He performed with, and counted as his friends some of the most famous artists and bands of all time including Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, The Beatles, and many more.
Born in South Philadelphia in 1926, he started singing on radio at the age of 4 and playing piano at 6 and by the age of 15 he was a seasoned professional.. He got his break when at 20 he signed to the Musicraft record label, home to the likes of Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Tormé, and soon had his first hit with Oh Look-A-There Ain’t She Pretty, selling over a million copies. As his profile increased he began to gain attention from some of the leading musicians of the time and in 1949 he spent a year on the road and recording with the revered band leader Benny Goodman.
Releases on numerous labels including Capitol, London, Coral and Columbia followed and as his popularity soared Greco was soon widely regarded as one of the preeminent pianists, singers, arrangers and composers of his generation. In 1963 he was invited to appear at The Royal Variety Performance for The Queen on the same bill as The Beatles, Marlene Dietrich, Max Bygraves, Tommy Steele and Harry Secombe.
While recording for Columbia records in 1962 he scored an international hit with his version of The Lady Is A Tramp, which became his signature tune. This was a successful recording period for him and other hits during this time included Around the World, Girl Talk, MacArthur Park and The More I See You. He signed with Frank Sinatra’s label Reprise Records in 1965 for which he recorded three albums including the popular Big Band & Ballads, which was released to widespread critical acclaim in 1966.
Buddy continued to tour and record in the years that followed, tailoring his style to suit the constantly changing shape of the industry. He recorded a number of jazz/pop albums including Hot Nights, just re-released in the U.K. and From the Wrists Down which was recorded in London with a 60-piece symphony orchestra and demonstrates Greco’s ability to arrange for large ensembles. He also recorded a critically acclaimed album, The Modern Sounds of Hank Williams, a jazz rendition of Hank Williams songs at this time.
In 1992 he produced and recorded a pure jazz album, Buddy Greco and his Jazz Friends, with his friends Grover Washington Jr, Ernie Watts, Buddy DeFranco, Jack Sheldon and Toots Thielemans, and in 2004, Fever! The Music of Miss Peggy Lee, a double album featuring the accomplished vocalist and his wife, Lezlie Anders from their critically acclaimed stage production of the same name.
His latest recording project, Benny Goodman Revisited, released in June 2013, has been lauded for its musical and historical significance. He is currently recording a radio series entitled, My Friends, Their Music, featuring his musical choices and anecdotes about his friends, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Nat Cole, Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney, to broadcast coinciding with the release of his autobiography, I Had a Ball: The Swinging Life of Buddy Greco.
At the age of 87, Buddy Greco continues to record and perform and has achieved renewed popularity with generations of listeners who hadn't been born when he first appeared. A true legend from the golden era of entertainment, he will go down in history as one of the great performers of the 20th century.
Since his first performance at the age of four to his most recent appearance at the age of eighty-seven, Buddy Greco, legendary pianist and singer has the longest professional career of any living musical artist. And since the release of his first recording in 1946, to his latest release in 2013 he has the distinction of having the longest recording history of any living recording artist. He is written about in countless books and articles about music including Who’s Who in Jazz and Great American Singers.
But more than that, he is a witness, participant and contributor to the popular culture of one of the most exciting centuries in modern history. His career, spanning eight decades, encompasses millions of record sales around the world, countless appearances on radio, television and performances on the stages of the most prestigious venues in the world.