“Buddy can make anything swing – nobody comes close in that department” Frank Sinatra
“Buddy Greco’s world is a very swinging world” Sammy Davis Jr
“Buddy is always a perfectionist, always a great musician, always contemporary.”Jimmy Webb
Since the release of his first single in 1946, legendary singer and pianist Buddy Greco has experienced a truly incredible career that has seen him forge one of the longest recording histories of any living artist, encompassing international touring, millions of record sales and countless appearances on radio, television and in films. He has performed at some of the most prestigious venues around the world with some of the most famous artists and bands of all time including Dizzy Gillespie, Cole Porter, The Beatles, Dusty Springfield, Marilyn Monroe and his close friends Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
Born in South Philadelphia in 1926, Greco started playing piano at the age of 4 and by the age of 12 was a professional musician, earning money by performing in bars and clubs. He got his break when aged 20 he signed to the Music Craft record label (home to the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Tormé) and soon thereafter had his first hit with Oh Look-A-There Ain’t She Pretty, which sold over a million copies. As his profile increased he began to gain attention from some of the leading musicians of the time and in the late ’40s Greco spent two years on the road as pianist, arranger and vocalist for the revered band leader Benny Goodman.
Releases on numerous labels including Capitol and Columbia followed and as his popularity soared Greco was soon widely regarded as one of the preeminent performers, arrangers and composers of his generation. In 1963, he topped a Royal Command Performance performing for The Queen on the same bill as The Beatles, Marlene Dietrich, Max Bygraves, Tommy Steele and Harry Secombe.
Throughout the ’60s Greco was regularly invited to perform long stints in Las Vegas with his 18-piece band and it was during this period that he became acquainted with some of the most famous personalities of the time and where he would record one of the best “live” albums at The Sands Hotel, “Live at The Sands.”
While recording for Columbia records Greco scored a hit in 1960 with a unique version of The Lady Is A Tramp, which came to be a signature tune of his. This was a successful recording period for Greco and other hits during this time included Around The World, Girl Talk, MacArthur Park and I Ran All The Way Home. He signed for Frank Sinatra’s label Reprise in 1965 for which he recorded three albums including the popular Big Band & Ballads, which was released to widespread critical acclaim in 1966.
Greco continued to tour and record in the years that followed, tailoring his style to suit the constantly changing shape of the industry. He recorded a number of jazz/pop albums including Hot Nights for Applause Records (home to Steve Lawrence, Sammy Davis Jr, Eydie Gorme) before returning to what he loves best – playing popular standards from the Great American Songbook. From The Wrists Down which was recorded with the 60-piece London Symphony Orchestra and demonstrates Greco’s ability to arrange for large ensembles, 1990’s Buddy Greco and his Jazz Friends which featured Grover Washington Jr, Ernie Watts, Jack Sheldon and Toots Thielemans, and Fever a double album featuring the accomplished vocalist Lezlie Anders which celebrates the music of Peggy Lee, all received high praise on release.
Having recently turned 86, Greco continues to record and perform prolifically and has achieved renewed popularity with generations of listeners who hadn’t been born when he first appeared. A true legend from the golden era of entertainment, he will go down in history as one of the great performers of the 20th century.