Friday, June 10, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Billy May

Artist:Billy May
Song:You're Driving Me Crazy
Album:The Best Of Billy May Vol. 1

Billy May was a house arranger for Capitol Records in the 50s. So he worked with all the singers recording for Capitol including Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. He also led a big band that could best be described as easy listening. It certainly wasn't jazz. This kind of music was very popular with older listeners yearning for the sound of 40s big bands. May's band was a studio band. He didn't tour. He was born Nov. 10, 1916 in Pittsburgh. He played tuba in high school and at age 17 he worked for Gene Olsen's Polish-American Orchestra. In 1938, he worked as an arranger for Charlie Barnet. His work for Barnet was noticed by other bandleaders. He went on work for Glenn Miller, Les Brown and NBC before he became a house arranger at Capitol Records. When May worked for Barnet, he showed a flair for satirical music. So in his early days at Capitol, he worked on children's records by Mel Blanc and Pinto "Goofy" Colvig and comedy records by Jerry Colonna. Later on he was a big part of Stan Freberg's success. Freberg's albums were big sellers in the 50s. But his big break came when Frank Sinatra came to Capitol in 1956 and May worked on the 1956 album This Is Sinatra. Then he worked with many Capitol artists including Nat King Cole and George Shearing. He began recording as a leader in 1952. You're Driving Me Crazy is from his 1952 album Big Band Bash. You're Driving Me Crazy was written by Walter Donaldson in 1930 and Rudy Vallee had a big hit with it. Big Band Bash was first released as a 10" LP and later reissued as a 12" LP after it was successful. You can get it on this budget comp from Aero Space Records. After May left Capitol in the late 50s, he continued to be an in demand arranger for all kinds of performers. He also worked on film and TV themes usually with Nelson Riddle. Though May retired in the 80s, he returned in the 90s to work with his old pal Stan Freberg. Freberg had always credited May for contributing to his success. May also wrote the 1950 Mel Blanc hit I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat. May's two chart singles were the 1952 single Charmaine and the 1956 theme for The Man With The Golden Arm. Billy May was not someone who was known to the average music fan. But he was very successful within the music business for contributing to plenty of hits. Billy May died on Jan. 22, 2004 at age 87. Here's a video for You're Driving Me Crazy by Billy May.

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