1977 or 1978 TEAC A3300SX NAB open reel might give out on me.  I had a great JVC cassette player that smoked but didn't catch fire when I tried to use it to add some material to this site several years ago.  Replacements?  For several hundred dollars, yes, lots of "used and abandoned" cassette players can be found but often need a belt or pulley or have an electronic problem (especially bad capacitors) that put it beyond practicality.  I can't even play 78 RPM records, but only own a few.  I guess computer programs can be used to play a 78 rpm at 45 rpm and the computer will magically shift it to the way it should sound played at 78rpm.