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Richard Hayman & The Philharmonic Rock Orchestra

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Biography

b. 27 March 1920, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, d. 5 February 2014, New York, New York, USA. As a young man, Hayman taught himself to play the harmonica and accordion, and performed in local bands before moving to the west coast. In the late '30s as a player and an arranger he worked for three years with Borrah Minevitch’s Harmonica Rascals, and later played with Leo Diamond. He also appeared in vaudeville, and had several ‘bit’ parts in movies. In the early '40s he arranged background music for films such as Girl Crazy (1943), Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) and State Fair (1945). In the late '40s he was arranger for Vaughan Monroe for a long spell, and in the early 50s was musical director and arranger for Bobby Wayne, providing the accompaniment on Wayne hits such as, ‘Let Me In’ and ‘Oh Mis’rable Lover’. In 1953 he started recording for Mercury Records with his own orchestra, featuring his own harmonica solos, and others by Jerry Murad, leader of the Harmonicats. His hits included ‘Ruby’ (from the film, Ruby Gentry), ‘April in Portugal’, ‘Limelight (Terry’s Theme)’, ‘Eyes of Blue’ (theme from the film, Shane), ‘The Story of Three Loves’ (the film title theme), ‘Off Shore’ and ‘Sadie Thompson’s Song’ (from the Rita Hayworth movie, Miss Sadie Thompson). His last chart entry, in 1956, was ‘A Theme from the Threepenny Opera (Moritat)’, featuring pianist Jan August. He also made some recordings under the name of Dick Hayman and the Harmonica Sparklers. He composed several numbers such as ‘Dansero’, ‘No Strings Attached’, ‘Serenade to a Lost Love’, ‘Carriage Trade’, ‘Skipping Along’ and ‘Valse d’Amour’. For over 30 years Hayman was arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra and pops conductor for the St. Louis Symphony. In the new millennium he worked as a conductor for various orchestras including the Grand Rapids Symphony. In 2010, he made a final appearance with the St. Louis Symphony, at a celebration of his 90th birthday. Hayman died in a Manhattan nursing home on 5 February 2014 at the age of 93.