Percy Faith

Percy Faith album Percy Faith was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, the oldest of eight children. His parents, Abraham Faith and Minnie, née Rottenberg, were Jewish. He played violin and piano as a child, and played in theatres and at Massey Hall. After his hands were badly burned in a fire, he turned to conducting, and his live orchestras used the new medium of radio broadcasting.

Beginning with defunct stations CKNC and CKCL, Faith was a staple of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's live-music broadcasting from 1933 to 1940, when he resettled in Chicago. In the early 1940s, Faith was orchestra leader for the Carnation Contented program on NBC. From 1948-1949 he also served as the orchestra leader on the CBS radio network program The Coca-Cola Hour. The orchestral accordionist John Serry Sr. collaborated with Faith in these broadcasts.

In 1945, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He made many recordings for Voice of America. After working briefly for Decca Records, he worked for Mitch Miller at Columbia Records, where he turned out dozens of albums and provided arrangements for many of the pop singers of the 1950s, including Tony Bennett, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis for Mathis's 1958 Christmas album Merry Christmas, and Guy Mitchell for whom Faith wrote Mitchell's number-one single, "My Heart Cries for You".

His most famous and remembered recordings are "Delicado" (1952), "The Song from Moulin Rouge" (1953) and "Theme from A Summer Place" (1960), which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1961. Faith remains the only artist to have the best selling single of the year during both the pop singer era ("Song from Moulin Rouge") and the rock era ("Theme from a Summer Place"); and he is one of only three artists, along with Elvis Presley and The Beatles, to have the best selling single of the year twice. The B-side of "Song from the Moulin Rouge" was "Swedish Rhapsody" by Hugo Alfvén. In 1961 his fame in Sweden would rise exponentially as his work Mucho Gusto would become the theme music for the sports broadcasts of Sveriges Radio.

Though Faith initially mined the worlds of Broadway, Hollywood and Latin music for many of his top-selling 1950s recordings, he enjoyed popularity starting in 1962 with his orchestral versions of popular rock and pop hits of the day. His Themes for Young Lovers album was a top seller during this era and introduced the Faith sound to a younger generation of listeners. With the success of Columbia record-mate Ray Conniff's chorus and orchestra during this same time, Faith began using a chorus (usually all female in most of his recordings, but used a mixed chorus on his albums Leaving on a Jet Plane and I Think I Love You, 1970 and 1971) in several popular albums from the mid-1960s on. Faith's first single with a female chorus, "Yellow Days," was a substantial hit in the MOR easy listening radio format of the mid-1960s. Faith continued to enjoy airplay and consistent album sales throughout the early 1970s, and received a second Grammy award in 1969 for his album Love Theme from 'Romeo and Juliet'.

Though best known for his recording career, Faith also occasionally scored motion pictures, and received an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of the song score for the Doris Day musical feature, Love Me or Leave Me. His other film scores included romantic comedies and dramatic features such as Tammy Tell Me True (1961), I'd Rather Be Rich (1964), The Third Day (1965) and The Oscar (1966). Faith also composed the popular theme for the long running NBC series The Virginian.

With the advent of harder rock sounds in the 1970s, Faith's elegant arrangements fell out of favour with the listening and record-buying public, although he continued to release albums as diverse and contemporary as Jesus Christ Superstar and Black Magic Woman. He released one album of country music and two albums of disco-oriented arrangements toward the end of his forty-year career, his very last recording being a disco-style reworking of "Theme from a Summer Place", titled "Summer Place '76", which was a minor and posthumous hit. Faith died of cancer in Encino, California, and was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Some of Percy Faith's albums include:
- Adventure in the Sun (1957, Columbia CL 1010)
- American Serenade (1963, Columbia CL 1957 (mono), CS 8757 (stereo))
- Amour, Amor, Amore (1956, Columbia CL 643)
- Angel of the Morning (1968 Columbia CS 9706)
- Bim! Bam!! Boom!!! (1966, Columbia CL 2529 (mono), CS 9329 (stereo))
- Bon Voyage! Continental Souvenirs (1960, Columbia CL 1417 (mono), CS 8214 (stereo))
- Delicado (1955, Columbia CL 681)
- Exotic Strings (1962, Columbia CL 1902 (mono), CS 8702 (stereo))
- For Those In Love (1968, Columbia CS 9610)
- Great Folk Themes (1964, Columbia CL 2108 (mono), CS 8908 (stereo))
- Held Over! Today’s Great Movie Themes (1970, Columbia CS 1019)
- Hollywood’s Great Themes (1962, Columbia CL 1783 (mono), CS 8583 (stereo))
- I Concentrate On You (1968, Columbia Musical Treasuries DS 390)
- I’ll Take Romance (1969, Harmony HS 11292)
- It’s So Peaceful in the Country (1956, Columbia CL 779) (with Mitch Miller)
- Jealousy (1960, Columbia CL 1501 (mono), CS 8292 (stereo))
- Kismet (1954, Columbia CL 550 (mono), CS 8642 (stereo))
- Latin Themes for Young Lovers (1965, Columbia CL 2279 (mono), CS 9079 (stereo))
- Leaving on a Jet Plane (1970, Columbia CS 9983)
- Li’l Abner (1956, Columbia CL 955)
- Love Goddesses (1963, Columbia CL 2209 (mono), CS 9009 (stereo))
- Love Theme from “Romeo and Juliet” (1969, Columbia CS 9906)
- Malaguena: Music of Cuba (1958, Columbia CL 1267 (mono), CS 8081 (stereo))
- More Themes for Young Lovers (1964, Columbia CL 2167 (mono), CS 8967 (stereo))
- Movie Date (1967, Columbia Record Club D 318 (mono), DS 318 (stereo))
- Mucho Gusto! More Music of Mexico (1961, Columbia CL 1639 (mono), CS 8439 (stereo))
- Music For Her (1956, Columbia CL 705)
- Music From Hollywood (1954, Columbia CL 577)
- Music from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music (1960, Columbia CL 1418 (mono), CS 8215 (stereo))
- The Music of Brazil! (1962, Columbia CL 1822 (mono), CS 8622 (stereo))
- Music Until Midnight (1954, Columbia CL 551) (with Mitch Miller)
- My Fair Lady (1956, Columbia CL 895)
- North and South of the Border (1958, Vocalion VL 3600)
- The Oscar (1966, Columbia Masterworks OL 6550 (mono), OS 2950 (stereo)). Soundtrack.
- Passport to Romance (1956, Columbia CL 880)
- Percy Faith Plays Continental Music (1953, Columbia CL 525)
- Percy Faith Plays Music from the Broadway Production of House of Flowers (1956, Columbia CL 640)
- Percy Faith Plays the Academy Award Winner Born Free and Other Great Movie Themes (1967, Columbia CS 9450)
- Percy Faith Plays Romantic Music (1953, Columbia CL 526)
- Porgy and Bess (1959, Columbia CL 1298 (mono), CS 8105 (stereo))
- Shangri-La! (1963, Columbia CL 2024 (mono), CS 8824 (stereo))
- Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head (1970, Harmony KH 30977)
- Soft Lights and Sweet Music (1954, RCA Victor LPM 1010)
- The Sounds of Music (1969, Harmony HS 11348; Columbia Special Projects P 13405)
- South Pacific (1958, Columbia CL 1105 (mono), CS 8005 (stereo); re-released as P 13559)
- Subways are For Sleeping (1961, Columbia CL 1733 (mono), CS 8533 (stereo))
- A Summer Place (1971, Harmony KH 30607)
- Tara’s Theme from Gone With the Wind (1961, Columbia CL 1627 (mono), CS 8427 (stereo))
- Temptation (1963, Hurrah H-1059 (mono), HS-1059 (stereo)) (with Russ Case)
- Themes for the ‘In’ Crowd (1965, Columbia CL 2441 (mono), CS 9241 (stereo))
- Themes For Young Lovers (1963, Columbia CL 2023 (mono), CS 8823 (stereo))
- Viva! The Music of Mexico (1957, Columbia CL 1075 (mono), CS 8038 (stereo))
- Windmills of Your Mind (1970, Columbia CS 9835)
- Younger Than Springtime (1970, Harmony H 30020)

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