Randy Van Horne SingersView in iTunes
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The Randy Van Horne Singers were among the most prolific and respected session vocalists of the space age pop era -- in addition to contributions to classic LPs from exotica maestros like Martin Denny and Esquivel, their buoyant harmonies are immortalized via classic TV themes including The Flintstones and The Jetsons. Founder and arranger Harry Randell Vanhorne, Jr. was born in El Paso, TX on February 10, 1924 -- after serving in World War II, he studied music at Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory of Music, followed by a stint at Texas Western University. According to the spaceagepop.com website, Van Horne relocated to Hollywood in 1949, soon after forming his first vocal group, the Encores, and touring in support of bandleader Billy May. The Encores proved short-lived, and while members Bob Morse and Clark Burroughs later reunited in the celebrated close-harmony quartet the Hi-Lo's, Van Horne returned to session work, but by the mid-'50s he put together a new ensemble, dubbed the Randy Van Horne Singers, signing to RCA Victor to cut the LP Swingin' Singin'. In the years to follow the lineup at various times assembled a who's who of session vocal greats, among them Marni Nixon, Thurl Ravenscroft, and Bob Zwirn. Albums like The Clef Dwellers and the MGM release Sing a Song of Goodman are notable both for their light, joyful harmonies and Van Horne's clever, jazz-inspired arrangements. At the peak of their renown, the Van Horne Singers assumed backup duties on sessions headlined by crooners including Dean Martin and Mel Tormé, and were regulars on television's The Nat King Cole Show -- they are nevertheless most admired for their contributions to the space age pop genre, with highlights including Martin Denny's Afro-Desia and Esquivel's Other Worlds Other Sounds. In 1958, composer Hoyt Curtin contracted the Van Horne Singers to perform the title theme to animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera's fledgling The Huckleberry Hound Show -- the group later reunited with Curtin for the Hanna-Barbera series The Flintstones and The Jetsons, two themes immortalized in the collective memory of the baby boomer generation. By the early '70s the Randy Van Horne Singers dissolved, and their leader turned to writing and arranging commercial jingles as well as working as a TV announcer. He also composed a symphony, The Running of the Bulls, and for more than a decade he led the Alumni Association, a Los Angeles-area big band. Van Horne died September 26, 2007 in Woodland Hills, California. ~ Jason Ankeny
'50s, '60s, '70s