This special presentation showcases the music and life of one of America's great Big Bands that started out in 1917, The Vincent Lopez Orchestra. The sound and performances of the Vincent Lopez Orchestra endured folks around the world right through into the 1960's and 70's and beyond and continues today with Vincent Lopez, Jr. who will be joining us. We will get to hear many of the records that made him famous as well as hearing how the band sounds today.
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Vincent Lopez (Dec. 30,1895 – Sept. 20,1975)
Here is a 10 min short of the Vincent Lopez Orchestra with Betty Hutton
Vincent Lopez was born of Portuguese immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York and was leading his own dance band in New York City by 1917. On November 27, 1921 his band began broadcasting on the new medium of entertainment radio; the band's weekly 90-minute show on Newark, NJ station WJZ boosted the popularity of both himself and of radio. He became one of America's most popular bandleaders, and would retain that status through the 1940s.
He began his radio programs by announcing "Lopez speaking!".His theme song was "Nola," Felix Arndt's novelty ragtime piece of 1915, and Lopez became so identified with it that he occasionally satirized it. (His 1939 movie short for Vitaphone, Vincent Lopez and his Orchestra, features the entire band singing "Down with Nola.") Lopez worked occasionally in feature films, notably The Big Broadcast (1932). He was also one of the very first bandleaders to work in Soundies movie musicals, in 1940. He made additional Soundies in 1944.
Lopez's flamboyant style of piano playing influenced such later musicians as Eddy Duchin and Liberace.
In 1941 Lopez's Orchestra began a residency at the Taft Hotel in Manhattan that would last 20 years.
In the early 1950s, Lopez along with Gloria Parker hosted a radio program broadcast from the Taft Hotel called Shake the Maracas in which audience members competed for small prizes by playing maracas with the orchestra.
The Vincent Lopez Orchestra today under the direction of Vincent Lopez, Jr.