POPULAR MUSIC FOR ORCHESTRA
Most of this website contains video and audio files in .wmv and .wma. Playing these files (streaming) might require a "WMV Player" for IOS and a slight "Procedure" for the Firefox browser, evidently they recently decided to not let Windows Media audio and video files play easily by defaul, unless you have great patience, for they seem to do a complete download the the file THEN play it. The help files for Firefox show you how to fix that.
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 does its own remastering), so the quality is superb. It is a great tribute to PERCY FAITH that his music still delights listeners in the year 2000 and beyond. Millions of thanks go to Good Music, Collectables, and Taragon for bringing Faith's music to us in the window-on-sound CD format.
With great sadness an email from Martin Eccles brings news I must announce, that ALAN BUNTING, a correspondent for decades, though we never met, has passed away on March 16, 2016. Alan and I began correspondence before the "internets" and "email" - we actually typed or handwrote letters and sent them back and forth from Scotland to where I lived north of Washington, DC. The wonderful "Ed Prentiss" show you can find on this site shows Percy in the LA Columbia studio along with Harold Chapman at a 1961 vintage recording console, Alan found the 16mm film years ago, and gave me exclusive permission to host it on my web site. It's not to my liking but some people on the internet "borrowed" Alan's find essentially stealing the films, even the graphic titles Alan had added for posting in various places on the internet. (Alan went to the trouble of cleaning up the film the best he could and telecine converted the film to VHS/PAL format tape then I had it converted to NTSC so that I could incorporate it into this site). A few years ago Alan had a "frame-by-frame" (read: expensive) conversion of the film done into a computer for a DVD; it was worth it, as now facial recognition and detail of everything is improved. The version on this site remains the original, however, as Alan intended for the improved copy to be enjoyed by "probably the two biggest Percy Faith fans." Another item (there were others) that I worked with Alan on in ?2001? (something like that) was a radio show in the UK, THE ARRANGERS. Producer Lynsey Moyes contacted me and tried to get studio time for me to participate (tape from script) but I didn't want to drive into the city (Washington, DC) and preferred a local studio (Clear Channel cluster just a half mile from where I lived). Instead, and to her credit, she chose Alan himself to talk a little about Percy's amazing arrangements. I did something important as well (there was a lot of cross-the-pond correspondence going on between Alan, the BBC, and (gulp) me - I provided all the audio tracks on the show where Percy talked (and audio from some video clips as well, actually they were provided to me from Marilyn probably in 1990). I also got busy on the telephone and got Marilyn who knew ALL about his music and career) and Percy Faith's boss in the 1950's, Mitch Miller himself, to participate in the show. To my knowledge it was aired only once, on BBC-2 radio. While the link appears lower down this page with other multimedia files, I've copied it here for your convenience. Note that the broadcast beings with a "local" newscast that Alan included for some local flavor!
Alan's website has long been a perfect compliment to this one. Though I started listing Percy's arrangements/re-arrangements in the 1970's, it was Alan who REALLY sorted out Percy's work with great patience, and published a book which a few of us still have, I'm sure, and then he put together a magnificent discography on his website originating from Scotland. Then he has worked on hundreds of tracks that needed to be restored from disc and were released on CD commercially. I never met Alan but feel like I knew him (corresponded with him since the 1970's). This is very sad news, I'll pass along any further details as I receive them. Alan had a great deal of record playback equipment and software to enhance noisy/scratchy records (such as CEDAR) and I believe he was retired from the BBC. Alan's ability to get the very best sound from Lp's will carry on in his many contributions to the GUILD CD label in the UK.
I'm also deeply saddened to learn of the death of Frank Sinatra, Jr., on the 16th of March, 2016 at age 72. Terry Woodson, producer of the Nick Perito recordings by JVC (distributed by Ranwood in this country) of newly recorded "all digital" recordings of Percy Faith arrangements (sessions on this website where you'll see Terry in the control room and of course Nick Perito at the baton) conducted famous arrangements, such as those by Nelson Riddle, for Frank Sinatra, Jr. for live performances up until very recently. Frank Jr. alluded to his lack of "top chart" status because our kind of music - the great composers and arrangers of his father's era, were not what younger audiences necessarily wanted to hear. Terry and Frank Jr. have worked together for decades.
Cut and paste the following link into your browser, which will lead you to Soundcloud.com where you'll hear a great interview of our own Terry Woodson by Paul Leslie - and the interview also serves as a wonderful tribute to the late, great Frank Sinatra, Jr., and you'll hear about Terry and his work with Percy Faith from 1971 until his last session in late 1975, and his tours of Japan, conducting the arrangements of Percy Faith (last tour was spring 2013) and other famous American musicians. I have to note here that when I visited Percy Faith's daughter Marilyn in 1991, she knew I was all about instrumentals, strings in particular, but she asked me, with just a hint of a stern expression on her face ...."but you DO like Frank Sinatra DON'T YOU?" I guess my answer was satisfactory, she didn't throw me over the rail at the end of the patio at the Faith home. Who couldn't like Frank Sinatra Sr. and Gordon Jenkins and "It Was A Very Good Year" - copy and paste the external link below into a new instance or new window of your browser where you'll be able to hear this great interview. Many thanks to Paul Leslie and Terry Woodson for letting me post the link below:
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! Contratulations and kudos to Gordon.
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
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 ???
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.
Many years later, 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. 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.
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. The first link is the most important as it opens up to another page of very historical programs from Percy Faith's collection.
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 hear 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 the New 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.
BELOW are ESSENTIAL HYPERLINKS; please peruse the "performances past" first, it takes you to a page of essential hyperlinks showing early Faith video; these are .wmv files, these will work with Windows and on ipad you need to add a "wmv player" from their app store, costs a few dollars I believe. Then return to this page to explore the links beginning with the great article "The Streamlined Man" from Alfred Holden in Canada, it's a .pdf document; some links are text, some are videos, most are sound (wma). They're not just listed to be listed, behind each entry there are things to view/listen and enjoy the history of Percy Faith's career, even some previously unheard raw Faith original soundtrack material/television work.
then... below are more historical articles as well as video/audio file links!
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 VIRGINIAN - Season 1, Episode 1, THE EXECUTIONER score excerpt (.wma file (you can find THE VIRGINIAN TV series at AMAZON.COM)
after a brief "intro intro" at the beginning of this tape, you'll hear the "real original" Percy Faith VIRGINIAN opening; even Columbia/Sony seemed to think the "jazzy" version (the version I learned to play on the mighty Thomas Trianon organ way back in the early 70's... WAS the original but it wasn't; this is the "ride them horses" version that was used on all seasons of the show, though Percy scored only two complete episodes, while some of his thematic material from those two were used by subsequent composer/arrangers).
THE VIRGINIAN - Season 2, Episode 1 ?or? 3 (NO TEARS FOR SAVANNAH) (.wma file, shows ep 3 on the boxed DVD set should be ep 1. 2nd season premiere (or so I think) (.wma file)
I'D RATHER BE RICH soundtrack excerpts (.wma file, added 11/27/2014) (note, many splices on the tape from long ago, one gave way, could not edit file satisfactorily
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 - 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 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.
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
click to see >Video of Bill's trip to meet Dolly and Marilyn in May 1991 (wmv format)
The film begins with Marilyn giving me a tour of the Encino neighborhood; stay with the film as you will see, after a tour of Percy and Dolly's home, lots of photos that Percy had taken over the years, you'll be amazed at the musicians he knew and worked with! Or scrub through to the part where I enter the home of Percy and Dolly and Marilyn and I go through Percy's awards and pictures.
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!!!
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 for all of his albums after this "LA exception.)"
A Recording Session for historical purposes - permission granted only for personal use!
NICK PERITO in the Capitol LA Studios conducting Percy Faith's Music for the JVC Series (1994)
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.
These are large files and probably won't stream except on >7Mbps fast cable or FIOS connections, so please right-click and "save as" so that you can view them offline. 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 to stream these; I recommend the "right click and save as" routine so that you'll have the complete file (after perhaps hours or at worst overnight, depending on your broadband download speed. If you can get 7 or so megabits per second download steadily, you COULD stream these files and watch them but I'd recommend saving them instead).
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. Right-click and "save as" since this is about 500mb and I doubt if you'll be able to stream it. 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 launch their careers. Such "youngsters" as Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, and many others saw huge careers that were launched by contracts with Columbia and Mitch; and 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!
December 2014, Joe Brechner's son Berl writes, Joe was one of the co-founders of WGAY (follow the above link) - more info about the early days to follow, Berl's memories of the station waaay before the Quality Music format!
A station with an incredible beautiful music (!) sound in our little cow-town of Wheaton, a.k.a. Silver Spring, Maryland, FM licensed to Washington DC but never located there (close, though)
OK the truth is Silver Spring/Wheaton wasn't a cow-town at least going back to the late 1940's, it's a densely populated area, in the 60's largely government workers, 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 hollwood, all represented here, and 90-95% of it instrumentally.
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. 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.
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 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 concert that sadly became a "tribute to Percy Faith" 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. 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.
There were "rumors" and "stories" and perhaps truths? that Ryoichi Hattori really didn't approve of what Percy Faith had done to his melodies with Faith's own renditions which were quite nearly recompositions. Could be, who knows, but that doesn't "jibe" with the paragraph below:
"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"
(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.
If you encounter problems with the list being mangled use IE's "compatibility mode" or try another browser. FIREFOX skips a number.
The CD "Easy Listening Classics" has been deleted, there never was a Lp album with this title, the CD was mostly tracks from the Ep "Magic Voices"
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, @#$% it) to Irving Townsend, here is Faith's response!
Percy Faith's own listings of his arrangements - these files are NOT searchable:
•Album Listing • Orchestral Numbers •Vocals
Same Listings but SEARCHABLE (larger downloads) thanks to the late, great Alan Bunting for creating searchable .pdf's from my originals.
Entire Web Site Copyright © 1995-2016 Bill Halvorsen
Historical music/films are provided for historical purposes only, provided by Percy's family, including Dolly (his wife) and daughter Marilyn, and though we have lost them and now his surviving grandchildren added some great material and memories to my collection, which I've tried to share. Many thanks for all the support and kind wishes over the years.