WHO LIVED OR WORKED IN NEW ROCHELLE
IN THE NRCA "MUSIC MAKERS OF NEW ROCHELLE" SHOW
Robert Allen was born February 5, 1928. He was an accompanist for Perry Como, Peter Lind Hayes and Arthur Godfrey. He spent a good part of his professional life living in New Rochelle. His daughters Diana and Katie grew up and were educated here.
He has a roster of hits which are strongly associated with the singers who popularized them -- Perry Como, Johnny Mathis and the Four Lads. These hits include: It's Not For Me To Say, Everybody Loves A Lover, Home For The Holidays, Chances Are and Moments To Remember. He died in 2000 and there is an annual ASCAP award presented in his name.
Jerry Bock was a resident of New Rochelle when he wrote the breathtakingly successful musical Fiddler On The Roof. The gifted song writing team of Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick composed a stream of musicals, and their production of The Apple Tree is presently on Broadway.
His BMI credits include over four hundred songs. Breaking into Broadway via television, he composed material for Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows, but he and Harnick have reached a level of immortality through the lovely score of Fiddler on The Roof.
J. FRED COOTS
J. Fred Coots was born on May 2, 1897. He is most famous for the song Santa Claus Is Coming To Town which became one of the biggest best sellers in American musical history. He lived in New Rochelle and his sons attended New Rochelle High School.
He wrote for the Broadway theatre and for radio. Two of his other lasting hits were Love Letters In The Sand and You Go To My Head. He died in 1985.
Guy Davis, the son of Ruby Dee and the late Ossie Davis, is a musician, composer, actor, director and writer. Davis attended Mayflower Elementary School, Albert Leonard Junior High School and he graduated from New Rochelle High School in the Class of 1970.
Davis writes songs born out of the stories told to him of life in the rural south by his parents and grandparents. Two of his albums have been named to top lists in the Boston Globe, Pulse magazine and Acoustic Guitar magazine. His latest album Legacy was picked as one of the Best CDs of the Year by National Public Radio, and the lead track, Uncle Tom's Dead was selected as one of the Best Songs of the Year.
PETER DE ROSE
Peter DeRose was born on March 10, 1900 in New York City. He saw his first song published when he was only eighteen. He had his own radio show, wrote for Broadway theatre, and had his music recorded by many artists.
His song When The Deep Purple Falls was written while he was sitting in his garden on Calton Road in New Rochelle, and Deep Purple, as it became known, was first recorded in 1934 and then was popular in 1976 when Donnie and Marie Osmond sang it again.
Other well known standards were A Marshmallow World, Wagon Wheels, and Have You Ever Been Lonely?
Paul Klein's music covered many bases. With his collaborator, Fred Ebb, he wrote special material for nightclub performers, Broadway musical reviews, and a serious book musical Morning Sun.
His songs were recorded by the Ames Brothers, Dean Martin and Vic Damone. His Golden Records popularized by TV's Captain Kangaroo were The Horse In Striped Pajamas, Close The Door, They're Coming In The Window, and Little Blue Man.
DON MC LEAN
Don McLean was one of the few songwriters in the 20th century who was born in New Rochelle, He is much more of a folk musician, whose breakout hit Bye Bye Miss American Pie in the early seventies seemed to express all the turbulence and sorrow that the sixties with war in Vietnam and radical tensions exemplified.
He attended Iona College and has spent a lot of time with Pete Seeger and other conservationists identified with Hudson Valley issues. He has had several other major hits, including Vincent and Starry, Starry Night.
Grammy-award winner Branford Marsalis is a composer, jazz and classical saxophonist, and founder of the Branford Marsalis Quartet. Branford is a member of the New Orleans jazz dynasty that includes his father jazz pianist Ellis, Jr.; his brother trumpeter and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center Wynton Marsalis; and two other brothers, Delfeayo, a trombonist and Jason, a drummer.
Branford lived in New Rochelle in the 1990s and was the musical director of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 1992-1995. Marsalis' latest offering Braggtown has been described as "one of the era's most towering musical statements, from one of the era's most creative ensembles."
The prodigious composer of A Little Shop of Horrors, Pocahontas, Beauty And The Beast, Little Mermaid and Hercules, Alan Menken lived in New Rochelle through much of his life and is a graduate of New Rochelle High School. He has shown his extraordinary versatility by writing for live theatre as well as for a string of Academy Award winning Disney animated films.
He currently resides in northern Westchester, but his parents, Dr. Norman and Mrs. Judith Menken are still in New Rochelle. He is, without a doubt, one of the most notable and versatile contemporary composers of popular music.
Claude Thornhill was born August 10, 1909 in Indiana. He came to New York City in the early 1930's. Here he met many of the emerging jazz greats like Benny Goodman, Paul Whiteman and Ray Noble. He was a brilliant arranger and took the Scottish fold song Loch Lomond and recorded it with Maxine Sullivan. It became a national hit.
His association with the Glen Island Casino, in the heydays of dance music and network radio made him a standout in the popular music universe. He died in July 1965. His other hits include: Snowfall, Do I Worry, Moonlight Masquerade and Mandy Is Two.
Paul Whiteman was born March 28, 1890. Duke Ellington wrote in his autobiography, "Paul Whiteman was known as the King of Jazz and no one as yet has come near carrying that title with more certainty and dignity." Whiteman commissioned George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue which was premiered by Whiteman's orchestra with Gershwin at the piano in 1924, and Bing Crosby got his start singing with the Whiteman Orchestra.
Whiteman is associated with the Glen Island Casino and made his home in New Rochelle for some years. He died in 1967.
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