Het is vandaag honderd jaar geleden dat de Amerikaanse gitarist Al Caiola werd geboren (foto YouTube). Hij was een studio-gitarist die op ontelbare legendarische opnames is te horen, maar wellicht is hij nog het meest bekend als de gitarist op het originele Bonanza-thema.

He started with Louis Armstrong. He can be heard on “Back O’Town Blues”, “Mop! Mop!” and Blueberry Hill. All three tracks recorded live in 1947.

Caiola was a studio musician in the 1950s in New York City. One of his earliest recordings must be on Rosemary Clooney’s Come on a My HouseandThis Ole House. Then followed Perry Como’s Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes and Johnny Mathis‘ “Misty“, “Smile“, “The Twelfth of Never. Surprisingly he also played the guitar on “I’m Gonna Love You Too”, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”, “Rave on” and “True Love Ways” by Buddy Holly. He plays the guitar on hits by Paul Anka like Diana“, “Lonely Boy“, “Puppy Love and Put Your Head on My Shoulder and Bobby Darin’sDream Lover“, “Mack the KnifeandSplish Splash. He can also be heard on several records by Neil Sedaka such as Breaking Up Is Hard to Do“, “Calendar Girl“, “Happy Birthday Sweet SixteenandNext Door to an Angel. Also on “Venus” by Frankie Avalon and “Tiger” by Fabian. He also played the guitar on “Theme from A Summer Place” by the Percy Faith Orchestra and Dinah Washington’s entire What a Diff’rence a Day Makes! album. He also played the banjo on The Village Stompers‘ “Washington Square”. He released some minor records under his own name in that decade but without success.

In 1960 he became a recording star on the United Artists label for over ten years. He had hits in 1961 with “The Magnificent Seven” (#35 in USA) and “Bonanza” (#19 in USA). The arrangements were typically by Don Costa with a large orchestral backing. He played the guitar on hits by Ben E. King such as Spanish HarlemandStand by Me and by Del Shannon: Hats Off to Larry“, “Little Town Flirt“, “Runaway. Furthermore on Petula Clark‘s Don’t Sleep in the SubwayandThis Is My Song. Also on “Spanish eyes” by Al Martino. He can also be heard on Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinsonand Bridge over Troubled Water.

Caiola released singles and albums throughout the 1960s and beyond, though no others appeared on the charts except for an entry in 1964 with “From Russia with Love“. United Artists used him to make commercial recordings of many movie and TV themes: “Wagon Train (Wagons Ho)”, “The Ballad of Paladin“, “The Rebel”, and “Gunslinger”. His album Solid Gold Guitar contained arrangements of “Jezebel”, “Two Guitars”, “Big Guitar“, “I Walk the Line”, and “Guitar Boogie”. The Magnificent Seven album, other than the title track, consisted of a variety of pop songs with a jazzy bent. Guitars Guitars Guitars was similar. There was a wide variety to his albums — soft pop, Italian, Hawaiian, country, jazz.

In the early 1970s he continued on the Avalanche Recordings label, producing similar work including the album Theme From the ‘Magnificent 7 Ride’ ’73. Later, on other labels, came some ethnic-themed instrumental albums such as In a Spanish Mood in 1982, and Italian instrumentals. Caiola died in Allendale, New Jersey, at the age of 96. (Wikipedia)

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