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Billy May

The last of the great arrangers who wrote regularly for Frank Sinatra, Billy May had several varied careers in and out of jazz. His first notable gig was as an arranger/trumpeter with Charlie Barnet (1938-1940), for whom he wrote the wah-wah-ing hit arrangement of Ray Noble's "Cherokee." Later, he worked in the same capacities for Glenn Miller (1940-1942) and Les Brown (1942) before settling into staff jobs, first at NBC studios, then at Capitol Records, where he led his own studio big band from 1951 to 1954. His arrangements for Sinatra, beginning with Come Fly With Me (1957) and ending with Trilogy (1979), are often in a walloping, brassy, even taunting swing mode, generating some of the singer's most swaggering vocals. May also did extensive scoring for television, film, and commercials. Although May was largely inactive in the '80s and '90s , he unexpectedly surfaced in 1996 with some typically bright big band charts for comic Stan Freberg's The United States of America, Vol. 2 (Rhino), 25 years after his contributions to Vol. 1. The veteran arranger died quietly at home on January 22, 2004 at the age of 87. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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It Had To Be You...you don't here music like this anymore. What a crying shame. This music isoutof sight!
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LOVE THE GREEN HORNET !!!!
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Magnificent!
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Billy May was the man!!!
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All of me. Why not take all of me. Can't you see, I'm no good without you. Take my lips, I'll never use them. Take my arms, I want to lose them. Your good byes, left me with eyes that cry. How can I still go on with out you. You took the part that once was my heart. So why not take all of me.
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Lean Baby was, and is, my favorite.
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Billy May, king of the old and great musical standards.
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can't beat big band jazz!
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Oh, When My Sugar Walks Down The Street , now this one is heavy!
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Love his arrangements .
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The best ochestraswor k i n g witn Sinatra: Billy May, Nelson Ridle and Count Basie.
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This Music will live forever, I'm 46 and have two of my four kids that love it.. It may change but if you listen to much of Today's pop it still heavily influences it .
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thelmavan
I refound Billy May on Music Choice and Pandora permits me to hear so much more of him. THANKS...He made wonderful music. I am so glad I can continue to hear his music in the years I have left.
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I was asked to play solo trombone on several of his great charts when in USAF swing band, 1951-55. In high school went to Pasadena Civic to hear his outstanding stuff. Great memories of a sadly now passe pop music we all danced to.
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Mmmmm...I like Billy May's style!
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rayers4
one of he greatest ever!
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While in France in 1952 I heard the band of Alex Campbell (sp.) with a sound quite like Billy May. I wondered who borrowed from whom.Now I can find nothing. Maybe if I spelled his name correctly it would help.
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I sat in awe at the Pasadena Civic listening to this great leader and his swinging band--about 1951.
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regisgrad200 3
Billy had a sound that was great.His vision of Cute had great brush work
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jake.sj
Is Dinah Washington the vocalist? Great style.
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Billy's distinctive style made for dancing and listening. Being a reed man I loved his treatment and unique sound of the sax section.
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billdon12
He is great!!!
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"Billy May" was at the top with his band and his wonderful arrangments of each and ever song. I have records but Pandora makes it so easy to set back in my easy chair and tune in to this wonderful music.We lost so much when Billy May passed on,great great talent,Thank you Pandora
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To me this is truly American music at it's best. Billy May was a talented man.
Great music, as far as I'm concerned.
Pandora, thanks for the nostalgic ride through the decades!
Your fan, Mark from Herbertsvill e NJ
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mtnlyon
You guys are truely amazing. The range of styles, the information. . . please keep it up. I will pass this on to my friends.
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graveslewis
I have found very little that I do not like anywhere in Pandora.

Sincerely, The Gravytrain
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This great music. I come from the generation that appreciates this kind of listening.

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