Blue Barron

For information about Blue Barron himself (see photo, left) and his orchestra, you can do little better than to read Christopher Poper's article on the subject.

Just as an addendum, Freidman (Blue Barron) died in July, 2005, aged 91.

Bobby Beers

But what about the singer, Bobby Beers (see photo, right)? Well, he started out as something of a child wonder, singing at the age of eight with Lawrence Welk. He was spotted by Hollywood and played the role of Ray Milland as a boy in the film, Lady In The Dark. During the Second World War, he served in the navy and after service rejoined Welk's orchestra, staying with it until 1947. He then became the vocalist of the Blue Barron's orchestra and also handled the public relations for that band. In 1955 he became a disk jockey with the KOSI station in Denver.

mccormick, john2

And then there's John McCormick (see photo, left), the man who performs the recitation. As far as I can ascertain (and, please, contact me if you feel I am mistaken), John McCormick was a disk jockey on radio station KMOX in Saint Louis, Missouri, where he was known as, The Man Who Walks and Talks at Midnight.

Many commentators state that Elvis's version was based on this recording. Nonsense. Nobody knows who or what influenced Elvis in his recording of any number, let alone AYLT. Only one person can tell us that, and he's dead.

Blue Barron's recording was released in early 1950 (an advert for it appeared in Billboard in April of that year), but I have been unable to discover the exact date of the recording.

Label of MGM 10628, Are You Lonesome To-night? by Blue Barron and His Orchestra

This was the first recording to use the narrative. It had vocals by Bobby Beers and the Blue Notes, with the narration by John McCormick.

© David Neale 2020