Hugo Winterhalter

Hugo Winterhalter ( born August 15, 1909 in Wilkes -Barre, Pennsylvania, † September 17, 1973 in Greenwich, Connecticut ) was an American musician, bandleader, arranger and music producer.


From Student to Music Director

Winterhalter studied at the Conservatory of New England violin and woodwind instruments. After graduating, he taught at his training facility, but decided in the mid- 1930s to become a professional musician. In the second half of the 1940s he played and arranged for various swing bands, including Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie and Claude Thornhill. At this time he also made the arrangements for the songs of Dinah Shore and Billy Eckstine. 1948/1949 he was musical director ( musical director, musical director) at MGM Records, 1949/1950 at Columbia ( his successor there was Percy Faith ).

Success in RCA

From 1950 to 1963 he worked for RCA Victor in the same position. He was the greatest arranger at RCA record label, where he was responsible for the sound of the hits of various artists such as Perry Como, Eddie Fisher and The Ames Brothers. From 1949 brought Hugo Winterhalter and his orchestra under his own name ( Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra ) records out. He combined the influence of big bands with his love for light classical music; the result was the lounge or easy listening music. One of his most famous photographs from the early 1950's is a swinging version of George Gershwin's " Rhapsody in Blue" with Byron Janis at the piano.

Hits as a producer and bandleader

In the 1950s, he was in the U.S. a number of hits ( " Blue Tango ", " Vanessa ", " The Little Shoemaker ", " Song of the Barefoot Contessa "). As a producer he reached in 1953 with Eddie Fisher " Outside of Heaven" and " I'm Walking Behind You " twice the number-one position on the British charts, and " I'm Walking Behind You " and " Oh, My Papa ( Oh, my dad) " the U.S. singles chart. In the U.S., he brought as a producer in 1954 and the Ames Brothers with " The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane " at number one.

In 1956 he was registered in the UK even in the list of number-one performer - if only as an orchestra accompanying the singer Kay Starr on their hit song " Rock and Roll Waltz". The song was also a number one in the U.S., there he was, however, only Kay Starr attributed, although it was the same recording with the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra. Also In 1956 Winterhalter's "Canadian Sunset " (with its composer Eddie Heywood on piano ) in the U.S., a million-seller and number - two hit. In Germany this was Winterhalter single chart success, the title reached No. 17 in 1956

The last years

In 1963 he moved to Kapp Records. In the same year he wrote the theme song for the film " King of Hawaii" ( original title: " Diamond Head "). In the second half of the 1960s he worked on Broadway and in television, before he retired to private life and died in 1973.

For his contribution to American music history Hugo Winterhalter was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.