Nelson Riddle: An Author of American Popular Song

Email a Friend

When Nelson Riddle published his autobiography, Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Jonathan Schwartz was more than happy to write for the book's jacket: 

"Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Nelson Riddle stand, in my judgement, at the spine of American popular music. Nelson's voice, like the others, changed our thinking, pushed us forward, addressed us with startling originality. The scope of his talent dwarfs all other arrangers. His obvious pleasure in delegating authority-to the oboe, flute, bass trombone, muted trumpet, organ, bassoon, vibraphone-while still remaining in full control of his administration; his overseeing without overstating the strings; his own private melodies that whisper respectfully under the Gershwin or Kern or Rodgers on the table; his out and out passion that informs every bar of every arrangement. All these things are actively combined in the immense body of work that stands as one of the great achievements in American arts. To find that Nelson, personally, is a droll, tender, reclusive and richly intelligent fellow, adds a special kind of luster to my fondness for him, devotion to him. The book you are holding is about music. There is no more qualified an author available.


Episode Playlist

Carousel Chorus – June Is Bustin’ Out All Over – Carousel

Erich Kunzel – I’ve Got You Under My Skin - Route 66: That Nelson Riddle Sound

Frank Sinatra – I’ve Got You Under My Skin - Songs For Swingin’ Lovers

Frank Sinatra – It’s All Right With Me – Can-Can

Judy Garland – Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart – Judy In Love

Nelson Riddle – You And The Night And The Music – The Best Of The Capitol Years

Peggy Lee – The Folks Who Live On The Hill - The Man I Love

Oscar Peterson/Nelson Riddle – Someday My Prince Will Come – Oscar Peterson & Nelson Riddle

Nelson Riddle – Brother John – 78 rpm recording

Ella Fitzgerald – The Man I Love – Love Songs-The Best Of The Verve Song Books

Frank Sinatra – From This Moment On – A Swingin’ Affair

Frank Sinatra – All Or Nothing At All – Strangers In The Night

Frank Sinatra – Night And Day – A Swingin’ Affair

Frank Sinatra – Get Happy – Swing Easy

Frank Sinatra – Willow Weep For Me – Only The Lonely

Frank Sinatra – This Love Of Mine – In The Wee Small Hours

Frank Sinatra – Blues In The Night – Only The Lonely

Frank Sinatra – River Stay ‘Way From My Door – Come Swing With Me

Frank Sinatra – I’ve Got The World On A String – The Capitol Years

Stacy Sullivan – Lazy Afternoon – It’s A Small Town

Bob Florence – Laura – With All The Bells And Whistles

Carol Sloane/Clark Terry - Can’t We Be Friends – The Songs Ella & Louis Sang

Pete McGuinness – Oh, You Crazy Moon - Voice Like A Horn

Brian Stokes Mitchell – Some Other Time - Simply Broadway

Rebecca Luker – Greenwich Time – Greenwich Time

Tony Bennett – Laughing At Life – On Holiday

Keely Smith – When Day Is Done – I Wish You Love

Dinah Shore – Medley: Where Or When – Yes, Indeed!

Rosemary Clooney – Some Of These Days – Rosie Solves The Swingin’ Riddle

Ella Fitzgerald – I Got Rhythm – The George And Ira Gershwin Songbook

Linda Ronstadt – ‘Round Midnight – ‘Round Midnight

Nelson Riddle – Born Happy – Communication

Nelson Riddle – My Baby Just Cares For Me – A Touch Of Class

Frank Sinatra – My Baby Just Cares For Me – Strangers In The Night

Nelson Riddle – Day In Day Out – The Riddle Touch

Ella Fitzgerald – Day In Day Out – The Johnny Mercer Songbook

Frank Sinatra – The Lady Is A Tramp – The Capitol Years

Nat King Cole – Unforgettable – The World Of Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole – Mona Lisa – The Very Best Of Nat King Cole

Oregon – Yellow Bell - Out Of The Woods

Kate McGarry – This Heart Of Mine – Girl Talk

Frank Sinatra – What Is This Thing Called Love – In The Wee Small Hours

Nancy LaMott – Not Exactly Paris – Listen To My Heart