The Lombardo Story

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They billed themselves as creating "the sweetest music this side of Heaven". The Lombardos are believed to have sold between and million records during their lifetimes, [1] many featuring the band's lead singer, Kenny Gardner.

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His father, who had worked as a tailor, was an amateur singer with a baritone voice and had four of his five sons learn to play instruments so they could accompany him. Lombardo and his brothers formed their first orchestra while still in grammar school and rehearsed in the back of their father's tailor shop.

After that solitary Gennett session, they recorded two sessions for Brunswick , a rejected session in Cleveland in late and an issued session for Vocalion in early The band then signed to Columbia and recorded prolifically between and In early , they signed to Brunswick and continued their success through when they signed to Decca — They then signed to Victor in later and stayed until the middle of when again they signed to Decca.

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In , 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 "boring, mainstream pap", trumpeter Louis Armstrong regularly named Lombardo's band his favorite orchestra. Lombardo is remembered for almost a half-century of New Year's Eve big band remotes, first on radio, then on television. Live broadcasts and later telecasts of their performances were a large part of New Year's celebrations across North America; millions of people watched the show with friends at house parties.

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Because of this popularity, Lombardo was called "Mr. New Year's Eve". Although CBS carried most of the Lombardo New Year's specials, there were a few years in the late s and early s when the special was syndicated live to individual TV stations instead of broadcast on a network. By the middle s, the Lombardo TV show was facing competition, especially for younger viewers, from Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve , but Lombardo remained popular among viewers, especially older ones.

The Royal Canadians' recording of the traditional song " Auld Lang Syne " still plays as the first song of the new year in Times Square. Lombardo and his orchestra were part of the film Many Happy Returns. Goodbar starring Diane Keaton. Lombardo was also an important figure in hydroplane speedboat racing, winning the Gold Cup in in his record-breaking speedboat, Tempo VI , designed and built by John L. From to , he was the reigning US national champion. Before his retirement from the sport in the late s, he had won every trophy in the field.

In he was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame for his accomplishments. Pools Corporation. The endeavor was short-lived and ended in with the closure of Skagit Plastics. Lombardo became promoter and musical director of Jones Beach Marine Theater.


The venue was built with him in mind by Robert Moses , a fan of Lombardo. His final production there was the staging of Finian's Rainbow with Christopher Hewett in the title role. On November 5, , Lombardo suffered a fatal heart attack. Another source says he died "of a lung ailment. Victor Lombardo took over the band briefly but could not maintain it. When Lebert Lombardo severed his ties in the group dissolved. The orchestra was later revived in by Al Pierson, playing a mix of nostalgic tunes and modern arrangements.

Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians

Lombardo was featured on a postage stamp issued on December 17, , as part of Canada Post 's Millennium Collection. A plaque to the Lombardos has been moved from the exterior wall of the Labatt Retail Store at Richmond and Horton streets in London to the store's entranceway off the parking lot, denoting the site of a subsequent home of the Lombardos.

In September , lacking visitors and funding, the museum was closed. City staff recommended that the museum not be reopened. Lebert Lombardo's children also have a large collection of artifacts including photographs, record albums, sheet music, awards, and the band's framed first paycheck from in their homes and storage units in Fort Myers and Sanibel , Florida. They have tried to donate the collection to various universities and museums but have had no takers. The Library of Congress has a collection of Lombardo films. Before the start of Billboard magazine's top 40 charts in , Lombardo had over hits from —, including twenty-one No.

The following singles made the "Top Ten" of the American Billboard singles charts from — [22] [23]. The following appeared on the Columbia Records label:. The following appeared on the Brunswick Records label:. The following appeared on the Decca Records label:. Decca: [25] [26] [27]. Vocalion : [28].

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