- Ray Noble (musician)
Infobox musical artist
Name = Ray Noble
Background = non_performing_personnel
Birth_name = Raymond Stanley Noble
December 17, 1903
April 3, 1978
Origin = flagicon|UK
Brighton, England, UK
Bandleader, Composer, Arranger, Actor
Ray Noble (
December 17, 1903– April 3, 1978) was a British bandleader, composer, arranger and actor. Noble studied music at the Royal Academy of Musicand became leader of the HMVRecords studio band in 1929. The band, known as the New Mayfair Dance Orchestra, featured members of many of the top hotel orchestras of the day. The most popular vocalist with Noble's studio band was Al Bowlly.
The Bowlly/Noble recordings achieved popularity in the
United States. Union bans prevented Noble from taking British musicians to America so he arranged for Glenn Millerto recruit American musicians. The American Ray Noble band had a successful run at the Rainbow Roomin New York Citywith Bowlly as principal vocalist.
Bowlly returned to England but Noble continued to lead bands in America, moving into an acting career portraying a stereotypical upper-class English idiot. His last major successes as a bandleader came with
Buddy Clarkin the late 1940s.
Noble wrote both lyrics and music and contributed "Love Is The Sweetest Thing", "Cherokee" and "
The Very Thought Of You" to popular culture.
Ray Noble was also an arranger who scored many record hits in the 1930s: "Easy to Love" (1936), "Mad About the Boy" (1932), "Paris in the Spring" (1935).
Noble and Bowlly's 1934 recording of "Midnight, the Stars and You" was prominently featured on the soundtrack of
Stanley Kubrick's film "The Shining" in 1980.
For another sample of a Noble/Bowlly classic, the 1931 song "Guilty" can be found on the "
Amélie" film soundtrack.
Noble played the piano but seldom did so with his orchestra. In a movie short from the 1940s featuring Ray Noble and Buddy Clark (one of his most popular band singers), Ray Noble is asked by the announcer to play one of his most popular hits. He sits down at the piano and plays "Goodnight Sweetheart" ("Goodnight sweetheart, 'til we meet tomorrow. Goodnight sweetheart, parting is such sorrow"). This is the song that once seemed to be played at the end of every high school and college prom, the end of every party featuring live music, and the last song played by a dance band to signal the end of the evening.
Although Noble was no singer, he did appear twice as an upper crust Englishmen on two of his more popular New York records, 1935's
Top Hatand 1937's Slumming on Park Avenue.
Noble also provided music for many radio shows like "The Charlie McCarthy Show" and "
Burns and Allen", where in addition to leading the band he played a somewhat "dense" character who was in love with Gracie Allen. His catchphrase was "Gracie, this is the first time we've ever been alone together."
*Peter Gammond, "Noble, Raymond Stanley (1903–1978)", "
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2006 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/74950, accessed 7 July 2007]
* [http://www.jazzbymail.com/ViewArtist.aspx?iAID=1287&sAN=Ray+Noble A Brief Biography]
* [http://www.jabw.demon.co.uk/bowlly.htm Article about Al Bowlly's time with the Ray Noble Orchestra]
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