The Life and Musical Works of Richard Hayman


Introduction to Richard Hayman

Richard Hayman (born on March 27, 1920) was an American conductor and arranger, having worked with several orchestras and film studios (most known works was for the MGM studios). As a harmonica player, Hayman also joined the Borrah Minnevitch Harmonica Rascals in his early career. Hayman too served as a musical director for established and famous artists such as Andy Williams, Pat Boone, Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Olivia Newton-John, Kenny Rogers, Red Skelton, the Osmonds, etc. Under Mercury Records (which he was under contract for six years), Hayman released several records, the most commercially successful among them was “Ruby,” released during the 50s music era. Because of his immense contributions to music, he was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. He died in 2014, aged 93.


Richard Hayman’s early life and career

American arranger, harmonica player and conductor Richard Hayman was born on March 27, 1920 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 18-year old Hayman started playing harmonica with Borrah Binnevitch Harmonica Rascals where he later became an arranger as well. In the early 1940’s, he worked at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios where he arranged music for films such as Girl Crazy, Meet Me in St. Louis and Thousands Cheer. Many of his arranging works went uncredited. He also became a musical director for Vaughn Monroe Orchestra from 1945 to 1950.

Making albums for Mercury Records

Along with his own orchestra, Hayman began recording albums in the 1950’s. He issued several singles mostly for Mercury Records: “Ruby,” “April in Portugal,” “Terry’s Theme,” “Off Shore,” “Sadie Thompson” and “Night Train” to name a few. Taken from the movie Ruby Gentry, his 1953 single “Ruby” was his biggest hit. In 1957, Mercury Records had its first pop LP recorded in stereo with Hayman’s Havana’s Hi-Fi. He continued recording for Mercury until 1960. He was also the director of artists and repertory and worked with Patti Page and Vic Damone. In 1960, he later had his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Hayman’s later years

Throughout Hayman’s career, he was best remembered with his affiliation with the Boston Pops Orchestra as their principal arranger for over 30 years. The orchestra popularized most of his arrangements which earned him numerous awards. In 1976, he was also known with his corny jokes, sequined jackets and solo harmonicas working with the St. Louis Symphony, becoming the Principal Pops Conductor for over 30 years as well. He had also served as a musical director for several artists such as Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, The Osmonds, Red Skelton, Pat Boone, Kenny Rogers, Olivia Newton-John and Andy Williams.

In 2006, Hayman became a conductor of Florida’s Sunshine Pops and the principal conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony. Celebrating his 90th birthday, Hayman had his last appearance with the St. Louis Orchestra in February 2010. After a couple of years, he finally retired as the Principal Pops Orchestra of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and musical director of the Space Coast Pops Orchestra in Cocoa, Florida. At the age of 93, Hayman died in February 2014 in Manhattan, New York.

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