Joseph Raymond Ray Conniff was an American bandleader and arranger best known for his Ray Conniff Singers during the 1960s. Conniff was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and learned to play the trombone from his father and he studied music arranging from a course book. After serving in the U. S. Army in World War II, he joined the Artie Shaw big band and he wrote a top 10 arrangement for Don Cherrys Band of Gold in 1955, a single that sold more than a million copies. He also backed up the albums Tony by Tony Bennett, Blue Swing by Eileen Rodgers, Swingin for Two by Don Cherry, between 1957 and 1968, Conniff had 28 albums in the American Top 40, the most famous one being Somewhere My Love. He topped the album list in Britain in 1969 with His Orchestra, His Chorus, His Singers, His Sound and he also was the first American popular artist to record in Russia—in 1974 he recorded Ray Conniff in Moscow with the help of a local choir. In Brazil and Chile he was treated like a pop superstar in the 1980s and 1990s when he was in his 70s and 80s. I decided to have the choir sing along with the big band using wordless lyrics, the women were doubled with the trumpets and the men were doubled with the trombones. In the booth Mitch was totally surprised and excited at how well it worked, because of the success of his backing arrangements, and the new sound Conniff created, Miller allowed him to make his own record, and this became the successful ’s Wonderful. A collection of standards that were recorded with an orchestra and a singing chorus. His second album was Dance the Bop and it was an experiment by one of the brass at Columbia to cash in on a conceived dance step creation, but from the outset, Conniff disliked it. When it sold poorly, he had it withdrawn from the market, in 1959 he started The Ray Conniff Singers and released the album Its the Talk of the Town. This group brought him the biggest hit he ever had in his career, the lyrics of the albums title selection were written to the music of Laras Theme from the film Doctor Zhivago, and the result was a top 10 single in the US. The album reached the US top 20 and went platinum, the single and album also reached high positions in the international charts, whilst the first of four Christmas albums by the Singers, Christmas with Conniff was also successful. Nearly 50 years after its release, in 2004, Conniff was posthumously awarded a platinum album/CD, musically different highlights in Conniffs career are two albums he produced in cooperation with Billy Butterfield, an old friend from earlier swing days. Conniff Meets Butterfield featured Butterfields solo trumpet and a rhythm group, Just Kiddin Around, released 1963. Both albums are pure light jazz and did not feature any vocals, Conniff recorded in New York from 1955 through 1961 and mainly in Los Angeles from 1962 through 2000. Later in the 1960s he produced an average of two instrumental and one album a year. Conniff sold about 70 million albums worldwide, and continued recording and performing until his death in 2002 and he died in Escondido, California, from a fall he suffered in a bathtub, and is buried in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California
Dance the Bop!
Dance the Bop. is a 1957 album by Ray Conniff. All the tracks were written by Conniff with a solid rock, the album was produced in February,1957. Released by Columbia Records, the album was an attempt by the company to cash in on the teen dance craze, Conniff himself never liked this album and felt under pressure by producer and a&r chief Mitch Miller to record it. He once stated in an interview with German television We should have burnt the tapes, after the Bop album he returned to this sound which turned out to be a worldwide success in the late 50s and early 60s. Walkin the Bop The Drop Just Boppin Doin the Twister The Flea Hop Cross Over Walkin the Bop Again Swingin the Bop Hand Around Play a Guitar Solo The Spinner Honky-Tonk Rock-Around