60s Oldies Music

The Life and Music of Archie Bleyer

Introduction to Archie Bleyer

Archie Bleyer
Archie Bleyer (far right) in Amsterdam (1959), together with The Everly Brothers, The Chordettes & Andy Williams. (Source: Wikipedia)

Successful American bandleader, song arranger and record company executive Archie Bleyer (June 12, 1909- March 20, 1989, Queens, New York) started to play when he was a child. During college days, he switched his electrical engineering course to music. He started writing ‘hot’ novelty songs in the early 1930’s and later formed his own orchestra in 1934. In 1946, Bleyer worked for Arthur Godfrey as a musical director on his radio and TV programs. Years later, he founded his own label Cadence Records where he handled many artists who included The Everly Brothers, Andy Williams and The Beach Boys. He achieved his own hit singles “Hernando’s Hideaway” and “The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane” in 1954, adding up to the list of the oldies music gems. Bleyer died of Parkison’s disease in 1989

 

Early years of Archie Bleyer

Bandleader, arranger and record label executive Archibald “Archie” Bleyer was born on June 12, 1909 in Queens, New York. His father was a popular trumpet player during his own heyday, and he even once played with the Metropolitan Opera. At the age of seven, he started to learn how to play the piano. He took electrical engineering at Columbia College but subsequently switched his major course to music. He left school during his sophomore year to become a musical engineer.

Bleyer’s early 1930s novelty recordings were considered “hot” at that time, and they include “Mouthful O’ Jam,” Business In F” and “Business In Q.” Around 1934, he founded a big band who got signed to Vocalion Records and recorded there for a time. The following year they switched to the American Record Corporation (ARC) record company. The band also included Johnny Mercer, a lyricist and a singer-songwriter who later became the co-founder of Capitol Records.

 

Working for Arthur Godfrey and establishing Cadence Records

By the mi- 1940’s, Bleyer was employed to Arthur Godfrey as a musical director on his radio and TV programs. Bleyer’s role was instrumental to Godfrey’s radio and TV career.

In 1952, Bleyer founded Cadence Records, initially to record one of Godfrey’s TV stars, Julius LaRosa. The following year Godfrey fired LaRosa, and later also fired Bleyer. Several artists from Godfrey’s show were signed to Cadence including the Chordettes, among others (in 1954, he married one of the Chordettes’ members, Janet Ertel). Later, Andy Williams and The Everly Brothers were added to the Cadence’s circle of artists. The Everly Brothers’ first two singles “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up Little Susie” were produced by Bleyer and became big hits for the duo. Cadence also contributed amidst the birth of the classic rock n’ roll with The Everly Brother’s “Problems” and Link Wray’s “Rumble” which was Wray’s only record for the label.

In 1962, comedian Vaughn Meader issued an album for Cadence The First Family that became a major hit. Featuring comedic sketches about the Kennedy clan, the album sold 4 million copies before Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

 

 

 

 

Bleyer’s hit singles

Recorded on his own label in 1954, had his own big hit with his debut release “Hernando’s Hideaway,” peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Another single “The Naughty Shade of Shady Lane” became a Top 20 pop hit at #17 and was followed by “The Rockin Ghost” which peaked at #76.

 

Recent years

On March 20, 1989 Bleyer died from the complications brought by Parkinson’s disease in Sheboygan, Wisconsin where he and his wife Janet lived. He was 79 years old.

 

Archie Bleyer’s discography (may be partial)

Cadence Records

(Jan 1954)

Archie Bleyer

  • A: Amber
  • B: Julie’s Jump

(May 1954)

Archie Bleyer

  • A: Hernando’s Hideaway
  • B: S’il Vous Plait

(Aug 1954)

John Sebastian [50s]

  • A: Autumn Leaves

Archie Bleyer

  • B: Amber

(Oct 1954)

Archie Bleyer

  • A: The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane
  • B: While The Vesper Bells Were Ringing

(Dec 1955)

Archie Bleyer

  • A: Nothin’ To Do

Janet Bleyer

  • B: Cause You’re My Lover

(Jan 1956)

Archie Bleyer’s Orchestra And Chorus

  • A: Bridge Of Happiness
  • B: You Tell Me Your Dream (I’ll Tell You Mine)

(June 1956)

Archie Bleyer

  • A: The Rockin’ Ghost
  • B: Sleep, Sleep, Daughter

(Oct 1957)

Archie Bleyer’s Orchestra And Chorus

  • A: Hernando’s Hideaway

Dorothy Evans, Arthur Malvin And Ray Charles

  • B: Steam Heat

(1960)

Archie Bleyer And His Musikyoun

  • A: Mustafa

Archie Bleyer’s Orchestra And Chorus

  • B: Jimmie’s Blues

(1962)

Archie Bleyer And His Orchestra

  • A: Sunrise Serenade
  • B: Moonlight Serenade

 

Memory Lane/ Barnaby Records

(1970)

Archie Bleyer

  • A: Hernando’s Hideaway
  • B: The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane

 

Barnaby Records

(1974)

Archie Bleyer

  • A: Hernando’s Hideaway
  • B: Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane

 

(Colletables Records)

Archie Bleyer

  • A: Hernando’s Hideaway
  • B: The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane

 

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