Guy Lombardo

(Gaetano Albert Lombardo)
band leader, impressario, speed boat racer
Born: 6/19/1902
Birthplace: London, Ontario, Canada

Popular band leader who added the phrase “the sweetest music this side of heaven” to the common vernacular. Known for his traditional New Year's Eve musical program, which ran from 1929 through 1976. One of seven children of a musically minded tailor, Lombardo and his brothers began playing gigs while still in school. In 1934, Lombardo signed with Decca Records, an association that would last more than twenty years and sell over 100 million records. The band traveled at least 60,000 miles a year for engagements at colleges and small towns. In addition to his music, Lombardo was an avid speed-boat racer and was the national champion 1946–49.

Died: 11/5/1977
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