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    Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians - The Cannon Ball

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    Gaetano Alberto "Guy" Lombardo (1902-1977) was a Canadian-American bandleader and violinist. Forming The Royal Canadians in 1924 with his brothers Carmen, Lebert, and Victor and other musicians from his hometown, Lombardo led the group to international success, billing themselves as creating "The Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven". The Lombardos are believed to have sold between 100 and 300 million phonograph records during their lifetimes. Lombardo and his brothers formed their first orchestra while still in grammar school and rehearsed in the back of their father's tailor shop. Lombardo first performed in public with his brother Carmen at a church lawn party in London in 1914. His first recording session took place where trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke made his legendary recordings at the Gennett Studio, both during early 1924. Subsequently, they recorded two sessions for Brunswick (a rejected session in Cleveland in late 1926 and an issued session for Vocalion in early 1927). The band then signed to Columbia and recorded prolifically between 1927 and 1931. In early 1932, they signed to Brunswick and continued their success through 1934 when they signed to Decca (1934–1935). They then signed to Victor in later 1935 and stayed until mid 1938 when again they signed to Decca. Although Lombardo's "sweet" big-band music was not appreciated by some in the jazz and big-band community of the day Louis Armstrong famously enjoyed Lombardo's music. Guy Lombardo is best known for almost a half-century of New Year's Eve big band remotes, first on radio, and then on television. Lombardo's orchestra played at the Roosevelt Grill in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City from 1929 to 1959, and their New Year's Eve performances (which continued with Lombardo until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria). Broadcasts (and later telecasts) of their performances were a major part of New Year's celebrations across North America. The band's first New Year's Eve radio broadcast was in 1928. On December 31, 1956, the Lombardo band did their first New Year's TV special on CBS; the program (and Lombardo's 20 subsequent New Year's Eve TV shows) would include a live segment from Times Square. By the middle 1970's, the Lombardo TV show was facing competition, especially for younger viewers, but Lombardo remained popular among viewers, especially older ones. Even after Lombardo's death, the band's New Year's specials continued for two more years on CBS. The Royal Canadians were noted for playing the traditional song Auld Lang Syne as part of the celebrations. Their recording of the song still plays as the first song of the new year in Times Square. Despite Lombardo's signature "sweet band" style, this is an amazingly hot performance, recorded in 1928. The scat solo remained uncredited.