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Percy Faith Orchestra

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Percy Faith (April 7, 1908 – February 9, 1976) Canadian-born band-leader, orchestrator and composer, known for his lush arrangements of pop standards. He is often credited with creating the “easy listening” or “mood music” format which became staples of American popular music in the 1950s and continued well into the 1960s. Though his professional orchestra-leading career began at the height of the swing era, Faith refined and rethought orchestration techniques, including use of large string sections, to soften and fill out the brass dominated popular music of the 1940s.

Faith was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He played violin and piano as a child, and played in theatres and at Massey Hall. After his hands were badly burned in a fire, he turned to conducting, and his live orchestras utilized the new medium of radio broadcasting. Beginning with defunct stations CKNC and CKCL, Faith was a staple of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s live-music broadcasting from 1933 to 1940, when he resettled in Chicago. In 1945, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He made many recordings for Voice of America. After working briefly for Decca Records, he worked for Mitch Miller at Columbia Records, where he turned out dozens of albums and provided arrangements for many of the pop singers of the 1950s, including Tony Bennett, Doris Day and Guy Mitchell (for whom Faith wrote Mitchell’s number one single, “My Heart Cries for You”).

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