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Billy Vaughn

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Richard “Billy” Vaughn was a singer, multi-instrumentalist and orchestra leader.

He was born in Glasgow, Kentucky, where his father was a barber who loved music and inspired Billy to teach himself to play the mandolin at age 3, while suffering a case of the measles. He went on to learn a number of other instruments.

In 1941, Vaughn joined the United States National Guard for what had been planned as a one-year assignment, but when World War II broke out, he was sent abroad till the war ended in 1945. He decided to make music a career when he was discharged from the army at the end of the war, and attended Western Kentucky State College, now known as Western Kentucky University, majoring in music composition. He had apparently learned barbering from his father, because he did some while studying at Western Kentucky to support himself financially, when he was not able to get jobs playing the piano at local night clubs and lounges. While he was a student there, three other students, jimmy sacca, Donald McGuire and Seymour Spiegelman, who had formed a vocal trio, The Hilltoppers, recruited Vaughn to play the piano with them. He soon added his voice to theirs, converting the trio to a quartet. As a member of the group, he also wrote their first hit song, Trying, which charted in 1952.

In 1954 he left the group to join Dot Records in Gallatin, Tennessee as music director. He subsequently formed his own orchestra, which had a big hit in that same year with Melody of Love. He went on to have many more hits over the next decade and a half, and based purely on chart successes, was the most successful orchestra leader of all time.

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  • CaCoffiny

    NICE !

    29 Nov 2011 Reply
  • betobetodotcom

    I still own the La Paloma LP that was from my parents and what started it all for me with Billy. The brass sound of his orchestra was his unmistakable signature.

    30 Apr 2011 Reply
  • davidgeorgea

    I love this pop pop sort of sound , There was a man on telly who used to make his muscles ripple to this track !!!

    21 Sep 2010 Reply
  • makowski191

    Alte Erinnerungen kommen wieder

    10 May 2009 Reply
  • beurgh

    I could cry, I'm so happy I found him!! My gran used to love this and I could only remember the title of the LP..... moonlight melodies... B E A U TI F U L <3

    9 Mar 2009 Reply
  • qwertypod

    Phunny louckin'

    29 Apr 2008 Reply

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