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Bob Bain

Bob Bain earned his place as the number one guitarist for many Hollywood studios in the 1950s and ’60s. He played on countless jingles, albums, and soundtracks for television and movies. There were also many years of live radio.

Records by Frank Sinatra, including "Young At Heart" and "I’ve Got You Under My Skin", featured Bain on guitar, as did records with his favorite male vocalist, Nat King Cole including "Unforgettable". He also played on albums by Mel Torme, Peggy Lee, and Rosemary Clooney.

In the ’70s, a young, talented crowd of guitarists raised their axes and slowly began to dominate. Bain continued to record, write, arrange, produce and for 22 years he held the guitar chair for one of the greatest television orchestras of all time " The Tonight Show Band. Through the years, Bain’s talent, respect, and generosity opened the doors for many other studio guitarists, arrangers, and musicians.

Bain was playing with the Phil Moore band, when a record date for bebop. Frank Sinatra wanted to record a bop record, so they decided Phil’s group was the one. So we did this record with Sinatra called "Bop Goes My Heart", a sort of novelty bop recording. Sinatra had a little trouble hitting the flatted fifth.

They worked at places like The Macambo, on the Sunset Strip and La Papillon. When Phil worked there, Howard Hughes had the best table in the house, and it was reserved every night for him. Nobody ever sat at that table. No matter how crowded the place was, that table was empty. One memorable night, about midnight, Hughes, wearing a sports coat, tie, and tennis shoes, sat at the table. He requested "I’m Gonna Take A Slow Boat To China", which the group played straight away. Hughes stayed about 30 minutes, then left.

When World War II began, Bain ended up in a U.S.O. group in Europe with actor George Raft and singers Louise Albritton and June Clyde. The troupe toured England and North Africa, and spent time in Italy. George fell ill and returned home, but Bain and the ladies stayed.

Bain eventually came home, and in late 1945, he received a call from guitarist Dave Barbour. Dave played in the Benny Goodman Band and later married the band’s singer, Peggy Lee. He also worked with xylophonist Red Norvo and his sextet. Barbour told Bain he was working with Tommy Dorsey at the Casino Gardens in Los Angeles, and that he was going to stay in town when the band went on the road. Barbour arranged for Bain to sit in with the band one night and when Dorsey asked if he would like to play with the band, Bain responded with a resounding, “Sure!” He finished the remaining eight weeks at the Casino Gardens and went out on the road. Included in that band was Nelson Riddle on trombone, Buddy DeFranco on clarinet, and Buddy Rich on drums.

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Guitar De Amor

Atlantic Records


Latin Love

Atlantic Records


Fender Bender

Atlantic Records



José James
voice / vocals

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