By Susan Calter For The Dick Haymes Society Newsletter #53 Spring of 2003
|When I first read, "The Dick Haymes Enigma" by Bobby Scott, I was so sure I knew who Bobby Scott was…wrong! Without having a face to go with the name I was confusing him with other musical Bobby notables like Bobby Short and Bobby Troup. Since it was decided to reprint this loving tribute to Dick in this issue, I decided to do some research to find out all I could about Bobby Scott, who held his friendship with Dick Haymes so close to his heart. Thanks once again to the Internet, here is the information along with a few photos that I found…|
There was a 19 year age difference between Bobby Scott and Dick Haymes, but it never hindered their camaraderie or working relationship.
Bobby was in his early twenties when he worked as Dick's musical director in 1960. You would think that he would have been more interested
in working with musicians closer to his age, but he knew real talent when he heard it and was not threatened knowing that Dick's career had
already peaked. By this time Dick had been in the business for over 20 years and here he was working with a 23 year old. Dick was not threatened
either knowing that he could not be upstaged with his musical knowledge. Bobby Scott was born Robert William Scott on January 29, 1937 in Mt. Pleasant,
Knowing that he loved music early on, Bobby was lucky enough to attend Dorothea Anderson Follette's School of Music in 1945 at the age of 8, and then in 1949 studied composition with Edvard Moritz, a former pupil of Claude Debussy.
Despite his early classical training, like many famous others, Scott turned to jazz in his teens, and played with small bands led by the likes of Louis Prima, Tony Scott (no relation) and Gene Krupa. During this time he cut some sides for Verve Records with a few of these great small groups. It is safe to say Bobby Scott was a child prodigy. With Jazz influencing him, he studied other instruments along with the piano and enjoyed playing the cello, bass, accordion and clarinet.
When Bobby was 16 he started recording for several record labels like, Bethlehem, Savoy, Atlantic and ABC, and in 1956 had a US Top 20 hit with "Chain Gang" (not the Sam Cooke version),written by Sol Quasha and Hank Yakus.
In the late 50s, Scott worked at the swinging Cafe Bohemia in Greenwich Village, New York City. He also appeared at the Great
South Bay Jazz Festival in 1958 and the New Haven Festival of Arts in 1959. Both of these festivals are still bringing to their
stages new and upcoming musical talents twenty-four years later. Never satisfied with his musical endeavors, Bobby returned to
study with Edvard Moritz. He then became a teacher of theory and harmony.
Bobby left performing for composing at the dawn of the 60s and stayed away for many years before returning with more tasty music. He was a good pianist, effective vocalist and played the vibraphone to perfection.
In 1960, Bobby Scott wrote the title theme for Shelagh Delaney's play "A Taste Of Honey", and the song was made famous by pianist Martin Denny. Being transformed, the instrumental tune was given lyrics for Tony Bennett to sing by Ric Marlow. The Beatles were so taken by the combination, they included "A Taste of Honey" on their first UK album. Bobby's big hit won a Grammy in 1962. Then, 3 years later, Herb Alpert took the song to even greater heights winning three more Grammys with their US Top 10 hit.
At the same time that Bobby was working with Dick Haymes, he was also a pianist, arranger and record producer for Mercury Records. It was during this time that he started a very close working relationship with Quincy Jones. Bobby played piano on several of Jones' Mercury albums. They remained great friends and musical cohorts for the rest of Bobby stunted life.
By 1964 Bobby had recorded 15 LPS in total for Bethlehem, Verve, Atlantic and Mercury. All but one did very respectable business in the record shops. The albums showed the talents of Bobby Scott, both as a musician and a wonderful singer. As a producer, Scott supervised sessions for several important artists such as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Darin, Harry Belafonte and Sarah Vaughan.
He discovered twenty-two-year-old guitarist and vocalist Perry Miller at Folk City in Greenwich Village in the spring of 1964. Bobby convinced this new talent to change his name, and he did, he was now known as Jesse Colin Young. With Bobby's ties to Capitol Records and with the help of his good friend, Bobby Darin, Jesse became an up-and-coming star signed to that record label. Scott is also credited for taking singer Bobby Hebb back to Mercury in 1965. A year later, after Scott left the label, Hebb released his biggest hit, "Sunny", in 1966.
Bobby Scott worked closely with Bobby Darin and when others were dropping negative comments about the singer, Scott snapped back. He saw another side of Darin that the press never saw and that was a friendly nature. "I'm not putting a halo on his head, he deserves no halos," Scott said, "But, if you run across somebody that really paints him out black, you can believe they didn't know him. He was put down by almost everyone I'd met in the business," Scott said, "The reason I found this contempt odd was that Darin was a remarkably convivial fellow."
When Bobby Scott's wife was in the hospital delivering their first child, they were broke. "Bobby Darin came to the rescue." Scott recalled. "He offered to give me money with no strings attached. He gave me enough work arranging and accompanying over the next couple of weeks to tidy everything up for us financially. "The first gift my daughter got, delivered to the house by messenger when they got home was from Bobby Darin," Scott said, "He beat the relatives." "He was not a malicious person," Scott continued. "Not at all. A lot of people thought he was a smart aleck: he wasn't. I think he threw up a lot of defenses and gave the wrong ideas to people. I think he was, at core a very good person."
"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" was composed by Bobby Scott and the lyrics were written by Bob Russell. The Hollies recorded this tune a year before it was a huge hit for Neil Diamond in 1970. Eighteen years later the Hollies once again sang this tune when it was featured in a very successful UK television commercial for Miller Lite Lager.
Also, at the same time Scott's compositions were turning up in the movies. Joe Butler sang "Where Are You Going?" in the film "Joe";
and "Slaves" was performed by Dionne Warwick in the movie by the same name. Scott also composed incidental music for the play "Dinny
And The Witches", and several pieces for harp and string trios, including "The Giacometti Variations", so-called because it was partly
used as a radio advertisement for the Giacometti Exhibition held at the New York Museum of Modern Art. He also composed the music for
the film "Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow?" during this time.
In 1971, Robert William Scott titled his new LP on the Warner label just that. It had been 7 years since his last album hit the record shelves, I Had A Ball, for Mercury. Both of the LPs were very successful although he did not sing on either of them. Unfortunately, like Dick Haymes, there were very few to follow. 1978 produced, Forecast: Rain with Sunny Skies, with vocals by Sorrow Astrasa, Susan Cofer-Thompson, Carolyn Marks, Melisane Maxwell, Catalina Sevilla and Orville Stoeber. With the consistency Bobby experienced in his career, this album was a big disappointment. Perhaps, he should have sung some of the tunes himself, like Lennon and McCartney's "Here, There and Everywhere" and "We Had It All"? The other 8 songs were strange choices. It is peculiar that he did not include something that he composed?
Twenty-three years after he had met Quincy Jones, in 1986, Bobby was asked to accompanied Tania Vega and John Lee Hooker on Jones's soundtrack music for the film The Color Purple. With all of the respect Bobby had for Quincy, he was very honored to be part of such a monumental film.
Success came once again to Bobby Scott in 1989 when he recorded his last LP entitled, For Sentimental Reasons, paying tribute to
the great Nat King Cole. Scott was not trying to emulate Cole but he did a wonderful job bringing his own recognizable style to
tunes associated with him like, "Nature Boy," "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You," and "For Sentimental Reasons". A high point for
Haymes fans is Bobby's rendition of "The More I See You" on this album. Scott sounded nothing like Nat King Cole but they both,
like Haymes. understood the beauty in simplicity and effortlessness.
Like Dick Haymes, Robert William Scott died only 18 months after recording his last LP. He too succumbed to lung cancer on November 5, 1990 at the age of 53 in New York City. Strangely enough both Bobby and Dick worked in the music business for the same length of time, 40 years, despite the 19 years between them.
Researching Bobby Scott has been gratifying to me. Now, I not only know who he is but what he was all about. He was an extremely talented man who generously held his friendships high and intertwined them with his musical genius. He showed great respect for talent and was humble enough to know if he listened he would learn from them. Dick must have felt privileged knowing him. We as Dick Haymes Society members owe a lot to Bobby Scott, unselfishly he took the time to share his memories of Richard Benjamin Haymes to write "The Dick Haymes Enigma".
Websites researched - Oldies.com & Allmusic.com
|In October of 2000, the Collectables record label released two of Bobby's LPs originally recorded in 1960, onto a 2 CD set. The combination of 24 tracks is titled, A Taste of Honey/The Compleat Musician. It can be found on the Internet or ordered through record stores. Catalog Number: 6407- UPC: 90431640722.|
|Bobby Scott - Discography:|
The Jazz Keyboard Of Bobby Scott (1953)***, Great Scott 10-inch album (Bethlehem 1954)***, The Compositions Of Bobby Scott,
Volume 1 10-inch album (Bethlehem 1954)**, The Compositions Of Bobby Scott, Volume 2 10-inch album (Bethlehem 1954)**, The Compositions
Of Bobby Scott (Bethlehem 1955)**, Scott Free (ABC-Paramount 1956)***, Bobby Scott And Two Horns (ABC-Paramount 1957)***, Bobby Scott Sings
The Best Of Lerner And Loewe (Verve 1958)***, Serenade - Bobby Scott, Pianist (Verve 1959)***, Bobby Scott Plays The Music Of Leonard
Bernstein (Verve 1959)***, Bobby Scott With Friends (1960)***, The Complete Musician (Atlantic 1960)***, A Taste Of Honey
(Atlantic 1960)**, Joyful Noises (Mercury 1962)***, When The Feeling Hits You (Mercury 1963)***, 108 Pounds Of Heartache (Mercury 1963)**,
I Had A Ball (Mercury 1964)***, For Sentimental Reasons (Music Masters 1990)***
Encyclopedia of Popular Music
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