May 24, 2014
And the number one instrumental single of the rock and roll era is – drum roll please – “Theme From A Summer Place” by Percy Faith.
Percy Faith was one of the originators of the easy listening sound. He took big band music and substituted strings for the brass. It was not rock and roll but he sold a lot of albums during his career. Oddly the song he is remembered for is a single.
It was the theme song for the movie, A SUMMER PLACE starring Dorothy McGuire, Richard Egan, and teen heart throbs Sandra Dee and Troy Donohue. While the movie has faded into obscurity, the song remains very recognizable.
“Theme From A Summer Place” was released in September of 1959 but it was not until January 11, 1960 that it finally reached the BILLBOARD Hot 100. Six week later it was number one beginning a nine week run as the number one song in the United States. It remains one of the defining songs of the pre-Beatles rock and roll era.
June 30, 2012
If anyone can take credit for inventing the Easy Listening sound, it is probably Percy Faith (1908-1976). He used a big band foundation but substituted the brass section with lush strings.
The Song From Moulin Rouge was taken from the movie of the same name and topped all three BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Single Charts.
Best Sellers In Stores Chart – 5/16/53 – 10 weeks at #1.
Most Played By Disc Jockeys Chart – 5/16/53 – 8 weeks at #1.
Most Played In Jukeboxes Chart – 5/23/53 – 6 weeks at number one.
It was the number one song of 1953 which leads to a trivia question and answer. Percy Faith and Elvis Presley are the only artists to have the number one song of the year two times. Pretty good company for the old easy listening artist.
May 20, 2012
Percy Faith, 1908-1976, may not have invented easy listening music but he was there at the beginning. He came out of the big band era but substituted strings as the lead instruments instead of the brass, which gave it a very different sound. He sold tens-of-millions of albums in the 1950s and 1960s, right in the middle of the rock ‘n’ roll era.
During 1952, BILLBOARD MAGAZINE had three different pop charts. “Delicado” by Percy Faith managed to top the “Best Sellers In Stores Chart for one week. It may not have been a big number one hit but it reached number one nonetheless.
It was only a warm-up for Faith as he hadn’t really perfected his sound. When he did, he would produce two of the biggest selling and highest charting instrumental singles in American music history.
February 27, 2012
“Theme From A Summer Place” will always be associated with Percy Faith. His version spent nine weeks at number one during 1960.
The Ventures released their single during 1969. Their’s was guitar based rather than having the lush strings. Unfortunately it would stall at number 83 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart and was the band’s last chart single.
All ended well for The Ventures as they are now safely enshrined in the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME.
April 30, 2010
Percy Faith practically invented easy listening music when in the early fifties he substituted strings for the brass of the big band sound of the forties. Hired as an arranger and orchestra leader for the Columbia label he backed such artists as Tony Bennett, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis and many more on too many albums to count.
In his own right he would release about eighty albums from the early fifties until his death in 1976.
The highlight of his career would happen in 1960 when he released the single “Theme From A Summer Place” which was taken from the movie of the same name starring Troy Donohue and Sandra Dee.
It would top The American singles charts for nine weeks during early 1960 and would be the second ranked single of the whole decade only trailing “Hey Jude” by The Beatles.
The “Theme From A Summer Place” has been used countless times as back ground music and remains the lasting testament to Percy Faith’s long career.