Nelson Riddle

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Tom O. posted 03/11/06 09:39 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I'm wondering why Bing didn't record more songs with Nelson Riddle. They only recorded one album in '63 and that wasn't great at all...
I thought the combination was good in Bing's TV show in '60, too bad they didn't combine their talents for a couple more songs...
Ron Field posted 03/11/06 10:27 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
It would have been a good combination if Bing had sung songs with a better 'swing' to them as Riddle did with Sinatra. The Sinatra album "Songs for swinging lovers', which I think brought Sinatra back into the picture is really good. "Just one of those things" is a fine example. Bing's version is pretty slow and mundane.
Tom O. posted 03/11/06 12:23 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Exactly!!! We all know Bing could swing, listen to 'Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings' for example.
Ron Field posted 03/11/06 12:43 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Tom, that is a good example and when we look at Bing over the years there are some very good swinging/jazzy songs. And some songs on his KMH and Philco where he lets 'fly' are also great.
Joe McGrenra posted 03/11/06 04:37 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I know there are some that like the Bing/Nelson Riddle album (Return to Paradise Islands), but personally, I felt that was a very disappointing and very weak effort on both their parts. Considering the work Riddle was doing with Sinatra, Bing and him should have turned out some classic recording. On the flip side, I always wondered why Sinatra never tried to work with Ken Barnes after the work he did with Bing. I think Ken Barnes could have produced a classic Sinatra album or two especially after the deaths of Nelson Riddle and Don Costa when Sinatra was still in great voice. He made an album with Quincy Jones (LA Is My Lady-great album but weak title song) and after that seemed unable to get an album together until the Duets project. Did some great recordings (The Girls I’ve Never Kissed, Only One To A Customer, and My Foolish Heart), but they weren't released until after his death, and then only in a very expensive boxed set (The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings). I think Ken Barnes and Sinatra could have created something to rival his 50's Capital work. P.S. I need to say I do think Sinatra recorde one of his greatest albums in the 1980's-She Shot Me Down.
Dieter Beier posted 03/11/06 04:57 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Don´t forget Nelson Riddle´s recordings for the Robin And The Seven Hoods soundtrack album!Nelson also wrote the arrangement for Christmas Candles,that Bing recorded with Fred Waring.Bing and Nelson´s last performance was on March 17,1976 on Dorothy Chandler Pavilion,Los Angeles on his Bing Crosby And Friends show.
Arne posted 03/12/06 03:44 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
In addition, Nelson conducted Bing's June 2, 1976 concert in San Francisco. I know - I was there!

Don't forget Bing's "Seven Nights A Week" and "Man On Fire" - the Capitol single conducted and arranged by Riddle in 1957.

Also, Bing's "That's How Much I Love You" and "Rose Of Santa Rosa", with Bob Crosby's band, were arranged by a young Nelson Riddle. You'd never know it, as Riddle's style hadn't developed yet, and the charts are not characteristic of his mature work.

Apparently, I am the only person on the planet who enjoys "Return To Paradise Islands", and longs to have it on CD.... I think Riddle's work on this album is gorgeous; sounding more like beautiful, majestic film scoring than pop music. And, although some of Bing's vocals are uninspired, others are among his latter-day best, with "Adventures In Paradise" getting my vote as one of Bing's best LP-era tracks, ever.

It seems to me that I once read that Sinatra DID take note of Bing's albums with Ken Barnes (and the success the albums enjoyed), and connected with Ken about the possibility of doing something together....KEN: Am I imagining this? or did I really read it way back in those days? - and, is there any truth to it?
Jon O. posted 03/12/06 02:15 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Arne, you're not alone--I've loved "Return To Paradise Islands" since the first time I heard it. I know there are at least two or three more of us out there. If I remember correctly, Gord Atkinson expressed his liking for the LP in his essential "The Crosby Years."
Ken Barnes posted 03/12/06 04:51 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Hi Arne, In reply to your query about Frank Sinatra's interest in the Bing albums which I produced, I can confirm that the late Irving "Sarge" Weiss of the Sinatra office did ask for copies which were duly sent. Later, when I was in L.A. Sarge told me that Frank had heard them and liked them very much. Nothing came of it except that, today, I do enjoy a warm association with Sinatra Enterprises and I do work with them on occasional projects.

Incidentally, in the new stage show "Sinatra at the London Palladium," Frank's voice is heard paying tribute to Bing as his main inspiration. And, by the way, it's a terrific show !
Dieter Beier posted 03/13/06 10:02 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
A quote to Return To Paradise Islands LP by Sheldon O´Connell/Gord Atkinson:Bing-A Voice For All Seasons:"In the 1960´s Bing recorded his last Hawaiian collection.He was never in better voice,his bass baritone would send chills down anyone´s spine.The accompaniment by Nelson Riddle was unique and inventive.Riddle arranged the only Polynesian collection without including an Hawaiian guitar."On the Hukilau Song and Keep Your Eyes On The Hands I´m hearing a style guitar.Bing´s bass is most effective on Frangipani Blossom and Beutiful Kahana.I ever have the feeling listening to these LP that the mixture between Bing´s voice and the orchestral background was made optimal.If you listen "only" to Bing´s voice,there are some very fine moments and it is partly eccellent,but with the music together it sounds imbalance.Perhaps with a better work of the sound ingenieurs it could be a much better album.Some of the best songs of this LP are The Old Plantation,Love And Aloha,Adventures In Paradise,Frangipani Blossom and Beautifl Kahana.Ken Barnes have said,that this"was a rather laborious Hawaiian collection." Bing wrote on the cover text:"....Nelson Riddle when first approached about arranging and conducting the dates was a bit skeptical about his ability in this field.It is a little different from anything he´s done before,but I feel you´ll agree after listening to what he has done,that he´s added further lustre to his already immense importance in his exacting craft.This must make him a real Kamaina!Honestly, I can´t jumpup and down and make a great foo-foo-raw over the singing,but I do maintain that Nelson has produced some very lush and memorable sounds,and the songs certainly have a great appeal."
Dieter Beier posted 03/13/06 05:53 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Perhaps Bing´s old Hawaiian songs are nearer to our sentiment and imagination of the south sea island romantic with all their ukeles and high cadences.The Bing of the 60s-I believe-didn´t want sing songs such way regardless of the ability to sing the high notes or not.Beautiful early examples are Aloha Kuu Ipo Aloha,When You Dream About Hawaii,Aloha Oe,Remember Hawaii,South Sea Island Magic,To You Sweetheart Aloha and fascinating Here Ends The Rainbow(The Hawaiian Wedding Song/Waiting For Thee) with Betty Mullin together and a extraordinary radio version with George Kainapau and His Island Serenaders.


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