Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Music of The Great One

Every Saturday night in the mid 50's and 60's our family would turn on the television for The Honeymooners/The Jackie Gleason Show. Some honeymoon! Ralph and Alice would be having their Saturday night fights as Ed Norton easily had the audience in stitches just by bumbling into the room. The Great One himself, Jackie Gleason, was always in top form (for a guy in his condition.) It was always show time.

"A little traveling music" with Sammy Spear (or Ray Bloch) and the orchestra, and "away we went!" The show was funny, live and exciting, but I would watch especially to get my weekly trumpet lesson. I remember thinking that being the first trumpet on the Gleason show must have been the swellest job ever! Most of the trumpet work was played by Bobby Hackett, and "how sweet it was!"

I did not know that Jackie Gleason was a song writer, nor that he could not read or write music. Somehow his heartfelt songs found their way onto the printed page and into the hearts of millions. He produced the album Music for Lovers Only which holds the record for being on the Billboard Top Ten Charts for 153 weeks! It contains a collection of romantic ballads recorded with that luscious velvety Jackie Gleason Orchestra sound. Some pretty nifty trumpet work:

Melancholy Serenade (Gleason)

September Song (Weill)

The Last Dance

The Man I Love (Gershwin)

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