Well, next Tuesday night at 12 a.m., we will be ringing in not only a new year but a new decade: the 2020s. And over the years, there have been lots of talented people associated with New Year’s Eve events on radio and TV…and one of them was Guy Lombardo.
Lombardo (1902-1977) was a Canadian/American bandleader and a violinist. With his brothers, he formed the Royal Canadians in 1924. During their career, they are believed to have sold somewhere between 100 and 300 million records. Lombardo and his band appeared on both network radio and television, with their first New Year’s Eve radio broadcast in 1928, live on the CBS Radio Network before 12 a.m. ET, then on the NBC Radio Network after midnight. They did their first New Year’s TV special on CBS on December 31, 1956, but by the mid-1970s, they faced stiff competition from Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC. By 1976, their network run was over.
Our clip today is from Lombardo’s New Year’s Eve show from December 31, 1974. It’s audio only but it is really good! It aired live on the CBS Television Network from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Also included is a clip from CBC Radio from a few days earlier, featuring his music.