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Rainy Day Relaxation Road Trip. Romantic Evening Sex All Themes. Over the course of his long and distinguished career, he was also a popular soundtrack composer, a conductor, a trombonist, and an occasional hitmaker in his own right. He worked with many of the major pop vocalists of his day, but it was his immortal work with Frank Sinatra , particularly on the singer's justly revered Capitol concept albums, that cemented Riddle 's enduring legacy.
Riddle was a master of mood and subtlety, and an expert at drawing out a song's emotional subtext. He was highly versatile in terms of style, mood, and tempo, and packed his charts full of rhythmic and melodic variations and rich tonal colors that blended seamlessly behind the lead vocal line. He often wrote specifically for individual vocalists, keeping their strengths and limitations in mind and pushing them to deliver emotionally resonant performances.
As such, Riddle was perfectly suited to the task of framing vocal interpreters, as opposed to just singers; he was most in sync with the more nuanced and artistically ambitious vocalists, like Sinatra. Riddle knew how to lay back and bring certain lyrics or vocal subtleties to the forefront, and how to add countermelodies that emphasized other lyrics, or made important transitions.
He could draw the listener in with catchy embellishments, challenge them with adventurous harmonies, and build to climaxes that faded into surprisingly restrained endings.
In short, Riddle was everything a top-notch singer could ask for. His father was an amateur musician who performed in a local band, and Riddle learned classical piano as a child, later switching to trombone at age Debussy and Ravel were favorites early on, though he also listened to pop music and big-band swing.
In , he joined Jerry Wald 's dance orchestra as trombonist and arranger; the following year, he moved on to Charlie Spivak 's band, leaving to join the merchant marine in Joe Smith, the president of Elektra, was terrified that the albums would turn off the rock audience. The three albums together sold over seven million copies  and brought Riddle back to a young audience during the last three years of his life.
On January 19, , Riddle conducted at the nationally televised 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala, the day before the second inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Working with Ronstadt, Riddle brought his career back into focus in the last three years of his life. In the decade prior to Beatlemania, most of the great band singers and crooners of the 40s and 50s codified a half-century of American pop standards on dozens of albums Riddle's third and final Grammy was awarded posthumously—and accepted on his behalf by Linda Ronstadt just prior to airtime—in early Ronstadt subsequently presented the evening's first on-air award, at which time she narrated a tribute to the departed maestro.
Riddle married his first wife, Doreen Moran, in , while in the Army. The couple had six children. Riddle had an extra-marital affair with singer Rosemary Clooney in the s, which contributed to the breakup of their respective marriages. A few months later he married Naomi Tenenholtz, then his secretary, with whom he would remain for the rest of his life.
Riddle's children are dispersed between the east and west coasts of the United States, with Nelson Jr. Riddle's eldest daughter, Rosemary, is the trustee of the Nelson Riddle Trust. Riddle was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia , the national fraternity for men in music.
In , Riddle died in Los Angeles, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center , at age 64 of cardiac and kidney failure as a result of cirrhosis of the liver, with which he had been diagnosed five years earlier. Following Riddle's death, his last three arrangements for Ronstadt's For Sentimental Reasons album were conducted by Terry Woodson; the album was released in In February , Riddle's youngest son Christopher, himself an accomplished bass trombonist, assumed the leadership of his father's orchestra.
Following the death of Riddle's second wife Naomi in , proceeds from the sale of the Riddle home in Bel Air were used to establish a Nelson Riddle Endowed Chair and library at the University of Arizona , which officially opened in The album showcased expanded orchestral adaptations of the original arrangements provided by the Nelson Riddle Archives, and was presented in a state-of-the-art digital recording that was among the first titles to be released on multi-channel SACD.
Riddle had composed most of the incidental music for Newhart , and the show's 71st episode was dedicated to his memory. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Nelson Riddle. Main article: Nelson Riddle discography. Accessed October 17, His father played trombone and piano and encouraged his son to take music lessons at an early age.Nelson Riddle was quite possibly the greatest arranger in the history of American popular music. Over the course of his long and distinguished career, he was also a popular soundtrack composer, a conductor, a trombonist, and an occasional hitmaker in his own right. He worked with many of the major p. Available with an Apple Music subscription.