LISTEN: I've Got You Under My Skin
Throughout the last several decades, Showbiz has evolved with a great deal of unfortunate neglect where integrity is concerned. The great songwriter, Hugh Martin once wrote about Tony London... declaring his utmost respect for his integrity. It's no secret that Tony London had spent many years dragging his feet through the muddy battle fields of the entertainment business, adapting varied styles, and having to perform and record nearly every kind of music any typical red-blooded American has ever listened to. Yet, there was always an underlying intent to eventually settle into a format that would enable a long lasting career - a format that would depict his craving and devotion for quality musicianship, great story telling and haunting melodic enchantment. It was always important that Tony felt he was "making progress". He never wanted to settle in at the contentment of just doing club dates, or becoming another market-worn expendable. His fire burned deep and constant ... never imagining he'd be limited to becoming a mere microcosm in a business that offered unlimited dreams and possibilities.
The Midwestern American born son was brought up in a traditional middle class environment during the 1970s, and as a small boy, would often have to find ways of entertaining himself. "It was like that for all of us. Most people didn't have cable tv or computers. We were brought up without ever knowing what those kinds of luxuries and conveniences were like.... it was a different time, that's for sure". The children of that era used to build tree forts, make their own skateboards, play cards with friends, or just go off somewhere and listen to whatever record albums were around the house. "During the summers, my folks would take my sister and me a few hours away to spend time with grandma. I think my favorite thing to do was head into the living room where my grandparents had their record player, and I'd listen to those old antique 78 records of Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, or Rosemary Clooney. It honestly became something I really looked forward to, and the music I was listening to seemed to, somehow, plant itself deep inside me. I never did let the feeling it gave me go away".
Tony's father was a big band and jazz singer during the 1940s and 50s, and had set the tone for what would eventually become Tony's lifelong passion. Of course, growing up during a time of 1970s and 80s rock and roll and pop music, made it inevitable that he would have to prolong any hidden desire to act on a preference to sing what was then considered "old people's music". Old people's music, meant music that only grown-ups and old people used to listen to or watch when mom and dad had the Lawrence Welk Show playing on the tv... or dad would pull out his old 1950s and 60s albums of Perry Como, Steve and Edie, or maybe Doc Severinsen... and all the kids in the house would run for cover for fear some of their friends and neighbors might drive by the house and hear what was going on.
"I'd spent the entire 1980s singing and recording music that would keep me working. It meant that I had to do songs of nearly every style from rock to pop, soul to R&B, easy listening to folk, and country to rockabilly music. I must have recorded or performed a thousand songs during that period, and it taught me a lot. I certainly learned a great deal about the performance and entertainment side of things, but also the technical and business aspects of the industry as well."
By the 1990s, Tony had become a mature singer-performer and had arrived at that ultimate decision to devote his energy to singing a kind of music that would exemplify timelessness and higher quality. This music would remain in his life, and become synonymous with his own identity and name. "The Great American Songbook... or old school jazz and big band, as I like to call it, have remained in my heart since I was a small boy, and even though I'd felt the necessity to perform other kinds of music when early in my career, I knew I'd eventually get back to a kind of music that would bring me challenge... a music that would continually fulfill my musical craving for quality and musicianship, and of course, great songwriting. Besides, I knew I'd want to be just a little bit older or more grown up before I could believably pull it off, and not come off as some teenager singing a more sophisticated and elegant music. The timing had to be right."
And now... with a long list of performance and recording credits to his name including 9 nationally released CD albums, and a roster of the most accomplished fine musicians in his corner, Tony continues to impress and wow audiences around the globe. His last CD was entitled “Tony London, Songs From The Heart with the Page Cavanaugh Trio”, released in 2007. Page Cavanaugh and Tony had become close friends with a very endearing mutual respect for one another's talents. During their time recording together, Page would make comment on how much Tony reminded him of the singers from the old days. During the 1940s and 50s, big bands would refer to their singers as boy or girl singer, regardless of their actual age. So... Page nicknamed Tony "Boy Singer" and the name stuck. “Songs from the Heart” was produced by well-known Hollywood Actress, Marsha Hunt.
Marsha Hunt had come in contact with Tony London through a mutual friend from early Hollywood film, Gloria Jean. When Marsha heard recordings of Tony, she became a devoted fan, and would eventually become great friends with the young singer. Ultimately, it was Marsha Hunt who'd introduced Tony to Page Cavanaugh, and when Tony was invited to sit in with Page during a show, the combination of this singer and Mr. Cavanaugh brought the house down. The audience roared, and when the evening closed, Page declared his respect and interest to record with Tony. Within weeks, Marsha Hunt had arranged for the two to team up and begin recording. From that session came a real magic... an experience unlike others, and the music they made together are the last documented recordings of the great Page Cavanaugh to ever be released to the public.