Read more Chattanooga History Columns
- Gaston: Paul John Kruesi was Edison's right-hand man
- Robbins: The old Richardson's house and the Civil War
- Gaston: James Williams was a man of the world
- Raney: Mason Evans, the 'Wild Man of the Chilhowee'
- Gaston: The legacy of Adolph Ochs endures
- Martin: Ed Johnson said, 'I have a changed heart,' the day before his lynching in Chattanooga on 1906
- Thomas: The inventiveness of Judge Michael M. Allison
- Moore: Chattanooga's first Chinese community
- Summers, Robbins: Chattanooga's Tuskegee Airman - Joseph C. White
- McCallie: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 says so!
- Gaston: John McCline's Civil War - from slave to D.C. parade
- Raney: Exploring Chattanooga businesses in the Green Book
- Elliott: Remembering the Freedmen's Bureau in Chattanooga
- Gaston: Nancy Ward was a beloved, respected Tennessean
- Martin: Prohibition - the noble experiment
- Elliott: 'A shameful, disgraceful deed': The destruction of the Sewanee cornerstone
- Gaston: Robert Cravens was ironmaster, Chattanooga area's first commuter
- Robbins: Dr. T.H. McCallie's Christmas 1863
- Robbins: Journalist writes of a trip to Missionary Ridge in 1896
- Summers, Robbins: Mine 21 disaster - gone but not forgotten
- Elliott: Collegedale incorporates to avoid Sunday 'blue laws'
- Gaston: 'Marse Henry' Watterson's journalism fame began in Chattanooga
- Robbins: Orchard Knob battle recalled in 1895
- Elliott: Chattanoogans joined in an 'orgy of joy and gladness' on Armistice Day, 1918
- Thomas: Noted service, speakers are marks of Rotary Club of Chattanooga since 1914
- Summers and Robbins: Remembering noted Tennessee author North Callahan
- Raney: 'I auto cry, I auto laugh, I auto sign my autograph'
- Gaston: Sequoyah's alphabet enriched Cherokees
- Robbins: A look at Sam Divine's life during the Civil War
- Robbins: Memories of a Confederate nurse
- Robbins: More notes from Bradford Torrey's 1895 visit to Chickamauga Battlefield
- Robbins: Journalist in 1895 details visit to Chickamauga Battlefield
- Elliott: Telephone exchange firebombing was distraction for grocery store robbery
- Gaston: Worcester brought Christ's message to Cherokee at Brainerd Mission
- Robbins: 1896 travel diary: 'A Week on Walden's Ridge'
- Gaston: Elizabeth Strayhorn, WAC Commandant at Fort Oglethorpe
- Robbins: The history of the Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park
- Moore: Do you own a Sears Roebuck home?
- Summers and Robbins: Camp Nathan Bedford Forrest in World War II
- Gaston: Hiram Sanborn Chamberlain remembered
- Elliott: Daisy the center of tile, ceramic manufacturing in Hamilton County
- Gaston: FDR inaugurates the Chickamauga Dam
- Summers, Robbins: Interned WWII Germans had it easy at Camp Crossville
- Elliott: A war correspondent on Lookout Mountain
- Gaston: Chickamaugas finally bury hatchet in Tennessee Valley
- Gaston: Chickamaugas in Chattanooga
- Robbins: The history of the Riverbend festival
- Raney: Sadie Watson, the first woman elected in Hamilton County government
- Moore: Remembering Chattanooga's Hawkinsville community
- Elliott: Welsh coal miners transformed Soddy after the Civil War
- Gaston: Chattanooga's best-kept secret
- Elliott: Cabell Breckinridge loses his horse
- Raney: Martin Fleming is the people's judge
- Gaston: The amazing career of Francis Lynde
- Martin: Hamilton County's Name Sake: Alexander Hamilton
- Summers, Robbins: The crosses at Sewanee
- Bledsoe: The fiery truce at Kennesaw Mountain
- Moore: Talented architect's life cut short by tragedy
- Rydell: Chattanooga's place in soccer history
- Robbins: Tennessee Coal, member of the First Dow Jones Industrial Average
- Raney: In the barber chair
- Lanier: Becoming the Boyce Station Neighborhood Association
- McCallie: John P. Franklin: Living history among us
- Barr: Chattanooga's first railroad: The Underground Railroad
- Summers, Robbins: Charles Bartlett was a Pulitzer Prize winner, Kennedy confidant
- Rainey: 'We have seen it'
- Elliott: Feinting and fighting at Running Water Creek and Johnson's Crook
- Gaston: The Spring Frog Cabin at Audubon Acres
- Raney: Wauhatchie Pike was moonshine motorway
- Robbins: Oakmont was home of venerable Williams clan
- Summers and Robbins: Rebirth of the Mountain Goat Line
- Elliott: Bad investments led to Soddy Bank failure in 1930
- Summers and Robbins: Pearl Harbor attack left football behind
- Gaston: Jolly’s Island namesake had long ties with Sam Houston
- Return Jonathan Meigs, Indian Agent
- Moore: Did you know about St. Elmo's other two cemeteries?
- Summers: Orme - Marion County's almost lost community
- Davis: Spooky revival at Sharp Mountain in 1873
- Robbins: The story of Longholm
- Raney: Women labored to help the U.S. win World War I
- Even in the city, the 'wheel' changed everything
- Murray: Confederate dilemma after Chickamauga
- J.B. Collins — Newsman extraordinaire
- Robbins: The Story of the Lyndhurst Mansion
- Chattanooga artist and wife lost on the Lusitania
- Chattanooga History Column: Battelle, Alabama and the Battelle Institute
- John Ross, a founder of Chattanooga
- Hamilton County casualties in World War I
- Chattanooga Power Couple
- 'Somewhere in France'
- The Ray Moss family
- Battery B from Chattanooga
- Ulysses S. Grant, Clark B. Lagow, and the Chattanooga Bender
- Songbirds Museum Timeline
- Hamilton County World War 1 roster
- The Soddy Girl and the Memphis Belle
- Blues icon Bessie Smith was the Empress of Soul
- Women's Army Corps at Chickamauga
- Emma Bell Miles' life at the top of the 'W'
- The Tivoli Wurlitzer is one of Chattanooga's priceless assets
- Chattanooga in struggle for freedom during Civil War
- October 1918, Chattanooga paralyzed by Spanish flu epidemic
- Eli Lilly and the Ditch of Death
- One hundred years ago, Chattanooga goes to war
- The legacy of Anna Safley Houston
- Harriet Whiteside was ahead of her time
- Southern Adventist University
- Chattanooga native's writings aided Civil Rights movement
- Zion College, Chattanooga's only African American College
- The North Shore's hidden past
- Mayme Martin -- Businesswoman and community leader
- Thomas Sim's epic struggle for freedom
- Top of Cameron Hill was price of rerouting interstate
- Cameron Hill has rich history
- Temperance movement included Harriman university
- The sweetest music this side of Heaven
- Conquistadors at Chattanooga
- Chattanooga and the 'General'
- Chattanooga's first Thanksgiving, 1863
- Chattanooga's greatest flood caught city unaware
- Opening the Cracker Line
- European trip in 1900 enlightens Sophia Scholze Long
- Sophia Scholze Long spoke out when others were silent
- Little South Pittsburg and its big silent movie stars
- Lot attendant recalls hottest job in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga's Forest Hills is final resting place for known, unknown
- Burritt College -- Pioneer of the Cumberlands
- Chattanooga's nicknames trace city's evolution
- The 25th annual meeting of the Tennessee Press Association
- Clemons Brothers Furniture Store
- The Short Life of the USS Chattanooga
- Ellen Jarnagin McCallie lived a truly remarkable life
- Dr. Jonathan Bachman was a revered city father
- Second guessing the Confederate failure on Missionary Ridge
- Nancy Kefauver, ambassador for the arts
- William Gibbs McAdoo kept his Southern roots
- Chattanooga's Secretary of the Treasury
- Howard Baker remembered as a statesman/photographer who snapped history
- Tivoli's last picture show
- The history of one of Chattanooga's oldest businesses
- Chattanooga's roller derby skaters
- Myths of Coca-Cola in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga's neighborhood grocery stores
- The tale of the Scottsboro Boys
- The people's history of Chattanooga
- Howard School is Chattanooga's reminder of Reconstruction
- Elevator operator, painter, mystery man: meet Rice Carothers
- Raulston Schoolfield made enemies amid his rise to power
- Website lets users peer into Chattanooga's past
- The flood of 1917
- Chattanooga's 'wickedest woman' buried at Forest Hills
- History of Cummings Highway
"Guy Lombardo, Royal Canadians Bring 'Big Band' Sound to Tivoli," heralded the April 24, 1969, Chattanooga Times article, which described the near-capacity crowd enjoying one of the last big bands of the 1930s.
Lombardo and his 12-piece band played a number of old hits including "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street" and "Boo Hoo" mixed with two current selections from "The Graduate," including "Mrs. Robinson" and "Scarborough Fair." The article noted, "The old maestro once again proved that his music was of timeless quality."
Gaetano Alberto "Guy" Lombardo was born in 1902 to Italian immigrants in London, Ontario. His father, a tailor and amateur singer, had his four sons learn to play instruments to accompany him. Guy first performed in public at a church lawn party in his hometown in 1914 and later began recording with his three brothers, Lebert, Carmen and Vector. Trained as a violinist, Guy soon became the leader and conductor of Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians.
The Lombardo orchestra sold well over 100 million records during the band's lifetime on labels including Brunswick, Vocalion, Columbia, Decca, RCA and Victor.
From 1927 to 1940 the band had more than 21 top hits on the American Billboard single charts. From 1956 to 1959 the Lombardo band played live on the CBS television network. Fans of rap, video game and other forms of modern music have derided Lombardo as "King of Corn." However, Louis Armstrong constantly cited the Lombardo band as his favorite for purity of innovation.
The Royal Canadians were the featured orchestra at two of New York City's prominent hotels, the Roosevelt Grill from 1927 until 1959, then the Waldorf Astoria until 1976. Their playing of 18th-century poet Robert Burns' sentimental song "Auld Lang Syne" on New Year's Eve became an American tradition.
Remote broadcasts from those New York City hotels at midnight were aired live throughout the country, first on radio and then on television. Even today, the playing of "Auld Land Syne" ushers in the New Year at venues throughout the United States and overseas.
The late Jac Chambliss, Chattanooga attorney, philosopher and public servant, had a vivid recollection of the Guy Lombardo performances at the Tivoli Theatre. In his 2006, "Columns Left, Essayettes of a 20th Century Man," Chambliss remarked that "he was swept away by the cool woodwinds, the sharp brasses and the rhythm into what Yeats might have called a dreamy quiet delight."
From the mid-1940s until the late 1950s, Lombardo pursued hydroplane speedboat racing. He won most of the major championships and became the reigning United States national champion. Highlights of his racing career included winning the Gold Cup in 1946, the Ford Memorial race in 1948, and the Silver Cup and Presidents Cup in 1952.
Among Lombardo's many business interests was an investment in the manufacture and sale of fiberglass boats, which achieved only minimal success.
Throughout the years, Lombardo engaged in a variety of musical ventures. He and his band were in the 1934 comedy movie, "Many Happy Returns," starring George Burns and Gracie Allen. The Lombardo band also had its own television and radio shows, including a summer replacement radio show for comedian Jack Benny.
After moving to Freeport Long Island, N.Y., Lombardo became an investor in a local seafood restaurant as well as a promoter and musical director of the Jones Beach Marine Theater. His final production at the facility was "Finnian's Rainbow."
He died of a heart attack at the Houston Methodist Hospital in 1977 at age 75.
Efforts to preserve the bandleader's legacy have had mixed results. A museum named in his honor in London, Ontario, closed because of low attendance and insufficient funding.
Many of the artifacts from the museum were sold by its curator over the objections of the Lombardo family. Fortunately, descendants of Lebert Lombardo have preserved many items. The Library of Congress has a collection of Lombardo films.
The famed musician has been recognized with multiple stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, Calif., and one star in Canada's Hall of Fame.
Regardless of what happens to the artifacts, Chattanoogans who attended the Tivoli concerts will fondly recall the sounds of the "Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven" played by one of America's top dance bands.
Jerry Summers is an attorney with Summers, Rodgers, and Rufolo. Frank (Mickey)Robbins is an investment adviser with Patten and Patten. For more, visit chattahistoricalassoc.org.