Pop and Jazz singer Buddy Greco has died at the age of 90.
Friend Barb Donahue announced Buddy’s passing on Facebook:
It is with extreme sadness that I am writing this. Buddy Greco, a dear friend, an incredible entertainer and the fifth member of the ‘Rat Pack’ passed away this morning at 6:45am. Of course, his beautiful wife Lezlie is devastated…
As of this time, there will be no memorial service. On August 13th, 2016, we had a HUGE birthday party to celebrate Buddy’s 90th birthday and that is what Lezlie wants everyone to remember… The man with the magic fingers and the smooth, sexy voice.
Buddy Greco, you will be missed…
Greco was another in a long line of popular singers that came out of Philadelphia where he was born in 1926. He started playing piano at 4 and, by the time he hit his early teens, was playing in clubs around the city.
At 16, Benny Goodman hired Greco to sing, play piano and arrange for the band, staying until he was 20.
In 1947, Greco had his first national hit with Ooh! Look-A There, Ain’t She Pretty (1947 / #15) and followed four years later with I Ran All the Way Home (1951 / #30). He also released the first of over sixty albums in 1956 with Buddy Greco at Mr. Kelly’s.
Greco continued to have hits throughout the sixties, mainly on the Adult Contemporary chart, including the original version of Mr. Lonely (1962 / #64), Love’s Gonna Live Here (1967 / #19 AC) and There She Goes (1967 / #14 AC). His best known hit, The Lady is a Tramp, never charted in the U.S. but went to 26 in the U.K. and eventually sold over a million copies.
He also started working in both movies (The Girl Who Knew Too Much) and television, especially on the variety shows of the day.
Still, even with success, Greco never became a top class headliner. He was close with the members of the Rat Pack and would occasionally sit in with them but his solo performances were normally relegated to the lounges and secondary stages in places like Las Vegas. During the 60’s, Sinatra signed him to his new label, Reprise, where Greco continued to make jazz and pop-oriented records.
Throughout the rest of his career, Greco continued to tour and did regular stints in Las Vegas where he met his fifth and last wife, Lezlie Anders, in 1992 (they married three years later). The two regularly performed together in the ensuing years. Later in life, he and Anders moved to Palm Springs and opened Buddy Greco’s Dinner Club.