Dinner Hour - Percy Faith

Percy Faith (1908-1976)

One of the early pioneers of this major musical development was Percy Faith.
Born in Toronto, Canada on April 7, 1908, Faith was a creative arranger, conductor, and composer whose great talent remains in demand to this day. An avid smoker, he died in Los Angeles from cancer on February 9, 1976. He was 67 years old.

From the beginning, Faith’s art form was creating modern music for radio.

“In all my arrangements I write with a background of symphonic form, and I need enough diversified strings to complement it. … Of all the instruments, the piano is most helpful, because one learns to think in terms of full chords, and from the piano one begins to get the feeling of the orchestra. … (I) work out (my) harmonic combinations at the piano, and then transfer these ideas to an orchestration, which should sound original.” Percy Faith (An interview reported in Etude magazine, 1946).

“Faith’s influence on music in the twentieth century was so far-reaching, so wide-wide-ranging, that it is still heard in the twenty-first. Yet, it is possible that if you are under fifty years old, that you have never heard of him. Among other things, Faith has been credited as the inventor of, or certainly the person who best perfected a genre: ‘Beautiful Music,’ now almost extinct, but which once was the mainstay of FM radio.” Alfred Holden

At the age of 14, Faith began his classical training at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (later renamed the Royal Conservatory) where he learned to play all of Bach’s preludes and fugues on the piano and orchestrate them for string quartet, brass quartet and Beethoven. He was advised at the conservatory to learn that foundation well; so it becomes a part of you and, only afterward, forget it and go on. Faith was 26 when he began developing his smooth orchestral sound that could be applied to almost any melody, from Baroque to the Beatles. Over the years, he perfected his approach to arranging music which was an incredibly complicated process creating seamlessly separate parts for each of the thirty or so instrumental components of the orchestra.

Originally a rising star in Canada from 1933 to 1940, Faith arranged and conducted music for the CBC radio program ‘Music By Faith,’ he came to America in 1940 to become conductor of the popular NBC Carnation Contented Hour in Chicago. In 1950, Faith moved to Columbia Records as Director of Columbia’s popular division where he served until his untimely death.

Faith’s orchestral arrangements could not be dismissed as merely ‘elevator’ versions of the original songs but ‘tasteful treatments which highlighted the quality of the song writing which made them hits.’  His arranging style was based on an adroit and effective blending of string and woodwind voicing accompanied, at times, with a strong brass flavor. Faith’s orchestra was among the few big easy listening ensembles that managed to swing effectively. He contributed his talents in helping vocalists like Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Doris Day, Felicia Sanders, Burl Ives, and Guy Mitchell to succeed and prosper as recording artists.

Faith composed and arranged themes for motion pictures like Love Me or Leave Me, Tammy Tell Me True, The Love Goddesses, and The Oscar as well as creating many songs and instrumental pieces.

“Percy Faith remains the only artist to have the best-selling single of the year during both the pop singer era Song from Moulin Rouge (1953) and the rock era Theme from a Summer Place (1960); and he is only one of three artists, along with Elvis Presley and The Beatles, to have the best-selling single of the year twice.” Wikipedia Encyclopedia

Great American Songbook

Percy Faith & His Orchestra

Musical Selection Album Timing
1. Dancing in the Dark 50 of the Most Beautiful … 2:24
2. Deep Purple Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 3:56
3. A Kiss in the Dark 50 of the Most Beautiful … 3:30
4. Fascination Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 2:45
5. Arrivederci, Roma 50 of the Most Beautiful … 3:00
6. Bouquet Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 3:19
7. I Only Have Eyes for You 50 of the Most Beautiful … 4:38
8. Solitude Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 4:14
9. Moonlight in Vermont 50 of the Most Beautiful … 3:36
10. Laura Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 4:00
11. The Way You Look Tonight 50 of the Most Beautiful … 4:05
12. Tenderly Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 3:42
13. Intermezzo Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 3:06
14. Blue Moon Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 4:01
15. Soft Lights & Sweet Music Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 4:02
16. Easy to Love Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 3:35
17. If I Loved You Bouquet / Bouquet of Love 3:23

Percy Faith: 50 of the Most Beautiful Songs of the Century
Sony A-28757

Percy Faith: Bouquet / Bouquet of Love
Sony A-34904