The Story and Music of Charles Randolph Grean


Introduction to Charles Randolph Grean

Charles Randolph Grean (born in 1913 – died in 2003) was an American composer and producer who had a single hit along with his group The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde, “Quentin’s Theme” in 1969 (which reached the Top 10 pop). Musically gifted, Grean’s first musical gig came as one of the members of the Catskill Mountains. Then Grean moved to Nashville, Tennessee and worked under Steve Sholes at RCA-Victor records from the late 1940s onwards, producing songs recorded by Pee Wee King, Eddy Arnold, Texas Jim Robinson, Elton Britt, Wilf Carter and the Sons of Pioneers. As an arranger, he did Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song”. As a songwriter he co-wrote several songs for Eddy Arnold, and the #1 hit for Phil Harris, “The Thing” in 1950. In the late 1960s, he produced records for Leonard Nimoy and recorded the theme music for Dark Shadows, whose “Quentin’s Theme” became a big easy listening hit for his group Charles Randolph Grean Sounde in 1969. He also produced “I Dreamed” by Betty Johnson (whom he would eventually marry, and continue a professional relationship after they divorced), and Fortuosity album by the Mills Brothers, among other collaborations. He died in 2003, aged 90.

The musical journey of Charles Randolph Grean Sounde

Known for the instrumental hit “Quentin’s Theme,” Charles Randolph Grean was American producer and composer born on October 1, 1913 in New York City, New York but he spent most of his early life in nearby Mount Vernon. Grean began performing in the 1930’s on cruise ships and in Catskill Mountain resorts, playing string bass in dance bands.

During the 1950’s, Grean’s first musical employment was a copyist for several big bands such as Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw and Charlie Spivak. He also worked at RCA Victor Records where he produced country and Western recordings from Eddie Arnold, the Sons pf the Pioneers, Pee Wee King, Texas Jim Robertson and Elton Britt. Grean was also responsible for arranging Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” as well. His composition “The Thing” gave Phil Harris a chart-topper pop hit in 1950.

In the early 1950’s, Grean and former Billboard editor/RCA executive Joe Csida became partners of a production company called Csida-Grean Associates. In this company they helped  represent Bobby Darin, Jim Lowe (radio personality), Betty Johnson (singer) and Eddy Arnold who had his own show Eddy Arnold Time.

Grean in the 1960’s with “Quentin’s Theme”

During the 1960’s music era, Grean’s musical career became particularly successful. It all started when Grean worked with Leonard Nimoy (whose records were produced by him). This was followed by his works with Betty Johnson (“I Dreamed” and “The Little Blue Man”) and Mills Brothers (for the album Fortuosity).

In 1969 Grean gained a Billboard hit with his rendition of Robert Cobert’s “Quentin’s Theme” from Dark Shadows, which he performed together with his group the Charles Randolph Grean Sounde. Their version ranked both on pop and easy listening charts at #13 and #3 respectively.

Grean’s death

The 90-year old Grean died from natural causes on Decemeber 20, 2003.

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