Words by John Klenner, Music by Al Hoffman
Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians
Vocal chorus by Carmen Lombardo
Recorded January 28, 1931
Although Canada's premiere dance band, the Royal Canadians, are most closely associated with Guy Lombardo, it was in fact his younger brother Carmen who was the true driving force behind the music group. Born in London, Ontario in 1903, the Lombardo brothers made their first debut together at a church function in 1914, starting what would end up to be a 55-year collaboration.
Both Carmen and Guy began taking music lessons at the same time, with Guy on violin and Carmen on flute. Over the years, Carmen would switch to saxophone while Guy would just pick up a conductor's baton. The Royal Canadians formed in 1916, with Carmen as singer, saxophone player and composer. Their first prominent performance occurred at a dance pavilion in Grand Bend, Ontario in 1919.
In 1923, The Royal Canadians moved to Cleveland, Ohio and quickly obtained a permanent gig at a nightclub called the Claremont Trent. The band was taken under the wing of club owner, Louis Bleet, and continued to play in the Cleveland area until 1927, when they moved to Chicago and began broadcasting live on the radio from the Granada Cafe. In 1928, two of Carmen's songs, Coquette and Sweethearts on Parade,became major hits for the group, attracting international attention. The Royal Canadians were known for 'the sweetest music this side of Heaven', a description coined by Ashton Stevens of the Chicago Tribune. In 1929, The Royal Canadians began their longest standing gig at the Roosevelt Grill in New York City, lasting 33 years. It was at the Roosevelt that The Royal Canadians began the annual tradition of a New Years Eve telecast on CBS. The Royal Canadians sold at least 100 million records. Between 1929 and 1952 there wasn't a single year that a Guy Lombardo record didn't chart - 21 of them at number one, and many featuring songs by Carmen Lombardo.