Riddle, Nelson


Riddle, Nelson

▪ American musician
born June 1, 1921, Oradell, N.J., U.S.
died Oct. 6, 1985, Los Angeles, Calif.

      American popular-music arranger, conductor, and composer, regarded as the premier 20th-century arranger for popular singers.

      Riddle began his career in the 1940s as a trombonist-arranger for the orchestras of Tommy Dorsey (Dorsey, Jimmy), Bob Crosby, Charlie Spivak, and Jerry Wald. His first noted arrangements for a popular singer were the songs "Mona Lisa" and "Too Young," recorded in 1950 by Nat King Cole (Cole, Nat King), with whom Riddle would work frequently during the next 15 years. During the 1950s Riddle was a staff arranger for Capitol Records and arranged songs for several of the top singers of the day, including Dean Martin, Judy Garland (Garland, Judy), Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee (Lee, Peggy), Margaret Whiting, and Johnny Mathis. He made recordings with Ella Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald, Ella) during the late 1950s and early '60s; Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook (1959), with arrangements by Riddle, is often cited as the best of Fitzgerald's “songbook” albums.

      Riddle collaborated with Frank Sinatra (Sinatra, Frank) over the course of more than 25 years. In one of the most-acclaimed musical partnerships of the 20th century, Sinatra and Riddle released classic albums of swing (Songs for Swingin' Lovers! [1956], A Swingin' Affair! [1957]) and ballads (In the Wee Small Hours [1955], Only the Lonely [1958]) that were regarded as benchmark achievements in the careers of both men. Riddle's up-tempo arrangements were characterized by his “heartbeat rhythm,” which he explained as “the tempo that strikes people the easiest because, without their knowing it, they move to that pace all their waking hours.” His ballad arrangements were noted for their contrapuntal melodies, complex harmonies, and recurring musical motifs.

      Riddle had a few instrumental hits of his own, including "Lisbon Antigua" (1956) and the theme from the television series Route 66 (1960). He also wrote the theme to TV's The Untouchables (1959) and did the musical scoring and conducting for such series as Naked City (1958–64), Batman (1966–68), and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967–70). In the late 1970s Riddle arranged three best-selling albums of standards for singer Linda Ronstadt (Ronstadt, Linda); these were regarded as a catalyst for the revival of classic American popular music. Riddle also arranged and conducted the orchestras for the inaugural balls of Presidents John F. Kennedy (Kennedy, John F.) and Ronald Reagan (Reagan, Ronald W.).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Riddle, Nelson — (1921–1985)    Grammy and Oscar winning composer Nelson Riddle, who wrote and conducted the score for LOLITA (1961), was perhaps most famous for his lush, orchestral background music for pop singers, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Nat “King” Cole… …   The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick

  • Nelson Riddle — Nelson Riddle, Jr. Born Nelson Smock Riddle, Jr. June 1, 1921(1921 06 01) Oradell, New Jersey U.S. Died October 6, 1985(1985 10 06) (aged 64) Occupation Arranger, orchestrator, band leader …   Wikipedia

  • Nelson Riddle — Nelson Smock Riddle, Jr. (1 de junio de 1921 – 6 de octubre de 1985) fue un conocido director de orquesta, arreglista y orquestador estadounidense cuya carrera se desarrolló desde finales de los años cuarenta hasta comienzos de los ochenta.… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Nelson Riddle — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Riddle. Nelson Riddle est un compositeur et acteur américain né le 1er juin 1921 à Oradell, New Jersey (États Unis), décédé le 6 octobre 1985 à Los Angeles (Californie). Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Nelson Riddle — (* 1. Juni 1921 in Oradell, New Jersey; † 6. Oktober 1985 in Los Angeles) war ein US amerikanischer Arrangeur, Komponist und Bigband Leader. Leben Nelson Riddle, der als Posaunist seine Musikerlaufbahn begann, war einer der herausragenden US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Riddle (disambiguation) — Riddle may refer to: *Riddle, a form of a word puzzle **The World riddle of Friedrich Nietzsche, the meaning of life **Riddle of the Sphinx **The Riddle SongPeople*Almeda Riddle (1898 1986), American folk singer *George R. Riddle (1817 1867),… …   Wikipedia

  • Nelson Goodman — Full name Nelson Goodman Born August 7, 1906 Died November 25, 1998(1998 11 25) (aged 92) Era 20th century philosophy Region Western Philosophy …   Wikipedia

  • Riddle — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Albert G. Riddle (1816–1902), US amerikanischer Politiker George R. Riddle (1817–1867), US amerikanischer Politiker Hal Riddle (1919–2009), US amerikanischer Schauspieler und Sammler Haywood Yancey Riddle… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nelson (given name) — Nelson is an English given name, in origin derived from the patronymic son of Neil . The following is a list of people with the given name Nelson: Contents 1 Arts and entertainment 2 Sport 2.1 Footballers 2.2 …   Wikipedia

  • Nelson (Vorname) — Nelson ist ein männlicher Vorname, der häufig im portugiesischen Sprachraum vorkommt.[1] Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Bekannte Namensträger 2.1 Vorname …   Deutsch Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.