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Joe Graydon - Jay's Dad

On this section we will take you on a visit to the wonderful, musical world of Big Bands, guided by our host, Jay's Dad - Joe Graydon. After you have read this, you will agree with me that being born with these genes and growing up in such a musical home - it is no wonder Jay is such a gifted musician.

On this section below we had planned for you to get to know Joe Graydon closer, but fate had other plans for him and on May 19, 2001 he was sadly taken away from this planet after some time of illness.

We will keep this section as a tribute to Joe Graydon and for a short intro you can read Joe's brief bio on the "Wall Of V.I.P.'s" section on Jay's site and listen to Joe Graydon singing his huge hit AGAIN

JAY & JOE GRAYDON: On This Christmas Eve
The lovely Christmas ballad ON THIS CHRISTMAS EVE is a song that Jay Graydon recorded together with his dad Joe Graydon in 1996. This song has been requested by so many people over the years and now we can finally offer it as a digital download at CD BABY.

ENJOY!

From 1948 through some time in the 1960's, my Dad had many local TV shows and radio shows in LA, Las Vegas, and San Diego. I have a Kinescope of one of those shows from 1948 or possibly 1949 and donated it to UCLA Film & Television Archive. After doing some research, I think the show was aired in 1949 since the song AGAIN (my Dad sang that song with the Gordon Jenkins Orchestra in February 1949) is used in the intro and outro of the show (just the instrumental part of the song). My Dad's Christmas song is used so I assume the show was aired near Christmas time. - Jay

The original video had a huge ground hum problem, which Jay fixed, using his expertise in recording and engineering. You can read all about his work with that in the article on this page.

*****

I have started to compile Joe Graydon's discography and would be very grateful for any additional findings you may discover.

You will also enjoy reading Joe's written down memories from Jay's earliest radio days on the Jay Story section.

Joe Graydon had his own TV Show in the 50s - the first music and talk show in the Los Angeles area. The TV show aired live on KLAC Channel 13 and is probably never filmed. During the late 1940s, Joe Graydon served as a conductor for radio station KLAC's house band, which became known as the Joe Graydon Orchestra for both the radio station and KLAC-TV, and he was featured as a singer-bandleader on early TV shows including Al Jarvis/Betty White's daytime variety show.

Joe Graydon was a singer on the highly popular radio show, "Your Hit Parade." He took Frank Sinatra's place as the leading male singer on "Your Hit Parade" with an air of mystery. Referred to only as "Joe" when he debuted on the show in the mid-1940s, the mystery surrounding his identity only increased his popularity.

A successful singing career followed, and he is best known for his definitive version of AGAIN. in collaboration with bandleader Gordon Jenkins, Graydon was one of the most popular singers of the big band era. In 1950 he was offered a job in television as well. "The Joe Graydon Show" was broadcast on Los Angeles and San Diego television stations for much of the first half of the 1950s.

In the last 20+ years Joe Graydon's corporation, JOMAR Productions, Inc., became THE largest producer of Big Band events in the entire entertainment industry. Many of Joe's concert attractions were coast to coast tours ranging up to three months duration. He not only produced these shows but also wrote and directed them. His tours were sold out through 1998 and 1999 offered even more. Here below Joe is sharing with us some highlights of his life and musical career in a letter from 1999.

*****

JOE GRAYDON:
1999 was supposed to be my year of beginning retirement but I entertained that thought with great misgivings. Many opportunities have surfaced and as one of my very old friends said, "It is hard to walk away from the table when the dice keep rolling sevens". I have never been a gambler but the thought has substance.


I am now packaging another Big Band show. This one will be called BIG BAND/COMMAND PERFORMANCE and will star the music of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. I will use a band which I put together a few years back---THE BIG BAND ALUMNI ORCHESTRA---so named because it is comprised of men who actually played with the great bands named above and men who helped shape and form the music of the Big Band era.

The concert is approximately two hours in duration and I use four conductors, each for about 30 minutes. Within each segment we are able to pack the biggest hits of each orchestra so that the entire concert is a series of "blockbuster" hits.

In order to accomplish this I use four different conductors who are particularly adept at handling their 30 minute segment. They are--------

  • ABE MOST, doing the Benny Goodman segment. Abe played the sound tracks for all of the Benny Goodman sides which were released on the famous Time/Life recordings.

  • FRED RADKE, played 1st trumpet with Harry James when he was 18. He is a great trumpeter and Harry was always his idol. Fred is also a professor of music at one of Seattle's universities.

  • MARK TEEL, a trombone virtuoso from San Francisco who is also a fine emcee and authority on Tommy Dorsey's style of playing.

  • REX ALLEN, another trombonist from San Francisco. Rex is best known from having played with the "World's greatest Jazz Band", is an outstanding emcee and perfect for the Glenn Miller role. TRUE CONFESSION TIME. Other than when we are on tour, that is to say when we are doing one nighters in the greater Los Angeles area, I conduct this segment of the show.

  • BERYL DAVIS, who looks amazingly beautiful, actually sang with the Glenn Miller Air Force band during World War II and we also use her in the Glenn Miller segment. She does a very touching thing about her last night with the band before Glenn Miller's ill fated flight. She, literally, has herself and the audience in tears.

We then ask all of the members of our audience, (usually at least half of the house) who served in any capacity during the war to stand and be recognized. Everyone on stage then gives those attendees a rousing ovation. We follow this with what I call the National Anthem for the Big Band Era, "IN THE MOOD". That usually nets us a very lengthy standing ovation which can only be quelled by an announcement of appreciation followed by a curtain.


You would think this would be more than enough for one man... but... there is more.... much more... listen to this...


I'm also putting name attractions into Indian Casinos, especially in the desert area where we have our second home, i.e., Palm Desert, California. Lately we have played Jerry Vale, (twice) Buddy Greco, Kay Starr and the Four Freshmen are next.

And, finally, other than doing a lot of one nighters, we are putting all of the star attractions into another Performing Art center in Whittier, California, just about a short hour from downtown L.A.

There is a lot of pressure on me to write a book, especially from Steve Allen, who has written a few. Mine would be a biography about my experiences in the F.B.I, where I served as a Special Agent under J. Edgar Hoover for 6 years, combined with a plethora of "showbiz" stories.


Since you so kindly ask for more information on my activities, I will tell you that I am deeply involved in producing shows for the years 2000, and 2001. One of them I am calling "BIG BAND COMMAND PERFORMANCE". This is where I use my Big Band Alumni Orchestra---made up of men who played with many of the famous big bands and I augment them by using four different conductors. We play only the biggest hits of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Harry James and Tommy Dorsey and what we are really offering is a "smorgasbord" of the biggest hits of that famous era. We always get a standing ovation and sometimes from people who can hardly stand..

Another show is dedicated solely to the music of Cole Porter. I used a band and four singers and I write, produce and direct it. We toured it very successfully, for four months, nine years ago and it's time to do it again.

We plan to repeat another show which I toured before, "4 Girls 4", starring, of course, four girl singers of considerable fame and a big band. I will probably use Kay Starr, Gloria DeHaven, Fran Warren and Beryl Davis, who sang with Glenn Miller's Air Force band or Nanette Fabray.

I'm trying to create a new show called "Funny Ladies" but anticipate difficulty in casting it since I need some pretty big names.

Finally, I work with a company which produces Broadway Shows in a most outstanding manner and I hope to get them sold on a tour.


Now, is this a busy music man or what?! You may wonder how it all started. Well, ladies and gentlemen, in Joe's own words, here goes...


I was born in Washington, D.C. on the site which is now the Supreme Court of the United States. So, I can actually walk into that building and say, "Somewhere under this floor is the exact spot where I was born. No big deal but I had to start somewhere.

I started singing and leading a dance band when I was in high school, in D.C.and continued doing that, in fact, worked my way through college, Catholic University Of America Law School, by pursuing the musical thing. Upon graduating from law school, I immediately joined the F.B.I. under J.Edgar Hoover and worked as a Special Agent for six years. Of course, I did all the things that FBI agents do---counter espionage, criminal cases, et. al.

After six years I was very anxious to get back into music. Luckily, the ad agency which handled the American Tobacco Company's shows heard one of my demos and I was immediately hired to sing on the Lucky Strike "Your Hit Parade", before my resignation from the Bureau had become final. I was co-starred with Johnny Mercer and that lasted for about six months.

I decided to give Hollywood a try and---this is hard to believe---my first day of making the rounds with a brand new agent I was offered contracts by both Paramount and Warner Brothers motion picture studios. I signed with Warner Bros. and worked, briefly in two pictures. Warner's told me to forget about singing because they had Gordon MacRae. I couldn't handle that and I had received an offer from Decca Records. I left Warner Bros. and recorded my first song, AGAIN (190 K .au file) with Gordon Jenkins Orchestra. It jumped to #1 on all of the charts and stayed there for many weeks. I also recorded with Victor Young and did at least a dozen sides with no name backing.

Television was happening and I got my own "Joe Graydon Show" on Channel 13, in L.A. which had me on for five days a week, two hours a day and one half hour evening show in prime time. After a few years I moved to Channel 7, (ABC) and did five days a week and a another prime time show for a year.

Suddenly I found myself in the night club business, operating the Joe Graydon Supper Club, in Long Beach, California. I opened with the Bobby Troup Trio and segued to Big Band singing stars like Helen Forrest, The Pied Pipers, et.al. One year of this and I was ready for something new.

Las Vegas beckoned and I spent 2 years there, singing in the lounges and doing TV and radio (I had been a disc jockey in Washington,D.C., and Los Angeles. -----Here I have to insert that I was on a 50,000 watt station in L.A. and I had my own private engineer who controlled four turntables and a large tape machine. He was an 11 year old electronic genius and his name was Jay Graydon. He'll tell you that this was one of the most exciting things in his entire life.

Rock and roll hit the scene and I viewed it as a major "tidal wave" and no place for my type of singing. I had long harbored an ambition to become a personal manager, feeling that my legal background would be of great help in that field. It wasn't long before I began to pick up clients from the Big Band era. Helen Forrest was my first and she is still one of my dearest friends, though she is not singing anymore. I also represented Connie Haines, Dick Haymes, Johnny Desmond, The Pied Pipers, The Modernaires, Ray Eberle and other stars of that time frame.

I did this for 20 years and then decided to try my hand at producing shows, using people whom I represented. My first show, "The Fabulous Forties" starred Dick Haymes, Helen Forrest, The Pied Pipers and an 18 piece band. Twenty years later I am still producing such shows and our corporation, JOMAR Productions, Inc., has become the largest producer of Big Band events on this planet.

All of these shows became cross country tours which lasted for three months of one nighters. Sandwiched between them I produced tours with Steve Allen, Mel Tormé, Vic Damone, Gordon MacRae, and many others beside writing, producing and directing a 4 month tour devoted solely to the music of Cole Porter. That worked so well that we repeated the formula and did a six month tour of nothing but Irving Berlin music.


*****


Joe Graydon's recordings may be a bit hard to find these days, but could be available at online record stores like gemm.com from time to time. Here below are a few of the releases he has performed on.

(7 inch vinyls)

Graydon. Joe - On This Christmas Eve - Coral - 60115 - 1949
TRACKS:
On this Christmas Eve
You're All I Want

Graydon, Joe - Somewhere Somehow - Coral - 60311 - 1950
TRACKS:
I've Never Been In Love Before
Somewhere, Somehow

Graydon, Joe - How Long Must I Long For You - Coral - 60102 - 1949
TRACKS:
How Long Must I Long For You
You're The Only Gal In My Life

Graydon, Joe - Again - Hamilton - 45-50027 - 1949
TRACKS:
Again
It Happened To Me

Graydon, Joe - If I Had A Magic Carpet - Coral - 60265 - Year?
TRACKS:
If I Had A Magic Carpet
Our Very Own

Here is a compilation album by the Gordon Jenkins Orchestra - released in 2006, featuring for instance Joe Graydon singing Again on CD 2 track 3.

    Released: November 10, 2006
Number of Discs: 2
Label: Jasmine Music

TRACKS:
Disc: 1

1. Manhattan Tower-A Musical Narrative: Magical City/The Party/New York's
2. You Have Taken My Heart
3. Blue Prelude
4. When a Woman Loves a Man
5. With You So Far Away
6. Homesick, That's All
7. P.S. I Love You
8. Blue Evening
9. Goodbye
10. Alone Again
11. Marietta's Waltz
12. Lady and the Cellist
13. Mood at Midnight
14. California: A Musical Narrative
    Disc: 2

1. Maybe You'll Be There
2. I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Any More
3. Again
4. Don't Cry Joe (Let Her Go, Let Her Go, Let Her Go)
5. My Foolish Heart
6. Bewitched
7. First Dream: The Professor - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
8. Second Dream: The Conductor - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
9. Third Dream: The Caretaker - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
10. Fourth Dream: The Cocktail Party - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
11. Fifth Dream: The Pink Houseboat - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
12. Sixth Dream: The Nightmare - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
13. Seventh Dream: The Girl on the Rock - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee


Another album with Joe Graydon singing AGAIN

    Released: 1997
Label: BMG/RAZOR & TIE
Catalog number: 7999 82143 2

TRACKS:

1. Part- I Magical City
2. Part- II The Party
3. Part- III New York's My Home
4. Part- IV Love In A Tower
5. Married I Can Always Get
6. Maybe You'll Be There
7. Goodnight Irene
8. For You, For Me, For Evermore
9. I Don't See Me In Your Eyes Any More
   

10. You're Mine, You
11. Again
12. I Can Dream, Can't I
13. Tzena, Tzena, Tzena
14. Don't Cry Joe (Let Her Go, Let Her Go, Let Her Go)
15. God Bless The Child
16. My Foolish Heart
17. Bewitched
18. So Long (It 's Been Good To Know Yuh)
19. It's All In The Game
20. I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
21. The Nightmare- Episode 6 Of The Seventh Dream

Joe Graydon also sings MY FOOLISH HEART with Gordon Jenkins on the compilation album HITS OF 1950, "MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC!" 20 Original Recordings, Transfers by David Lennick and Graham Newton, NAXOS NOSTALGIA 8.120637 [57.21]

Here is a review of Joe Graydon's performance...

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Next comes a soft and slow introduction from Gordon Jenkins and his orchestra leading in Joe Graydon in singing "My Foolish Heart" recorded in November 1949 in Los Angeles. It’s a short song but what you hear is gentle and silvery from both the orchestra and Joe Graydon, who has a voice that is soothing and mellow without being too cloying.


All written material, all images and photos in all sections of this website copyright © Jay Graydon/KEO 1996 - 2017. All rights reserved. Comments, suggestions, appreciation, corrections... whatever... talk to us.

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