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.
CHRISTMAS IN THE AIR
This has been a long time coming - Columbia botched the CD reissue released in the early 80's - finger and toes crossed that all these years later, Real gone music will do a spectacular job with it. AT last!
"Yes it is coming out this year with bonus tracks" *MUSIC OF CHRISTMAS 1959, in STEREO of course!* (Lp CS 8176) which I guess? means look for it around Thanksgiving 2017. More information if I get it.
List of bonus tracks, timings, and the albums they originated from:
"My Favorite Things" (from The Sound of Music LP, 1960) 2:42
"Be a Santa" (from Subways Are for Sleeping LP, 1961) 2:05
"Brazilian Sleigh Bells" (stereo version from Carefree LP, 1961) 2:55
"Judy (aka Christmas Is)" (instrumental version from More Themes for Young Lovers, 1964) 2:28
"Soleado (aka When a Child Is Born)" (from Summer Place '76, 1976) 3:05
"Toyland" (from The Columbia Album of Victor Herbert LP, 1958) 2:10
"March of the Toys" (from The Columbia Album of Victor HerbertLP, 1958) 2:59
Many thanks for confirming the great news, Gordon Anderson, and many thanks for getting these great reissues going again on CD reissues.
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 showtunes, 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 records) do the vocal arrangements; I don't think this was credited often if at all. In the mid-late 60's Percy "did it all" with the vocal 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 simpler 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 ONLY.
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 (now 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!
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 and hope it lives up to the high digital remastering standards heard in the Barker albums. The CD's are manufactured in Spain and 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 Moonhas 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!
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!!! ( greatly enhanced 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 - or37 - 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:
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 Frank DeVol... the acting was good too!
FOR BUSINESS QUESTIONS REGARDING THE MUSIC/RIGHTS/USAGE of Percy Faith and his orchestra, please contact:
RICK GLEITSMAN, PercyFaithMusic@gmail.com
Rick is Percy Faith's grandson, and if you wish to see a picture of him as a young man pull out your copy of "The Academy Award Winner WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND (CS 9835), look on the back cover, first pix is Percy walking into the studio, next Percy is autographing his album for a young lady and next to her is Rick. In the next panel it's Percy giving drummer Earl Palmer a bit of advice on the drums (and Earl Palmer was a very famous R&B drummer, Percy had the best musicians!) The pix at the bottom look different than the LA studio pix because for this ONE album, Percy re-established contact with his friends/musicians and recorded this album in NYC. I had asked Marilyn about this because it sounded different but I couldn't describe exactly how and she immediately knew it was because of the location and New York musicians and engineers. Prior to this, all albums from JEALOUSY until this album were recorded in LA (albums BEFORE Jealousy, the CL 500 series were recorded in New York, and Percy returned to LA after this "recording session visit" to work with Columbia's NYC contingent once again.
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. The family of Percy Faith, especially his late daughter Marilyn and her children, have been most generous in letting us all read and listen through the "internets" Percy Faith's own material, that had been kept in his office in his Encino home. The music is wonderful (99% of it) but sadly Percy's few soundtracks were a part of "lesser" films, even the finest soundtrack he scored for THE OSCAR was, as lyricist Gene Lees once said, the most beautiful score to a "turgid turkey of a melodrama" that the film turned out to be. It proved, however, that Percy Faith could have scored films, if you read the Gene Lees tribute (toward the top of this page) you'll read Lees very spot-on reason that Percy didn't do the "film thing" for the big Hollywood producers. What he did the best, he did the most - arranged and wrote some wonderful albums of "popular music for orchestra" that were so rich in perfect embellishments in all ways, really "recompositions" that they made it "digitally" into the 21st Century thanks to reissue pioneers Good Music, Taragon, and Collectables. A few have gone out of print; please don't buy anything that isn't COLUMBIA or SONY... yes, they still did the digital conversions of the analog tapes for the aforementioned companies, and their name still appears on the back of the CD jewel cases. This includes CBS/Sony in Japan, who released a wonderful series of about 15 Faith albums on CD in the late 80's. Other "manufacturing" labels are often terrible Lp's "digitized" badly and sold for $$$. Unfortunate as the film THE OSCAR was, in terms of acting, writing, producing, little things like that, it would be great to have it available. The lines from THE OSCAR are so bad that they are memorable and could please a whole new generation of bad-movie fans; ideal fodder for MST3K. I don't know who holds the rights but it's a shame to hold it off the market. I was fortunate enough to get a couple VHS copies at great expense, I can't remember when, it must have been the 1970's... one is still shrink wrapped. The movie was a bomb, great names, bad acting, hilarious delivery of poorly written lines. Tony Bennett appeared as actor Hymie Kelly and Percy Faith said in an interview a decade later "Tony Bennett is certainly no actor." My criticisms are "just my opinion" but I still cringe watching the film and keep thinking "what if" the whole production would have been as good as the music Faith scored. Collectables reissued it as a stand-alone (music only) CD and I believe it remains available from them, it's a joyous 1965 film score for a "movie about movies" (jealousy and all that). It's a perfect Percy Faith album.
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, I cannot identify what performance this was, only that it was some very early "movie" footage taken while Percy was conducting the orchestra. The entire video is too dark - I suggest using your media player controls to brighten it. I tried to brighten it during this re-rendering but it was unsatisfactory. At some point I'll try to re-render it with a program offering better correction. The original tape is too dark, and I had brightened it long ago; sadly, the file vanished so until I get my equipment working again please use your own media player brightness control.
from the Ed Prentiss Television show entitled "Music of the 60's"
Alan Bunting, who graciously provided this film, has remastered it and added titling, 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. That was a very wonderful find... guess where he found them? Ebay! Later he was able to send digital copies (DVD's) and perhaps a year before his death, Alan had his originally telecine converted film run through and digitized frame-by-frame (or as Alan said, EXPENSIVE). I'll try to post the improved version in the near future; the change is mainly a bit of improvement in resolution, hence facial recognition is easier.
I edited these, poorly, 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 vid card, hard to say why this happened.
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 above; 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 sits or entities.
MAGAZINE and WEBSITE ARTICLES
FAITH: THE STREAMLINED MAN -
Written in 2000 by
Alfred Holden for
Taddle Creek Magazine (Christmas 2000) (.pdf document)
A Brief History of Beautiful Music Radio ©2009 Richard O'Connor (.pdf document)
The United States Air Force Concert Band, guest conductor Percy Faith, March 24, 1974 (no strings!) .wma file (please read THIS) (added 3/2015)
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 - 495 and 270 juncture; now, in 2000 something they've sold off that pristeen property, lots of McMansions there now.
Part of radio interview with GENE LEES (audio file)
VIDEO by Marilyn and Bill
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 go through Percy's "music photo albums" - he worked and associated with amazing musicians!
THE COCA-COLA HOUR from the radio days
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.
(.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)
(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!
the 2013 Japan ConcertSCHEDULE
***TERRY WOODSON CONDUCTS THE PERCY FAITH ORCHESTRA ON TOUR IN JAPAN SPRING 2013 (photos)***
The followingmovies (.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)
Now Windows 10 is telling me I can't go back to 7 as it's been over 10 days (I lost track) and 10 is acting strange again, s**t)
MOVIES from the Spring 2013 Concert conducted by Terry Woodson (from the original manuscripts)
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
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!!!
NICK PERITO in the Capitol LA Studios conducting Percy Faith's Music for the JVC Series (1994)
Kind of a "behind the scenes" look at the Capitol Studio recordings (LA) that were conducted by Nick Perito. The early parts show Dolly and Marilyn (and Rick? his sisters? more family and friends? I need to ask Rick about this!)
I know that 25 parts for the above sessions is just too long, but the originals were on T-120 VHS tapes that JVC sent to Dolly Faith; the years have not been kind to the recordings and attempts to make this a 2 or 3 part download have been a historic FAIL. It's wonderful viewing, and perhaps someone can write a batch file to join them with a PD executable such as HJ-JOIN to make it happen.I just get crashes in Windows.
Th are already pretty fuzzy. This material is used on this site with permission of the Faith family and Terry Woodson who was the producer for this series... for historical, non-commercial purposes. Now you will know what electricity is generated at a real recording session - takes, listening, deciding on re-takes, etc. Great educational material, a learning experience for all of us seeing Percy's original manuscripts being recreated. You'll see Dolly and Marilyn in there, ENJOY!
More of the "behind the scenes" JVC recordings of Nick Perito at Capitol in LA, conducting Percy Faith's arrangements , captured by a cameraman for JVC. While my ancient Panasonic divided each segment above into small pieces, you'll find only two files - HUGE files, one 999mb, the other 750mb. You'll need a good wideband connection bring these home quickly; or you can TRY to stream them and the results will be your internet connection and the "internet weather." Happily these tapes, sent from JVC to Dolly, are in only two parts unlike the unfortunate results above. I had used a really old Panasonic VHS-DVD unit and it happily split all the tracks above, but left the two below alone. Once split, they're perfectly viewable, I realize it's less than ideal to have so many parts. I can't re-create the earlier sessions as the tapes themselves won't play without MANY problems.
Here is a recording found in Marilyn's tapes, evidently recorded by one of the Percy Faith Society members in Japan, in the audience ofNICK 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!
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 almost 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.
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
A station with an incredible beautiful music (!) sound in located in Wheaton, Maryland but licensed to DC... there was a low-powered "experimental" FM station on another frequency, evidently playing country music, but eventually a 20KW FM transmitter was added for a full-fidelity simulcast with (now) WQMR-AM
OK the truth is Silver Spring/Wheaton in the 60's had a lot of government workers living there, a so-called "bedroom community" for people who worked in Washington, DC and commuted back to the 'boibs (Wheaton-Glenmont/Silver Spring) listening to Quality Music Radio on their usually wretched car radios with low fidelity and interference galore from ignition systems on nearby cars, and of course electrical storms ruined AM reception until the CBG broadcasting company gave us the 20kw FM station (WGAY), finally, so that the hi-fidelity sounds of the station could be heard late into the evening, static-free! The station settled on 12 midnight signoff, eventually, then in 1966 after a move to a new 10-story building with the antenna tower on the roof we had the great, 24/7 STEREO sounds. Popular music, broadway and hollywood, all represented here, and 90-95% of it instrumentally. I get the idea that in the 1950's FM was kind of an experiment, and as the 1960's wore on people got rid of their Meissner mahogany cabinet tuners with a zillion tubes (and frequency drift) and ushered in the age of the Fisher, H.H. Scott, Macintosh, etc. - the era of HIGH FIDELITY in every home and if possible the car!
This is a tribute to a great radio station that was licensed to Washington, DC and Silver Spring, Maryland, who changed to the "Quality Music" format, ending the generalist talk-over announcers, that no doubt didn't like the new format. The thing is, the "new' format required great precision in the studio - pulling records from the library (one cut used from each, from 3 x 5" cards written as far as I can tell by Ed Winton who must have trained Bob Chandler (1966, Ed Wintol fled for Sunny Florida... Yes, a station that played music in the new format of "quarter hour" segments (different time intervals were tried but the 15-minute "cluster" was the one used for decades). So click on the link above to learn more about a station from the past that was a cornerstone in the building of a great radio format. Until, of course, it found itself "no longer in the acceptable/targeted demo" - stellar ratings no longer a given (good, steady ratings as always but that as not good enough for Greater Media (post CBG owners) and Bill Doty... so it took awhile but we got to light rock and many nigh-rock vocals knocking out standards, Broadway/Hollywood - even the occasional classical warhorse late at night, though I don't remember the warhorses after Bob Chandler took over as PD, and when Chandler retired the station became WEBR "Jammin' Oldies." It went through a few call letter changes, even became WGAY again for awhile, now I believe it's WIHT (but who cares).
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.
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 Japanthat Ryoichi Hattori really didn't approve of what Percy had "done to his compositions" with Faith arrangements bordering on being practically recompositions. Could be, who knows, but that doesn't "jibe" with the paragraph below translated from the Hattori Melodies album liner notes shown in the paragraph above. 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.
(concert photos above courtesy Toshiho Namba)
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.
May 14, 2017, I just checked the OLDIES.COM website and please note several titles are temporarily out of stock. At the same time there are great discounts on most of the "core" Taragon/Collectables reissues. Please grab 'em while you can, a lot of fine work went into this early 2000s reissue venture! Percy Faith was incredibly well represented in the reissues; rare for the "almost complete" 25 years of Columbia recording to be reissued, no more fighting with overhang guages, tracking pressures, anti-skating, and other joys of playing the great, but kind of unwieldy, long-playing albums.
TARAGON CD's (Eliot Goshman)
To the best of my knowledge the CD's below, most of them "2-fers" (2 albums per CD) were digitally remastered for Collectables by Sony's Dan Rivard (he left the company just as Singles Vol III was completed).
If you encounter problems with the numbered list being mangled use IE's "compatibility mode" or try another browser. FIREFOX skips a number. Hey, I know FRONTPAGE from millions of years ago writes terrible HTML; FIREFOX lets you see how awful it really is! Web writers now gravitate toward "canned" sites for text and template-type site designs. I can't do that as "modern web hosts" for these canned pages generally like text and small pictures but do not allow music/video unless hosted externally (e.g., YOUTUBE).
The CD "Easy Listening Classics" has been deleted, there never was a corresponding Lp album with this title, the CD was mostly tracks taken from the Ep "Magic Voices"
Remember: these are seen,heavily discounted right now, at http://www.OLDIES.COM, always well worth a visit! Titles may go out of stock from time to time but the last time I asked, none were in true cut-out status.
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
The Collectables series - www.oldies.com
Collectables forgot the liner notes on the below mentioned album titles (and a few others as well); click on the title to read them!
Dolly (Mary) Faith, Percy's widow, passed away on Thanksgiving Day, 1997. Here are some PHOTOS I took at the Faith home in 1991, including one or two of Mrs. Faith. Then here are a few more PHOTOS (including Toshiaki Sato) and finally - photos of two sheet music covers
a formal black&white picture of Percy Faith
a picture of Percy Faith and Bill taken March 23, 1974 at the WMAL radio studios on Jenifer Street in NW Washington, DC, me with long hair/sideburns but I was about 21 and hated haircuts!
a picture of Percy Faith, Sergeant Harry Gleeson (USAF Band) and Tom Gauger (studios of WMAL Radio, Saturday March 23, 1974)
Bill (high school, photo taken at an elementary school, taping THE COMMODORES (US Navy Stage Band) circa 1971; HS teacher loaned the tape to someone and it was never seen again. You can only see the back of my head seated in front of the tape recorder. It was a great recording of a great band, and some unknown Washingtonian has the tape, who shouldn't...
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
Entire Web Site Copyright © 1995-2017 Bill Halvorsen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Historical music/films are provided for historical purposes only, provided by Percy's family, including Dolly (his wife) and daughter Marilyn, and some archival material and material from the Japan 2013 concert (Terry Woodson conducting) through the much appreciated kindness of Percy's grandson Rick Gleitsman, along with his sisters Judy and Lisa, along with material from the late Yukio Tanase of Tokyo; Grandfather "poppy" Percy Faith has provided a lifetime of musical enjoyment for myself and ?perhaps? a few others around the world.... I really miss correspondence with those who might still be around and willing to write but through some serious Microsoft Windows tragedies I've lost everyone's emails and email addresses time and again. The worst mistake wasn't EXACTLY that of the vaunted Microsoft, I converted from SMTP to an IMAP server a few years ago and found it to be just what I didn't want and managed to lose about 3GB worth of important, historic messages. I don't know if the LINUX world offers an email client but may check it out, Windows Live Mail is now gone and "Mail" in Windows 10 along with IMAP is causing me to wonder if I shouldn't go back to pop/smtp email but constantly read that these email protocols are old and broken, but reasons are not given why they are "old and broken..." I had backups (two in fact) but when Windows Live Mail's "import messages" fails on backup mail stores, yielding tons of gibberish and repeated messages, well, somehow I have to accept one day that the messages are gone. Dammit.