Day 335 of Colourisation Project – April 7
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
Considered “the most identifiable easy-listening sound-mark” by some, and musical pablum by others, Percy Faith‘s popular instrumental, Theme from ‘A Summer Place’, no matter what, vividly transports me to a time and place in my youth, when as teenagers we all identified with the angst of young lovers, Molly and Johnny in the film of the same name, starring Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue.
Composed by Max Steiner as part of the score for the 1959 movie A Summer Place, [he also wrote the musical scores for Casablanca (1942) and Gone with the Wind (1939)] the film version was performed by Hugo Winterbalter’s orchestra. However, it was Percy Faith’s arrangement and recording which made it the biggest selling single of 1960 in America. It stayed at number one in the USA for 9 weeks, the longest run of any instrumental song.
Faith’s version released by Columbia, spent seventeen weeks on the American pop charts selling over one million copies and winning the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1961.
Born in Toronto, Canada, this day, April 7, 1908, Percy Faith is often thought of as one of the founding fathers of easy listening. Known for his lush arrangements and use of large string sections, Faith became a staple of American popular music throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
A child piano prodigy, Percy Faith’s dreams of becoming a concert pianist were put on hold when at age 18 he suffered severe burns to his hands in a fire. When his younger sister’s clothing caught on fire, Faith put out the flames with his bare hands thus saving his sister’s life but damaging his hands so badly that he couldn’t play the piano for nine months. This gave him time to turn his talents to conducting and arranging.
Faith went on to develop a unique orchestral sound which soon became his trademark. He recorded 85 albums for Columbia Records, and had another two major hit singles; Delicado (1952), Theme from ‘Moulin Rouge‘ (1953).
Percy Faith died of cancer in Encino, California in 1976, at the age of 67.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1501 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
Today I leave you with a 1961 clip of Percy Faith and his Orchestra performing Theme From ‘A Summer Place’.