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The Happy Beat

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Album Review

With liner notes in the form of a fake market research memo by Ray Conniff on the subject of "why my albums are so popular with all record buying age groups," The Happy Beat proceeds to offer something for everyone, from show tunes to pop standards to rock & roll. The rock aspect is a little muffled since "Blueberry Hill," although associated with Fats Domino, is actually an old chestnut, and the Chordettes' 1961 hit "Never on Sunday" is a classically "pop" soundtrack song. But The Happy Beat is a typical snapshot of rush hour at the Conniff crosswalk, where all styles and nationalities of music merge into one glad, thoroughly assimilated crowd. It might be hard to imagine how such diverse fare as "Volare," "Yellow Rose" (aka "Yellow Rose of Texas"), and Johnny Ray's "Cry" could be blended to such a creamy consistency, but Conniff's distinct sound could accommodate practically anything.


Born: 06 November 1916 in Attleboro, MA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

The man who popularized wordless vocal choruses and light orchestral accompaniment on a mix of popular standards and contemporary hits of the 1960s, Ray Conniff was a trombone player for Bunny Berigan's Orchestra and Bob Crosby's Bobcats before being hired as an arranger by Mitch Miller for Columbia Records in 1954. After he wrote the charts for several sizeable Columbia hits during the mid-'50s, Conniff became a solo artist as well, applying his arranging techniques to instrumental easy listening...
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