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Mel Tormé

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Mel Tormé

Biography

Mel Tormé (13 September 1925, Chicago, Ill. – 5 June 1999, Los Angeles, Calif.) was an American singer and songwriter.

Born Melvin Howard Tormé, at the age of four he sang with Coon Sanders Nighthawks, and at six he began playing drums. At the age of eight, he was appearing on radio programs. His song, Lament to Love, was written before he graduated from high school and was recorded by Harry James. His smooth voice led to his nickname, The Velvet Fog. He was also known for his vocal jazz scat singing.

Tormé joined the Chico Marx Band in 1942 and shortly thereafter made his film debut. In 1944, he organized a singing group, the Meltones, which recorded with Artie Shaw. His recording, film, and singing activities brought him great success. The best know of his songs is The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on the Open Fire).

Tormé's books include My Singing Teachers: Reflections on Singing Popular Music (1994), a biography of Buddy Rich, Traps, the Drum Wonder (1997) and his autobiography It Wasn't All Velvet (1988). He also published the novel Wynner in 1977.


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