Jackie Gleason

Jackie Gleason album Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, actor Jackie Gleason enjoyed a secondary music career, lending his name to a series of best-selling "mood music" albums with jazz overtones for Capitol Records. Gleason believed there was a ready market for romantic instrumentals. His goal was to make "musical wallpaper that should never be intrusive, but conducive". He recalled seeing Clark Gable play love scenes in movies; the romance was, in his words, "magnified a thousand percent" by background music. Gleason reasoned, "If Gable needs music, a guy in Brooklyn must be desperate!"

Gleason's first album, Music for Lovers Only, still holds the record for the album longest in the Billboard Top Ten Charts (153 weeks), and his first 10 albums sold over a million copies each. At one point, Gleason held the record for charting the most number-one albums on the Billboard 200 without charting any hits on the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Gleason could not read or write music; he was said to have conceived melodies in his head and described them vocally to assistants who transcribed them into musical notes. These included the well-remembered themes of both The Jackie Gleason Show ("Melancholy Serenade") and The Honeymooners ("You're My Greatest Love"). There has been much debate over the years as to how much credit Gleason should have received for the finished products. Biographer William A. Henry III wrote in his 1992 book, The Great One: The Life and Legend of Jackie Gleason, that beyond the possible conceptualizing of many of the song melodies, Gleason had no direct involvement (such as conducting) in making the recordings. Red Nichols, a jazz great who had fallen on hard times and led one of the group's recordings, was not paid as session-leader. Cornetist and trumpeter Bobby Hackett soloed on several of Gleason's albums and was leader for seven of them. Asked late in life by musician–journalist Harry Currie in Toronto what Gleason really did at the recording sessions, Hackett replied, "He brought the checks".

The composer and arranger George Williams has been cited in various biographies as having served as ghostwriter for the majority of arrangements heard on many of Gleason's albums of the 1950s and 1960s. Williams was not given credit for his work until the early 1960s, albeit only in small print on the backs of album covers.

Nearly all of Gleason's albums have been re-issued on compact disc, with many of these albums having been made available in digital-format.

Some of Gleason's album output includes:
- Aphrodesia (1960, Capitol W-1250 (mono), SW-1250 (stereo))
- Come Saturday Morning (1970, Capitol ST-480)
- Doublin’ in Brass (1968, Capitol W-2880 (mono), SW-2880 (stereo))
- The Gentle Touch (1961, Capitol W-1519 (mono), SW-1519 (stereo))
- How Sweet It Is For Lovers (1966, Capitol W-2582 (mono), SW-2582 (stereo))
- Irving Berlin’s Music for Lovers (1968, Capitol SW-106)
- The Last Dance… for Lovers Only (1964, Capitol W-2144 (mono), SW-2144 (stereo))
- Lazy Lively Love (1960, Capitol W-1439 (mono), SW-1439 (stereo))
- Lonesome Echo (1955, Capitol W-627)
- Love Embers and Flame (1962, Capitol W-1689 (mono), SW-1689 (stereo))
- Lover’s Portfolio (Capitol WBO-1619)
- Lover’s Portfolio, Vol. 1 (1964, Capitol W-1979 (mono), SW-1979 (stereo))
- Lover’s Portfolio, Vol. 2 (1964, Capitol W-1980 (mono), SW-1980 (stereo))
- The More I See You (1967, Pickwick/33 SPC-3150) Pickwick was able to re-release some of Capitol’s back catalog starting in 1966.
- The Most Beautiful Girl in the World (1967, Pickwick/33 SPC-3091)
- Movie Themes – For Lovers Only (1963, Capitol W-1877 (mono), SW-1877 (stereo))
- Music Around the World: For Lovers Only (1966, Capitol W-2471 (mono), SW-2471 (stereo))
- Music For Lovers Only (1953, Capitol W-352)
- Music For the Love Hours (1957, Capitol W-816 (mono), DW-816 (stereo))
- Music, Martinis, and Memories (1954, Capitol W-509)
- Music to Change Her Mind (1956, Capitol W-632)
- Music to Make You Misty (1957, Capitol W-455; re-release of 10” disc from 1953)
- Music to Remember Her (1955, Capitol W-570)
- Night Winds (1956, Capitol W-717)
- The Now Sound… For Today’s Lovers (1969, Capitol SW-2935)
- “Ooooh!” (1957, Capitol W-905 (mono), SW-905 (stereo))
- Opiate D’Amour (1960, Capitol W-1315 (mono), SW-1315 (stereo))
- Rebound (1958, Capitol W-1075 (mono), SW-1075 (stereo))
- Riff Jazz (1958, Capitol W-1020)
- Romantic Jazz (1955, Capitol W-568)
- Romeo and Juliet (1969, Capitol ST-398)
- Shangri-La (1966, Pickwick/33 SPC-3218)
- Silk ‘N Brass (1965, Capitol W-2409 (mono), SW-2409 (stereo))
- Softly (1970, Capitol Creative Products SL-6664)
- A Taste of Brass For Lovers Only (1967, Capitol W-2684 (mono), SW-2684 (stereo))
- That Moment (1959, Capitol W-1147 (mono), SW-1147 (stereo))
- Today’s Romantic Hits: For Lovers Only (1963, Capitol W-1978 (mono), SW-1978 (stereo))
- Today’s Romantic Hits: For Lovers Only, Vol. 2 (1964, Capitol W-2056 (mono), SW-2056 (stereo))
- The Torch With the Blue Flame (1961, Capitol W-961 (mono), SW-961 (stereo))
- Velvet Brass (1957, Capitol W-859 (mono), SW-859 (stereo))

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