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James Melton

With a clean-behind-the-ears demeanor similar to that of Richard Crooks, John Charles Thomas, or Nelson Eddy, concert and operatic tenor James Melton usually catered to what has been described as a "musically middlebrow audience," emitting romantic airs and popular ballads with sugary precision. He was born on January 2, 1904, in Moultrie, GA. His parents, who were both musicians, raised him in Citra, FL, where he handled melons and hogs. In 1920, he graduated from high school in Ocala, then attended a series of colleges in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. He received vocal instruction from Gaetano de Luca in Nashville from 1923 to 1927, then moved to New York where he studied with Beniamino Gigli's teacher, Enrico Rosati. Melton also dabbled in dance band activities, blowing saxophone in a college jazz ensemble and performing with Francis Craig's Orchestra in Atlanta in 1926. The following year he landed in New York City and began singing on the radio without getting paid. He joined Roxy's Gang, a cabaret group led by Roxy Rothafel, worked with the Sieberling Singers, and made records for Victor singing second tenor with the Revelers and for Columbia with the same group under the pseudonym of the Singing Sophomores. His first recordings under his own name were made for Columbia in the autumn of 1927. Melton received further voice training from pianist Michael Raucheisen in Berlin, gave his first concert performance at Town Hall in New York on April 22, 1932, and embarked on a U.S. and Canadian concert tour with George Gershwin in 1934. Melton continued to perform on the radio, as a "Voice of Firestone" on The Firestone Hour beginning in 1933; on Ward's Family Theater in 1935; The Sealtest Sunday Night Party in 1936; The Palmolive Beauty Box Theater in 1937; The Song Shop in 1938; The Telephone Hour in 1940; and The Star Theater in 1944. He also appeared in movies, including Stars Over Broadway (1935), Sing Me a Love Song (1936), Melody for Two (1937), and the 1944 MGM all-star motion picture revue Ziegfeld Follies. After intensive voice training with Angelo Canarutto, Melton's operatic career took off in 1938 when he appeared with the Cincinnati Zoo Opera Company as Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly and with the St. Louis Opera Company as Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata. He worked with the Chicago Civic Opera from 1940 to 1942, appearing with Helen Jepson in Butterfly; with Lily Pons in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; and in Flotow's Martha. In December 1942, Melton debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York as Tamino in Mozart's Magic Flute. Continuing to perform at the Met through 1947, Melton spent the 1950s making records, singing in nightclubs, appearing on television, and collecting rare automobiles. His last noteworthy stage production was Sigmund Romberg's The Student Prince. He passed away in New York City on April 21, 1961. ~ arwulf arwulf
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Top 100 Classics - The Very Best of James Melton

1. Ramona

2. September In The Rain

3. Make Believe

4. Sleepy Valley

5. Love Is Like A Breeze In May

6. La Traviata Duet

7. With A Song In My Heart

8. A Little House That Love Built

9. The Lords Prayer

10. Pagan Love Song

11. Vogliatemi Bene

12. Play Gypsies Dance Gypsies

13. Schubert Serenade

14. In Fernem Land

15. Yours Is My Heart Alone

16. Liebestraum

17. I'll See You Again

18. Che Gelida Manina

19. Student Prince Serenade

20. You Are Love

21. Pragi O Cari

22. Verranno A Te Sullaure

23. Strange Music

24. Le Reve

25. Without A Song

26. Old Man River

27. O Lola

28. The Way You Look Tonight

29. Korngold

30. Una Furtiva Lagrima

31. I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen

32. The Shepherds Serenade

33. Now You're In My Arms

34. Roses Of Picardy

35. I Hear You Calling Me

36. A Year From Today

37. The Sunshine Of Your Smile

38. Mother Of Mine

39. Among My Souvenirs

40. Torna Sorrento

41. God Bless America

42. Our Waltz

43. One Little Word

44. Gypsy Sweetheart

45. Addio Fiorito Asil

46. She Moved Through The Fair

47. Sally

48. Little Pal

49. Why Can't You

50. The Song I Love

51. Little Boy Blue

52. La Parie

53. Laura

54. Blue Is The Night

55. Diane

56. All Through The Day

57. Were You Just Pretending

58. Deep In Your Eyes

59. Marcheta

60. Ich Liebe Dich

61. Love Your Spell Is Everywhere

62. The Eagle And Me

63. Bess Where Is My Bess

64. Neapolitan Nights

65. Ave Maria

66. There's Danger In Your Eyes Cherie

67. Beautiful Love

68. Your Eyes Have Told Me So

69. Close As Pages In A Book

70. Oklahoma

71. I'll Still Go On Wanting You

72. Vesti La Guibba

73. Sally Of My Dreams

74. Tell Me Tonight

75. My Heart Stood Still

76. My Tonia

77. I'm Only Making Believe

78. Love Is A Dreamer

79. Angela Mia

80. Rose of the World

81. E Lucevan Le Stelle

82. Chant Of The Jungle

83. Romance

84. Siboney

85. Its A Grand Night For Singing

86. Ah Fuyez, Douce Image

87. Dear, On A Night Like This

88. Great Day

89. At Close Of Day

90. Because

91. The Legend

92. Where Am I (Am I in Heaven)

93. Summer Night

94. Just A Bundle Of Old Love Letters

95. Mattinata

96. O Columbine

97. Why Do I Love You

98. Brazil

99. Do Not Go My Love

100. Summertime

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Track List: Papa Mojo's Road House

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Track List: Souvenirs

1. Among My Souvenirs

2. Dear, On A Night Like This

3. Where Is The Song Of Songs For Me

4. With A Song In My Heart

5. Sleepy Valley

6. Pagan Love Song

7. Love Is A Dreamer

8. There's Danger In Your Eyes, Cherie

9. Happy Feet

10. You Are Love

11. Make Believe

12. Deep In Your Eyes

13. I May Never Pass This Way Again

14. Short'nin' Bread

15. Carry Me Back To The Lone Prairie

16. Where Am I ? Am I In Heaven ?

17. A Little House That Love Built

18. Summer Night

19. September In The Rain

20. All Through The Day

21. One Little Word

22. Love Is Like A Breeze In May

23. O Image, Angel-Like And Fair

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for the people who enjoy his music, he's here to stay!
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Where is he????

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