For a period of time beginning in the late 1950s, trumpeter Don Cherry was one of the most influential jazz artists around — but he wasn’t the only guy with that name making his mark in the music world. We’re here to talk about the other Don Cherry.
Pop vocalist Don Cherry came out of Texas in the 1940’s and began to find success via the same route followed by many others in that era — as a big band singer. A short stint as the lead singer for Jan garber was followed by periods in the bands of Victor Young and Tommy Dorsey, and recording contracts soon followed for the young singer.
Over the next few years he began to sell some records with songs like “Mona Lisa,” followed by “Thinking Of You,” but it wasn’t until 1955 that he really struck gold. In fact, the title of the song was “Band Of Gold,” and it was to be his biggest hit. He soon followed up with several records, including “Wild Cherry” and “Namely You,” but never duplicated the huge sales of his first hit.
However, Don was firmly established in the business and in the decades since has appeared in many different venues, from TV variety shows to clubs in Vegas and elsewhere. He’s also maintained many good friendships, including one with Dean Martin until that star’s death. A gifted amateur golfer (who even turned pro for a while), Don has also had a long friendship with golfing legend Arnold Palmer.
Don is now in his eighties but is still very active, and maintains a nice website for his fans. He has also published an autobiography (Cherry’s Jubilee) and recently collaborated with Willie Nelson on a musical venture. Sounds like he has no plans to slow down anytime soon.