Billy Eckstine
American musician
Billy Eckstine
William Clarence Eckstine was an American singer of ballads and a bandleader of the swing era. Eckstine's smooth baritone and distinctive vibrato broke down barriers throughout the 1940s, first as leader of the original bop big-band, then as the first romantic black male in popular music. Eckstine's recording of "I Apologize" (MGM Pop Single, 1948) was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.
Biography
Billy Eckstine's personal information overview.
{{personal_detail.supertitle}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
Photo Albums
Popular photos of Billy Eckstine
Relationships
View family, career and love interests for Billy Eckstine
Show More Show Less
News
News abour Billy Eckstine from around the web
Touching tributes paid to trailblazer Olive Ann Trott - Royal Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
During the heyday of Bermuda's hotel entertainment circuit, Mrs Trott enjoyed first-name terms with many of the era's most prominent black musicians from the US including swing balladeer Billy Eckstine and jazz legend Sarah Vaughan
Article Link:
Google News article
Tony Bennett swings into an 85th birthday celebration - Chicago Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
Neither did Nat "King" Cole or Johnny Hartman, Billy Eckstine or Joe Williams — or most of America's other great male singers. But when Tony Bennett turned 85 earlier this month, he found himself not only still performing around the world but enjoying
Article Link:
Google News article
Jazz Vet Ted Herman and His Orchestra Jam Live at Repplier Park in Banning - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
In the early 1960s, Herman worked in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area with Billy Eckstine at Harrah's, and later at Harvey's, and he stayed 20 years as bandleader and contractor, playing for some of the most important headliners in show business, according to
Article Link:
Google News article
Freddy Cole to help celebrate Orpheum's 95th - Galesburg Register-Mail
Google News - over 5 years
He also credits Billy Eckstine as a major influence. “He was a fantastic entertainer,” Cole states. “I learned so much from just watching and being around him.” Cole was the youngest of five children, which included brothers Eddie, Ike and Nat,
Article Link:
Google News article
Celebrating Tony Bennett's 85th Birthday ... and His Activism - AlterNet
Google News - over 5 years
Tony was also influenced by his love for black music, which he considers the classic American music, and by his intimate friendships with Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine and Louis Armstrong, and his love for the singing of Billie Holiday
Article Link:
Google News article
Indiana's Feinstein Foundation - JazzTimes Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
A boon for Feinstein fans, at least half of the album's selections are songs he has never recorded before, including Henry Mancini's hauntingly beautiful “Two for the Road,” Lew Spence and Jack Elliott's “If They Ask Me,” recorded by Billy Eckstine in
Article Link:
Google News article
Today in Music History - Aug. 6 - mysask.com (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
Ammons's big-toned tenor was featured with the Billy Eckstine and Woody Herman band in the '40s, and he later formed his own small groups. Ammons's recordings of "Red Top," "My Foolish Heart" and "Jug" were all top-10 rhythm-and-blues hits in the late
Article Link:
Google News article
Cunningham spent early career playing Gaslight Square - STLtoday.com
Google News - over 5 years
As a singer, his role models include Nat King Cole, Billy Eckstine and Frank Sinatra. In recent years, the Sheldon has been the Cunninghams' home away from Vegas. The latest concert will be pay tribute to two noted jazz pianists: Horace Silver,
Article Link:
Google News article
At 85, Tony Bennett Still Seeks Perfection - Wall Street Journal (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
He is a great singer, forever growing and experimenting, a fine painter, a loving father, and a genuine appreciator of other artists, a quality that earned him the intimate friendship of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Billy Eckstine and
Article Link:
Google News article
Gene McDaniels dies at 76; pop singer and songwriter - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
He formed a gospel quartet in junior high school and, while idolizing jazz singers, including Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan, launched his career after graduating from high school. Karen McDaniels said her husband recently had been working on a new
Article Link:
Google News article
Joe Lee Wilson, 75, a Leader Of '70s Loft-Jazz Movement
NYTimes - over 5 years
Joe Lee Wilson, an acclaimed singer who was also a leader of the loft-jazz movement in the 1970s, died on Sunday at his home in Brighton, England. He was 75. The cause was congestive heart failure, his wife, Jill, said. Mr. Wilson, a baritone with a resonant, seductive voice in the tradition of Billy Eckstine and a style rooted in the blues of his
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Tory Wynter - Beachside Resident
Google News - over 5 years
Spirituality is an integral part of Wynter's musical aesthetic, an approach that's defined as much by his personal relationship with Bob Marley as by his love of legendary American ballad singer and bandleader Billy Eckstine
Article Link:
Google News article
Today's Birthdays - Sports Radio ESPN 1420
Google News - over 5 years
Bandleader Billy Eckstine. (Born 1914) He founded the first bebop orchestra. Actress Faye Emerson. (Born 1917) She appeared in such films as "Destination: Tokyo" and "Uncertain Glory." Actress Pamela Brown. (Born 1917) She appeared in several films
Article Link:
Google News article
Modern-day tap dancers pay tribute Saturday night to some of New York's most ... - New York Daily News (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Later members included the likes of “Bubba” Gaines, Buster Brown, Albert Gibson and kindred souls like Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstine, who shared a thousand stages with those tappers. Honorary membership, which was also not issued casually,
Article Link:
Google News article
Paula Allen: Mountaintop Club a hub of activity in 1940s - San Antonio Express
Google News - over 5 years
... “12 miles out Fredericksburg Road.†Longtime local dance bandleader Larry Herman and his Music Masters frequently provided the music, but so did touring entertainers such as Billy Eckstine and his orchestra, featuring trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie,
Article Link:
Google News article
JC STYLLES DEBUTS WITH EXHILARATION AND OTHER STATES ON JULY 12 - Jazzcorner
Google News - over 5 years
Stylles was first introduced to "I Want to Talk about You" via John Coltrane's classic reading of the Billy Eckstine melody. He says, "I had never heard a guitar version of it and having acquired a new custom Palen archtop guitar, I really felt this
Article Link:
Google News article
Jammin' on the Hudson free jazz concerts - 7Online.com
Google News - over 5 years
This was the beginning a whole new career for him that launched on to the scene a new baritone voice, the likes of which had not been heard since Billy Eckstine, Arthur Prysock, Joe Williams and Johnny Hartman. Jammin' is pleased to present a
Article Link:
Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Billy Eckstine
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1993
    Age 78
    Though his speech improved in hospital, Eckstine later had a heart attack, and died a few months later on March 8, 1993, aged 78.
    More Details Hide Details Eckstine's final word was "Basie". His friend Duke Ellington recalled Eckstine's artistry in his 1973 autobiography Music is My Mistress: "Eckstine-style love songs opened new lines of communication for the man in the man-woman merry-go-round, and blues a la B were the essence of cool. When he made a recording of Caravan, I was happy and honored to watch one of our tunes help take him into the stratosphere of universal acclaim. And, of course, he hasn't looked back since. A remarkable artist, the sonorous B."... "His style and technique have seen extensively copied by some of the neocommercial singers, but despite their efforts he remains out front to show how and what should have been done."
  • 1992
    Age 77
    Eckstine suffered a stroke while performing in Salina, Kansas, in April 1992, and never performed again.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1990
    Age 75
    Sammy Davis, Jr. made several live appearances and impersonated Eckstine. Not just for comedy reasons, but because Eckstine was a close friend and a supporter of Martin Luther King. Eckstine was a pallbearer at Davis' Funeral in 1990.
    More Details Hide Details Quincy Jones stated in Billboard: "I looked up to Mr. B as an idol. I wanted to dress like him, talk like him, pattern my whole life as a musician and as a complete person in the image of dignity that he projected. As a black man, Eckstine was not immune to the prejudice that characterized the 1950s." Jones is quoted in The Pleasures of Jazz as also saying of Eckstine: "If he’d been white, the sky would have been the limit. As it was, he didn’t have his own radio or TV show, much less a movie career. He had to fight the system, so things never quite fell into place." Lionel Hampton: "He was one of the greatest singers of all time. We were proud of him because he was the first Black popular singer singing popular songs in our race. We, the whole music profession, were so happy to see him achieve what he was doing. He was one of the greatest singers of that era... He was our singer."
  • 1986
    Age 71
    Eckstine's final recordings were made in November 1986, with saxophonist Benny Carter and released on the 1987 album Billy Eckstine Sings with Benny Carter.
    More Details Hide Details
    After recording sparingly during the 1970s for Al Bell's Stax/Enterprise imprint, the international touring Eckstine made his last recording, the Grammy-nominated Billy Eckstine Sings with Benny Carter in 1986.
    More Details Hide Details Eckstine made numerous appearances on television variety shows, including on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Nat King Cole Show, The Tonight Show with Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show, The Art Linkletter Show, The Joey Bishop Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Flip Wilson Show, and Playboy After Dark. He also performed as an actor in the TV sitcom Sanford and Son, and in such films as Skirts Ahoy, Let's Do It Again, and Jo Jo Dancer. Culturally Eckstine was a fashion icon. He was famous for his "Mr. B. Collar"- a high roll collar that formed a "B" over a Windsor-knotted tie. The collars were worn by many a hipster in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
  • 1984
    Age 69
    In 1984 Eckstine recorded his penultimate album, I Am a Singer, arranged and conducted by Angelo DiPippo and featuring Toots Thielemans on harmonica.
    More Details Hide Details
  • FORTIES
  • 1960
    Age 45
    The 1960 Las Vegas live album, No Cover, No Minimum, featured Eckstine taking a few trumpet solos and showcased his nightclub act.
    More Details Hide Details He recorded albums for Mercury and Roulette in the early 1960s, and appeared on Motown albums during the mid to late 1960s.
  • 1957
    Age 42
    Among Eckstine's recordings of the 1950s was a 1957 duet with Sarah Vaughan, "Passing Strangers", a minor hit in 1957, but an initial No. 22 success in the UK Singles Chart.
    More Details Hide Details
  • THIRTIES
  • 1952
    Age 37
    After their divorce in 1952, he remarried shortly after to actress and model Carolle Drake in 1953, and they remained married until his death.
    More Details Hide Details He was the father of four children by second marriage and two step-children, including Ed Eckstine, who was a president of Mercury Records, Guy Eckstine, who was a Columbia and Verve Records A&R executive and record producer, singer Gina Eckstine, and actor Ronnie Eckstine.
  • 1950
    Age 35
    Eckstine was the subject of a three page profile in the 25 April 1950 issue of LIFE magazine, in which the photographer Martha Holmes accompanied Eckstine and his entourage during a week in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details One photograph taken by Holmes and published in LIFE showed Eckstine with a group of female admirers, one of whom had her hand on his shoulder and her head on his chest while she laughed. Eckstine's biographer Cary Ginell, wrote of the image that Holmes " captured a moment of shared exuberance, joy, and affection, unblemished by racial tension." Holmes would later describe the photograph as the favorite of the many she had taken in her career as it " told just what the world should be like". The photograph was considered so controversial that an editor at LIFE sought personal approval from Henry Luce, the magazine's publisher, who said it should be published. The publication of the image caused letters of protest to be written to the magazine, and singer Harry Belafonte subsequently said of the publication that "When that photo hit, in this national publication, it was if a barrier had been broken". The controversy that resulted from the photograph had a seminal effect on the trajectory of Eckstine's career. Tony Bennett would recall that "It changed everything Before that, he had a tremendous following and it just offended the white community", a sentiment shared by pianist Billy Taylor who said that the "coverage and that picture just slammed the door shut for him".
    His 1950 appearance at the Paramount Theatre in New York City drew a larger audience than Frank Sinatra at his Paramount performance.
    More Details Hide Details
    Eckstine had further success in 1950 with Victor Young’s theme song to "My Foolish Heart," and the next year with a revival of the 1931 Bing Crosby hit, "I Apologize".
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1945
    Age 30
    Even before folding his band, Eckstine had recorded solo to support it, scoring two million-sellers in 1945 with "Cottage for Sale" and a revival of "Prisoner of Love".
    More Details Hide Details Far more successful than his band recordings, these prefigured Eckstine’s future career. Eckstine would go on to record over a dozen hits during the late 1940s. He signed with the newly established MGM Records, and had immediate hits with revivals of "Everything I Have Is Yours" (1947), Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s "Blue Moon" (1948), and Juan Tizol’s "Caravan" (1949).
  • TWENTIES
  • 1944
    Age 29
    In 1944, Eckstine formed his own big band and it became the finishing school for adventurous young musicians who would shape the future of jazz.
    More Details Hide Details Included in this group were Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Charlie Parker, and Fats Navarro, as well as vocalist Sarah Vaughan. Tadd Dameron, Gil Fuller and Jerry Valentine were among the band's arrangers. The Billy Eckstine Orchestra is considered to be the first bop big-band, and had Top Ten chart entries that included "A Cottage for Sale" and "Prisoner of Love". Both were awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. Dizzy Gillespie, in reflecting on the band in his 1979 autobiography To Be or Not to Bop, gives this perspective: "There was no band that sounded like Billy Eckstine's. Our attack was strong, and we were playing bebop, the modern style. No other band like this one existed in the world." Eckstine became a solo performer in 1947, with records featuring lush sophisticated orchestrations.
  • 1942
    Age 27
    He married his first wife, June, in 1942.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1939
    Age 24
    Heading to Chicago, Eckstine joined Earl Hines' Grand Terrace Orchestra in 1939, staying with the band as vocalist and trumpeter, until 1943.
    More Details Hide Details By that time, Eckstine had begun to make a name for himself through the Hines band's juke-box hits as "Stormy Monday Blues" and his own "Jelly Jelly."
  • TEENAGE
  • 1933
    Age 18
    He left Howard in 1933, after winning first place in an amateur talent contest.
    More Details Hide Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1914
    Born
    Born on July 8, 1914.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)