Singer Buddy Greco, whose career stretched back more than 70 years, died yesterday (Jan. 10) in Las Vegas. No cause of death was reported.
Born Armando Greco in Philadelphia on Aug. 14, 1926, the singer was only 16 when he was hired by the clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman, with whom he spent four years, playing piano and arranging as well as serving as the orchestra’s vocalist.
After leaving Goodman’s band, Greco went out on his own, performing in nightclubs and making records. His first hit, “Ooh! Look-a-There, Ain’t She Pretty?,” came in 1947, and was followed by several others, for labels such as Coral and Epic. His signature song was his 1962 version of Rodgers and Hart’s “The Lady Is a Tramp.” Although it never charted in Billboard, the single reportedly sold more than a million copies.
He also recorded over 60 albums during his career, for numerous labels including Epic, Reprise, Pye and Prestige, and although none ever charted in Billboard he remained a popular concert draw throughout his career.
Related: Frank Sinatra Jr. dies
Greco was particularly popular in the U.K. and moved there for some time beginning in the late 1940s. He returned there often even after moving back to the U.S., and as recently as 2013 he was still performing in nightclubs and concert halls in London. A couple of years before that, he appeared on the British program Jools Holland’s Hootenanny singing “Fly Me to the Moon,” backed by Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.
By the 1960s, Greco had expanded beyond recordings and live performances into television and film. In the early ’90s, he began performing regularly in Las Vegas, where his career underwent a revival. He met his fifth wife, Lezlie Anders, there and they toured together.
Watch Buddy Greco, with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., sing “The Lady is a Tramp”