Mel Tormé

American singer Mel Tormé

Melvin Howard Tormé, nicknamed The Velvet Fog, was an American musician, known for his jazz singing. He was also a jazz composer and arranger, a drummer, an actor in radio, film, and television, and the author of five books. He composed the music for the classic holiday song "The Christmas Song" and co-wrote the lyrics with Bob Wells.
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Biography
Mel Tormé's personal information overview.
Deceased
05 June 1999
home town
Chicago
News
News about Mel Tormé from around the web
The Story Behind 'The Christmas Song'
NPR - about 2 months
Mel Tormé famously co-wrote one of the most well-known carols of all time in 1945. His son, James, tells the story of how the song came to be. (Image credit: John Franks/Getty Images)
Article Link:
 NPR article
Twenty-Five Holiday Songs to get Warm to
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Its that time of year again and its always nice to get in the spirit of the season with some great holiday music. Here are a few memorable if not typically played holiday songs, made a little hipper by these wonderful jazz artists. I hope you find some joy in them as I do. Happy Holidays to all my family, friends and followers. Looking forward to a swinging New Year! Guitarist John McLaughlin's beautiful Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel Ray Charles and Nina Simone: Baby It's Cold Outside Cyrille Aimee with Doug Munro and Le Pompe Attack : The Christmas Song Frank Sinatra: Let It Snow Tony Bennett and the Count Basie Orchestra: I'll Be Home For Christmas Fats Waller: Swingin' Them Jingle Bells Erroll Garner: White Christmas Bill Evans: Santa Claus is Coming to Town Dave Brubeck: Silent Night Jim Hall and Toots Theilemans: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Cassandra Wilson: The Little Drummer Boy Miles D...
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 Huffington Post article
ASCAP's Top Thirty Christmas Songs: Wrapping With Paul Williams, Plus Beth Hart/Jeff Beck And Curtis Stigers Exlcusives
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Wrapping Top Holiday Songs with Paul Williams Mike Ragogna: President of ASCAP Paul Williams! Christmas songs! Go! Paul Williams: Let me get myself in the mood. [sings:] “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." There it is! It's amazing how quickly you can connect to the emotion and the spirit of the season with this song. What amazes me is that you cannot find a business that has changed more and changes again and again and again than the music business through the years. Eleven months out of the year, the music business keeps changing, from the fifties rock 'n' roll through the seventies singer-songwriters into disco into rap, but you hit the twelfth month of the year and thirty of the top fifty songs were written in the fifties and forties. It's just amazing that these songs have the ability to endure. What a great annuity for the songwriters, but also what a great comfort to the people, because they love to hear them, obviously. MR: And some of them have such great stories. I ...
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 Huffington Post article
Harold Arlen at 110: Before It's Too Late
Huffington Post - over 2 years
Ten years ago, I was paid the most money I have ever been paid for a magazine article (still). The payer was Vanity Fair magazine; the subject was the composer Harold Arlen; the occasion, the centennial of his birth. My story was bought, paid for and then killed just before the issue went to press; bumped by the editor-in-chief Graydon Carter himself to make last minute space for late breaking coverage of some scandalous something in the dominion of gossip. I no longer remember what. Recently, my ten-year-old daughter Sara and I were talking about Harold Arlen while paging through a CD booklet about The Wizard of Oz. "I once wrote a very long article about Harold Arlen," I told her, reminded of it suddenly. "But nobody ever read it. I should publish it one day," I went on, heedlessly, "in the Huffington Post. On Harold Arlen's birthday, maybe." "Papa," Sara said, pointing to the CD booklet. "Harold Arlen was born in 1905. "This is his 110th birthday!" Sara looked at me. "You shou...
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 Huffington Post article
Todd Rundgren: I Saw the Light
Huffington Post - almost 3 years
"Hello, it's me." Todd Rundgren can never escape that greeting and song title. Nor would he want to, I imagine. It's a signature song for him, one that was transcendent for American radio. Between that 1973 "Midnight Special" performance and the show I covered a few months back at BB King's NYC, Rundgren has traveled a long, winding road well and with grace. His bands, Nazz and Utopia with his eponymous, "Todd Rundgren" band and solo career displayed his talents as a musician but were in my opinion overshadowed by his strong artistic ability as a producer of other musicians' records. Rundgren worked with Robbie Robertson and The Band (spending a lot of time in Woodstock), Janis Joplin (on what would be taken over by another producer ultimately, to become the album "Pearl"), Jesse Winchester, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, New York Dolls, The New Cars, Hall & Oates, Badfinger, Sparks, Rick Derringer, Grand Funk Railroad, James Cotton Blues Band, Patti Smith Group...
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 Huffington Post article
Don We Never Our Hideous Apparel
Huffington Post - over 4 years
My kids' Halloween candy had barely gone stale before the first Christmas controversy roared into town, innocently enough in the form of a Hallmark ornament. The greeting card giant, you may have heard, received flak for trying to be tooooo politically correct, hence its idea to change the lyrics of a certain Christmas carol before slapping it on ornaments shaped like holiday sweaters. The line in question? "Don we now our gay apparel," from Deck the Halls, a carol that has been sung on front porches and at elementary school pageants and retirement home programs since the 1800s. Thinking the word "gay" might offend a portion of customers looking to purchase Hallmark's sweater ornament, the company changed "gay" to "fun." To Hallmark's surprise, nobody cared about the gay reference; quite the contrary. Many ranted on social media sites that Hallmark acted a bit audaciously by changing the lyrics without consulting anyone, although I'm not sure whom they would ask. Attention. This m...
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 Huffington Post article
WNYC Launches New 24-hour Home for Jonathan Schwartz and The American Songbook
Yahoo News - over 4 years
New 24/7 Music Stream Devoted to American Popular Standards, Curated by Jonathan Schwartz,To Launch Friday, November 1 at 12 noon ETNEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The sounds of Sinatra, Nelson Riddle, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday and other masters of the American songbook will soon be heard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the world, when WNYC launches "The Jonathan Channel," a new music stream on Friday, November 1 at 12 noon ET. The stream will be available at www.thejonathanchannel.org. ...
Article Link:
 Yahoo News article
Core Bites: Aug. 16
Blue Ridge Now - over 4 years
The Honeycutters to play at BRCC Aug. 25 The Honeycutters will perform from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 25 in the Music by the Lake concert at Blue Ridge Community College. The Honeycutters is the musical collaboration of singer/songwriter Amanda Anne Platt and lead guitarist/producer Peter James. Its sound has drawn comparisons to such artists as Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris or Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Its most recent release, "When Bitter Met Sweet" (2012), hit No. 23 on the Americana Chart, and landed at No. 94 for the year. It was also one of the top 10 best-selling albums at Merlefest in 2012. Since the release of its first studio album, The Honeycutters has shared the stage with such Americana giants as Guy Clark, Tony Rice, The Seldom Scene, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Donna the Buffalo, Jill Andrews and Steep Canyon Rangers. The band includes Tal Taylor on mandolin, Rick Cooper on bass and Josh Milligan on drums. Admission to the concert is free, but bring picnics and ...
Article Link:
 Blue Ridge Now article
Mike Ragogna: Smooth Jazz Cruisin': Conversations with ECP's Dane Butcher & Michael Lazaroff, Plus Brian Irving's "Garbage Man" Exclusive
Huffington Post - over 4 years
BRIAN IRVING'S "GARBAGE MAN" Brian Irving--aka Rawkus Records and UPROXX.COM co-founder Brian Brater--drops his debut album Radiant Things on July 16th. Brian, a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, synth and drum programmer, creates a lush atmosphere of conscious lyrics, and lo-fi/hi-fi computerized, neo-psychedelia with recent critical comparisons to Tame Impala, Pink Floyd, and Neon Indian. Check out this exclusive stream of his new song "Garbage Man" that features delayed guitar glitchiness, drum layers, and airy vocals and synths coupled with a clear environmental message about the dark side of our over-consumption. The song's opening lines, "Garbage Man, may your holy work be damned, Garbage Man, toxic waste is on your hands. What will you do, when the garbage starts eating you," shed light on the environmental and social consequences of our collective waste. Also enjoy Brian's recently released video for 'Eyes Wide'. It's an animated sufi mind-trip repl...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Georgia Jazz Musician Dies In Car Crash
Huffington Post - over 4 years
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Musician Ben Tucker performed with stars from Quincy Jones to Peggy Lee before he settled in the 1970s in Savannah, where the jazz bassist became one of the Georgia city's best-known working musicians. He was killed in a car crash Tuesday at age 82. Tucker was driving a golf cart across a road on Hutchinson Island when a car slammed into him at high speed, said Savannah-Chatham County police spokesman Julian Miller. Tucker was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The driver of the car that struck him was charged with vehicular homicide and other criminal counts. The news stunned musicians and jazz enthusiasts in Savannah, where Tucker had been a musical fixture for roughly four decades. Tucker made his living playing upright bass – an instrument he'd named Bertha and claimed was 240 years old – in all sorts of settings from jazz festivals to wedding receptions, from nightclub gigs to bar mitzvahs. "One of the most interesting things about pl...
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 Huffington Post article
PR Pioneer Daniel Edelman Dies In Chicago At 92
Huffington Post - about 5 years
NEW YORK -- Daniel J. Edelman, who built one of the world's top public relations companies and pioneered celebrity endorsements and media tours, has died at age 92. Edelman is credited with developing many of the methods now standard in the field, after transforming the firm he started more than 60 years ago with two people into a global marketing force with more than 4,500 employees in 66 offices worldwide. His son Richard Edelman said he died of heart failure on Tuesday at a Chicago hospital. Richard Edelman, president and CEO of the Edelman firm, said his father was "a marketing and public relations genius, because he really understood that PR could sell brands." The firm's clients include Microsoft, Pfizer, Wal-Mart and Royal Dutch Shell. Daniel Edelman, a New York City native and Columbia University journalism school graduate, worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Poughkeepsie, about 75 miles north. He was drafted into the Army during Wo...
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 Huffington Post article
Jon Chattman: A-Sides With Jon Chattman: Kimberley Locke's 'Free' From 'American Idol's' Shadow
Huffington Post - over 5 years
When it comes to American Idol alumni, Kimberley Locke doesn't really get the credit she deserves. Sure, she hasn't sold as many records as Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry or Carrie Underwood, but she's light years away from William Hung territory. Come to think of it -- her success places her way toward the top of the Fox juggernaut's finalist history, but somehow, she flies under the radar. Let's take a look see: The singer, who placed third behind Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken during season 2 of the show, has four #1 singles on the dance charts and seven Tip 10 singles on the Adult Contemporary Charts. She also became the first Idol finalist to have a #1 sales single with an original song with "8th World Wonder" a decade ago (sorry wrestling fans, that song had little to do with Andre The Giant). The Tennessee native also has three #1 Christmas songs in three straight years -- the first artist ever to accomplish that (sorry Mel Torme). Locke's successes don't stop there...
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 Huffington Post article
Blue Moon Takes to the Sky Friday Night
Algonquin Patch - over 5 years
Just as the moon isn’t made of cheese, it isn’t usually blue either, but on Friday the phrase, "once in a blue moon" will apply. August will end with the second full moon of the month. The month of August started with a full moon, with the first one taking place on Aug. 1, and ends with the full moon Friday. Modern folklore has dubbed the occurrence of two full moons in a month as a blue moon, according to the science website EarthSky.org. The blue moon happens only every two to three years. The next blue moon isn’t expected until July 2015. The moon may be doubly blue Friday, which is when the funeral service for Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, is scheduled, according to Politico. Armstrong died Saturday at age 82. A private service is planned for Armstrong in Cincinnati, Politico reported. And, while we may call it a blue moon, it is only a term and the moon is not really blue (or made of cheese) though sometimes conditions like smoke can make it ap...
Article Link:
 Algonquin Patch article
Liz Smith: Taylor Swift And Conor Kennedy's Summer Lovin': Stop Hating, You Haters
Huffington Post - over 5 years
"MAKE SOMEBODY happy today. Mind your own business," said Ann Landers. I suppose, being in the business I'm in, using such a quote at the top is rather contradictory. although naturally I like to hope I haven't been too big a busybody. I thought of Landers' quote as the romance began between 22-year-old country music sensation Taylor Swift and 18-year-old Conor Kennedy of that Kennedy family. The pair looks adorable. They've been paparazzi-ed kissing, swimming (she wore a sweet red two piece that showed just enough). She's taken him to Nashville to meet her family, and has supposedly bought a house near Ethel Kennedy's in Hyannis Port, Mass. They are both extremely attractive. What gets me are all the Kennedy-haters out there warning Taylor (in print) to "run don't walk" to the nearest exit; that Conor is a Kennedy and Miss Swift will surely end up in some tragic situation, because all Kennedy men are monsters. Given the size of the Kennedy clan, that's quite an oversta...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Ralph A. Miriello: Notes on Jazz Third Annual 4th of July Living Legends of Jazz Celebration
Huffington Post - over 5 years
Roy Haynes photo by Fran Kaufman © 2012 Notes on Jazz Third Annual Living Legends of Jazz 2012 Once again it is time for my annual Notes on Jazz listing of the Living Legend of Jazz .This is the third annual compilation, and with each year we gain some new members and sadly lose some old friends. The list is a celebration of those who have, for so long, graced us with their talents, their creativity and their love of the music. Last year, we saw the passing of some truly venerable legends. Musicians, performers, innovators, teachers and mentors who made an indelible mark on society at large and on the music in particular. Some were famous, some infamous and all will be missed. This fraternity of Jazz Legends lost two drummers. A onetime member of both the Ellington and Basie band's drummer Butch Ballard passed at the age of 92. The eclectic rhythm machine, Paul Motian, who together with bassist Scott LaFaro and pianist Bill Evans formed what was perhaps the m...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Singers bring young energy to classic songs
The Palm Beach Post - over 5 years
The future of cabaret is in good hands if the reviews Carole Bufford and Nicolas King are collecting are any indication. Both are making their debuts at The Colony’s Royal Room in Palm Beach, where the summer season began this weekend with a show by Will and Anthony Nunziata. The series also includes returning performers Jennifer Sheehan, Wayne Hosford and Ariana Savalas. Summer is when the Royal Room typically presents younger artists. Both Bufford and King are under 30 and are consummate performers, entertainment director Rob Russell said. "I have an old-fashioned sound that’s more like the voices of the leading ladies of yore," Bufford said. She’s even created a show, titled speak easy, with tunes by Bessie Smith, Sophie Tucker and other stars of the Prohibition era. The show recently received a glowing review in The New York Times. She’s still an actress at heart. "My favorite thing to look for when I’m choosing a song is the characters behind them," she said. "That’s ...
Article Link:
 The Palm Beach Post article
Blue Gypsy Watering Hole reopens with big changes
Blue Ridge Now - almost 6 years
The Blue Gypsy Watering Hole in downtown Saluda reopened Wednesday after being closed for the winter. Owners Chef Jesse Roque and her husband, Edson, opened their first restaurant, Never Blue, in 2007 on Main Street in Hendersonville. Customers can expect to see big changes for the little restaurant, the owners said in a news release. In addition to a revamped menu, with an emphasis on Mediterranean and Southern flavors, patrons will now find counter service and a celebrity "look-alike" announcement system to let diners know when their food is ready. "If you've always been told you're a dead ringer for Mel Torme, you just might hear it when we announce that your food is ready," said Jesse Roque. "We're all about fun and making the entire visit an experience." Menu items will include Roque's famous gypsy cheese, scornbread, ceviches and a variety of cocas or flat breads with combinations as unique as the chef. "Imagine Paula Dean and Mario Batali on vacation in Saluda," J...
Article Link:
 Blue Ridge Now article
Lea Lane: Isolated on an Island, Dealing With Grief
Huffington Post - almost 6 years
Recently I've faced a situation that challenged me. I needed to remind myself how I dealt with grief a decade ago, and how it changed my life: Two weeks after I had reserved a cabin on an island off the coast of New Brunswick, Canada, for a romantic getaway with my husband Chaim, he was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor, and three months later, he was gone. The next summer, when I got a call from the owners, I had forgotten all about the cabin reservation. To hell with it -- I decided to get away from everything and go to the cliff by myself. I loaded my black Miata, the one Chaim had gifted me. I brought few clothes, but I did haul Mel Torme, Bach, The Eagles, Dvorjak, Leo Kottke, and our favorite Alsatian wine, chocolate, biscotti and vinegar potato chips. At least I would enjoy our music and food. I kept the top down the whole way on the drive from Westchester County, and overnighted in Augusta, Maine in a Motel 6 as darkness fell. The only available room ha...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Artie Shaw Big Band comes to Salisbury May 6
Salisbury Post - almost 6 years
As the United States prepared to enter World War II, Time reported that to the average German, the U.S. meant “sky-scrapers, Clark Gable and Artie Shaw.” Many years later, in 1983, Shaw made a brief return to launch a touring orchestra, led by Dick Johnson, and that band is still around and touring, now under the direction of clarinetist Matt Koza. Shaw died in 2004 at the age of 94. Sponsored by the Rowan County Concert Association, The Artie Shaw Big Band will make a stop in Salisbury at Catawba College’s Keppel Auditorium on Sunday, May 6 at 3 p.m. Shaw was a big part of the great swing era of 1935-45. His first big hit was “Begin the Beguine,” which helped him become known as the “King of Swing.” In the 1930s he hired Billie Holiday as his band vocalist and was the first white bandleader to employ a black female singer as a full-time member of his band. In the mid 1940s, his dance band featured vocalist Mel Torme. The program will include one of Shaw’s signature so...
Article Link:
 Salisbury Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Mel Tormé
    LATE ADULTHOOD
  • 1999
    Age 73
    Another stroke on June 5, 1999 at age 73 ended his life.
    More Details
    In February 1999, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 1996
    Age 70
    On August 8, 1996, a stroke ended Tormé's 65-year singing career.
  • 1991
    Age 65
    In 1991 Tormé published Traps — The Drum Wonder, a biography of drummer Buddy Rich, who was his friend since Rich left the Marines in 1944.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1983
    Age 57
    Tormé made a guest vocal appearance on the 1983 album Born to Laugh at Tornadoes by the progressive pop band Was (Not Was).
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  • 1976
    Age 50
    In 1976, he won an Edison Award (the Dutch equivalent of the Grammy) for best male singer, and a Down Beat award for best male jazz singer.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1963
    Age 37
    In 1963–64, Tormé wrote songs and arrangements for The Judy Garland Show, where he made three guest appearances.
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  • 1960
    Age 34
    In 1960, Tormé appeared in the TV crime drama Dan Raven with Don Dubbins.
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  • 1956
    Age 30
    He had two minor hits: his 1956 recording of "Mountain Greenery," which did better in the United Kingdom where it reached No. 4; and his 1962 R&B song "Comin' Home Baby", arranged by Claus Ogerman, which reached No. 13 in the UK.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1955
    Age 29
    From 1955 to 1957, he recorded seven vocal jazz albums for Red Clyde's Bethlehem Records, all with groups led by Marty Paich, most notably Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-Tette.
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  • 1949
    Age 23
    In 1949, he moved to Capitol Records, where his first record, "Careless Hands," became his only number-one hit.
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  • 1947
    Age 21
    In 1947, he started a solo singing career.
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  • 1946
    Age 20
    He was discharged from the Army in 1946, and soon returned to a life of radio, television, movies, and music.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1944
    Age 18
    In 1944 he formed the vocal quintet Mel Tormé and His Mel-Tones, modeled on Frank Sinatra and The Pied Pipers.
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  • 1943
    Age 17
    In 1943, Tormé made his movie debut in Frank Sinatra's first film, the musical Higher and Higher.
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  • 1942
    Age 16
    From 1942–1943 he was a member of a band led by Chico Marx of the Marx Brothers.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1933
    Age 7
    He played drums in the drum-and-bugle corps at Shakespeare Elementary School. From 1933–41, he acted in the radio programs The Romance of Helen Trent and Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy.
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  • 1925
    Born
    Born on September 13, 1925.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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