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Mr. New Year’s Eve

31 Dec

To remember Guy Lombardo, you have to be of a certain age. To appreciate Guy Lombardo, I’m sure you qualify. Allow me to introduce him to you.

Photo of band leader Guy Lombardo

Photo of band leader Guy Lombardo, 28 June 1944.

Gaetano Alberto Lombardo was born on June 19, 1902 in London, Ontario. He died in November 5, 1977, at the age of 75, in Houston, Texas. He was a Canadian/American bandleader and violinist.

“The Royal Canadians” was formed by Guy Lombardo in 1924 with his brothers Carmen, Lebert, and Victor and other musicians from his hometown, Lombardo led the group to international success.  They billed themselves as creating “The Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven.”  The Lombardos are believed to have sold between 100 and 300 million phonograph records during their lifetimes.

Lombardo and his brothers formed their first orchestra while still in grammar school and rehearsed in the back of their father’s tailor shop. They first performed in public with his brother Carmen at a church lawn party in London in 1914.

In 1938, Lombardo became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Although Lombardo’s “sweet” big-band music was viewed by some in the jazz and big-band community of the day as “corny”, trumpeter Louis Armstrong famously enjoyed Lombardo’s music.

Lombardo is best known for almost a half-century of New Year’s Eve big band remotes, first on radio, and then on television. Lombardo’s orchestra played at the Roosevelt Grill in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City from 1929 to 1959, and from then until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Live broadcasts (and later telecasts) of their performances were a major part of New Year’s celebrations across North America; millions of people watched the show with friends at house parties. Because of this popularity, Lombardo was called “Mr. New Year’s Eve”.

The Royal Canadians were noted for playing the traditional song Auld Lang Syne as part of the celebrations. Their recording of the song still plays as the first song of the new year in Times Square.

Guy Lombardo has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles (I didn’t know some have more than one!).  There is a bridge named after him in London, Ontario near Wonderland Gardens, as well as Lombardo Avenue in north London near the University of Western Ontario.

I would highly recommend you listen to this New Year audio clip from CBC. You could also listen to an interview in 1959 at Radiotapes.com. And if you would still like to hear more, I suggest listening to Paper Tape Archive: Guy Lombardo at Hotel Roosevelt (1949).

If you would like to learn more about Lombardo, I will suggest the The Guy Lombardo Society, the “Duh! Dick Clark is proof that older people are here to stay. Hey, sick people too!” at the Noir Dame.  And for a very special treat, I recommend reading USA Today‘s article, “For auld lang syne: Guy Lombardo’s history needs a home.”

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17 responses to “Mr. New Year’s Eve

  1. Gypsy Bev

    January 5, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Guy Lombardo’s records played on my phonograph while reading in the sun when I was a teen. Always have liked the sound of big band music.

     
    • tkmorin

      January 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      I am so with you on that! 🙂

       
  2. hairballexpress

    December 31, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Great Post human!! Happy New a Year! I hope it will be your best year yet!🌟🌟🌟🎉🎈🎋🎊*((purrs))*

    Thanks fur being my loyal furiend and follower!!💚💜

     
    • tkmorin

      December 31, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Aw, thanks, Shrimp! I hope you and your humans (even the creature) have a great 2015!! 🙂

       
  3. weggieboy

    December 31, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    That broad vibrato was his trademark.

     
    • tkmorin

      December 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Great Doug, thank you for the link! Happy new year to you and the cats! 🙂

       
      • weggieboy

        December 31, 2014 at 7:21 pm

        Same to you, T.K.! Thanks for a wonderful year of informative and fun posts about your country’s history and notable people. “More than Mounties and maple syrup,” as I say when people ask me what I think about Canada!

         
  4. Yvonne

    December 31, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    You keep bringing back the most wonderful memories, and I thank you for that.

    Happy New Year to you and yours, and to your happy band of followers.

     
    • tkmorin

      December 31, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks for the wish, Yvonne, may you have a blessed 2015! 🙂

       
  5. The Canadian Cats

    December 31, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I remember Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. Unfortunately I was too young to appreciate the music and the man. I’m older now and realize he was a wonderful man and their music is legendary.

    Have a great New Year my friend.

    Hugs,

    Jean

     
    • tkmorin

      December 31, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Same here. He and Lawrence Welk. Happy new year, Jean! 🙂

       
  6. seeker

    December 31, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Love that song Auld Lang Syne. Happy New Year, Teri!

     
    • tkmorin

      December 31, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      Happy new year, Perpetua! Best wishes!! 🙂

       
  7. gpcox

    December 31, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Happy New Years!! POP, FIZZ, CHEERS 🍸
    I’m old enough to know his music, but by the time I saw Guy’s band play, he was retired and his son-in-law was leading the band. Was still GOOD music!

     
    • tkmorin

      December 31, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Happy new years! Yep, i agree he made great music. Memorable! 🙂

       

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