Billy Vaughn Biography

Born: 12 April 1919, Glasgow, Kentucky, USA.

Died: 26 September 1991, Escondido, California, USA.

"Billy" Vaughn was a singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger, conductor, choral and orchestral leader.

Vaughn was known as "Billy" from a very early age and began his musical career as a pianist in the Western Kentucky student group The Hilltoppers, who took their name from the local college basketball team. Vaughn was the songwriter of the foursome, performing along with lead singer Jimmy Sacca and harmonizers Donald McGuire and Seymour Spiegelman.

After recording a song, "Trying", that had some regional airplay success it got to the attention of Randy Wood who signed the quartet to Dot Records and re-recorded the song in 1952 (Dot 15018). This single was a slow mover but, after an appearance on US TV's Ed Sullivan Show, it eventually peaked at #7 on the national pop charts. The group had a subsequent success with "P.S. I Love You" that climbed to #4 in the charts in 1953.

Vaughn left the group in 1954 to pursue a career in orchestral arrangement, working as the musical director for Dot Records in Tennessee and as the leader of an orchestra which provided backing for a host of vocal acts over the years, such as the Fontane Sisters, Gale Storm, Nick Todd and Pat Boone. Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra also released a number of recordings in their own right, mostly covering popular chart hits. In 1965 Vaughn's orchestra did a number of successful sell-out tours, encompassing Brazil, Korea and Japan. Vaughn died aged 72 of mesothelioma in 1991 at Palomar Hospital, Escondido, California.

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