Today we honor the consummate bandleader Guy Lombardo, whose Royal Canadians were a staple on records and radio for many decades—and who better to help celebrate the occasion than old Der Bingle?
Gaetano Alberto Lombardo was born in London, Ontario on June 19, 1902. His father had each of his children learn to play different instruments so they could accompany his singing. The Lombardo brothers put their first orchestra together when they were still children, and they first played in public in 1914. Ten years later, Guy Lombardo and his Orchestra made their first recordings for the Starr Piano Company in Richmond, Indiana, released on the Gennett label. After Gennett, the Royal Canadians recorded briefly for Brunswick, which yielded two issued sides on Vocalion in 1927, and then with Columbia, with whom he stayed until 1931. Following his engagement with Columbia, he took his band to Brunswick from 1932 to ’34, then to Decca, as many Brunswick artists did after former employee Jack Kapp founded the company. The Royal Canadians switched to Victor for a period, before returning to Decca in 1938. Lombardo’s was perhaps most famous for his New Years Eve shows, which began at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1929, and continued until after his death, with the tradition carried on by his band, despite competition from Dick Clark. Though Lombardo’s “sweet” style of music was derided by many jazz fans who preferred their music served hot, he was reportedly hailed by the likes of both Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Guy Lombardo died of a heart attack on November 5, 1977.
Brunswick 6472 was recorded January 12, 1933 in New York City by Bing Crosby accompanied by Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians. Both songs originate from the 1933 musical film 42nd Street.
First, Bing croons “Young and Healthy”, with Lombardo’s Royal Canadians in fine form.
On the flip-side, Lombardo takes top billing on “You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me”.