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Peter Nero

Peter Nero (born Bernard Nierow, 1934, Brooklyn) is a pianist and New York native who started with Paul Whiteman, then moved up to symphony until the early '60s, when RCA Victor signed him and successfully promoted him into a pop music interpreter. He won the 1961 Grammy for Best New Artist. His lush orchestrated albums continued through the early '70s, when he returned to a harder jazz format, recording with a trio.

Nierow began playing piano as child, learning the instrument quite rapidly; by the age of 11, he was playing Haydn concertos. However, he was restless and quickly grew tired of classical music, becoming infatuated with jazz as a teenager. In fact, after Nierow finished studying music at Brooklyn College, he became a jazz pianist. However, instead of playing straight jazz, he created a swinging hybrid of jazz and classical music.

Nierow didn't have much success as a performer, which meant he had to take a gig as a saloon pianist in a New York club called the Hickory House. Unsatisfied with the comprimises he was making at the club, he headed out to Las Vegas, where he didn't find much success. He returned to New York, taking a lesser job at the Hickory House. For several years, he played New York's club circuit before he came to the attention of Stan Greeson, an executive at RCA Records. Convinced that Nierow had star potential, Greeson signed the pianist and had him change his name to Peter Nero; he also persuaded Nero to add pop songs like "Over the Rainbow" to his repertoire.

Piano Forte, Peter Nero's first album, was released in 1961 and he began touring the country. That same year, he won the Grammy for Best New Artist. Nero's popularity continued to rise throughout the early '60s; his jazzy hybrid of pop, classical, swing, and bop became one of the most popular mainstream sounds of the era. Eventually, he became the musical director of the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra, where he frequently performed classical arrangements of pop songs. In the '70s, he returned to playing jazz in trios, though he still made orchestral records occasionally. ~ Cub Koda
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Keys To Relaxation - The Best Of Peter Nero

1. Stardust - Instrumental

2. When I Fall In Love

3. All The Things You Are

4. As Long As He Needs Me

5. For Once In My Life

6. Hey Jude

7. My Funny Valentine

8. Unforgettable

9. We've Only Just Begun

10. The Shadow Of Your Smile

11. The Look Of Love

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Track List: Hail The Conquering Nero / New Piano In Town

1. Midnight In Moscow

2. When The World Was Young

3. My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean

4. What Kind Of Fool Am I

5. Continental Holiday

6. Granada

7. Never On Sunday

8. Londonderry Air

9. Anna

10. Strange Music

11. Gloomy Sunday

13. Mountain Greenery

14. Maria

15. Slow Boat To China

16. Bess, You Is My Woman Now

17. On The Street Where You Live

18. St. Louis Blues

19. Three Coins In The Fountain

20. Just One Of Those Things

21. Stormy Weather

22. Long Ago (And Far Away)

23. Tea For Two

24. Body And Soul

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Track List: Love Songs For A Rainy Day

1. Here's That Rainy Day

2. All I Ask Of You

3. As Long As He Needs Me

4. The Summer Knows (Theme From The Summer Of '42)

5. Always

6. Somewhere Out There

7. Stella By Starlight

8. Just The Way You Are

9. I Will Love You Always

10. Misty

11. The Shadow Of Your Smile

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Track List: Peter Nero & Friends: It Had To Be You

1. On The Street Where You Live

2. Someone To Watch Over Me

3. My Funny Valentine

4. I'll Be Seeing You

5. Smile

6. As Time Goes By

7. It Had To Be You

8. Stardust

9. Long Ago And Far Away

10. When I Fall In Love

11. Stormy Weather

12. All The Things You Are

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Track List: Greatest Hits

1. Love Theme From "Romeo And Juliet" (A Time For Us)

2. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life

3. The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face)

4. For Once In My Life

5. Theme From "Summer Of 42"

6. Theme From "Love Story"

7. I've Gotta Be Me

8. You've Got A Friend

9. Something

10. Love Theme From "The Godfather"

Comments

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dragonlady60 8 8
Impressive comments!!!!
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I have good memories of working overnights at a beautiful music format radio station in the early 1980s. Peter Nero is certainly one of the reasons for my continuing fondness for the genre.
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carolbeelynx
The memories this brings back. Makes me melancholy! But wonderful too.
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a regular sound in my studio. He is welcome to stop by anytime....
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I love playing this on the piano! When Peter Nero plays this song, his performance is "Exquisite ". What an impressive maestro !!! ✨✨✨✨
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This song is completely Awesome!!!! ❤️
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Always enjoyed Nero's playing. Great chops- Certainly among the great ones that should not be forgotten.( Love Stardust rendition)
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Theme from Summer of 42 - Pete Nero off his Greatest Hits; always a pleasure to hear this haunting tune, especially this version. Vision grabs from the movie waft back; Dorothy and Hermie and particularly enjoyed the voice overs at the start and end of the movie.
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edpyle
Similar to Oscar Peterson? Uh....no!
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What a talent
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LOST IN TIME... Beautiful... Music
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Out of sight,,,wow!
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Natural talent was trampled under by electric noise.
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Wow when men were Men
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I have lucky enough to sing with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops in the "holiday at the Pops" at The Verizon hall in the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia ! Peter is a great Maestro of both classics and jazz ! He is also quite a gentleman, and very kind to the people that he works with! Miss his chops! With the Pops!
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ruthrobertso n
Beautiful !!!!!!!
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The movie "Sunday in New York" I was as a teenager introduced me to Nero. I often listen to his soundtrack
The music may be old but still awesome!
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really enjoyed this one
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Saw Nero live last night in New Brunswick NJ. At 79 years old he was just amazing. His abilities are still at a zenith....
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Floyd Cramer????? What an insult....pl e a s e ! He couldn't carry Nero's brief case!!!!
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is he related to Laura Nero?
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Peter Nero has always been my favorite piano player. His piano stylings are tops. Nobody does it better. Piano music is so relaxing and soothing to the body and soul!
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asop2000
I first heard Peter Nero on the WLW-T (Cincinnati, O H ) live show Ruth Lyons and loved, still do, to hear him play. Ruth was a great conversation a l i s t and Peter entered in whole heartedly so I felt I knew him.
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In the third line compromises is misspelled. I thoroughly enjoy Pandora Radio.
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genesilvers_ 1
I met Bernie at his apartment in Brooklyn in 1951, with Helen Hornick., his future wife's cousin I was 17 at the time and Helen was my high school girlfriend.. After lunch Bernie got on the piano and I was completely convinced that he was a musical genius. My mom had classical piano training and every time we visit my Grandparents , she would also play the piano. Bernie later got married to Helen's cousin.
Years later I saw Peter at the Hickory House in NYC.
Gene Silvers Fountain Hills AZ
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yep works for me
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val14hill
very relaxing and enjoyable...
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Does anyone know who the bass player is in Stardust?
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Splendid musicianship .
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Thanks mom!
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NinaWolf
I was also a classical pianist and turned to standards and jazz.
Asore George Shearing, Errol Garner, and of course Peter Nero.
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Saturday mornings, listening to a little Beegie Adair, Roger Williams and Erroll Stanley Garner. Cool Colorado morning.
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A fantastic rendition of an old Hoagy standard.
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bagglady42
I love Peter Nero and his work; including this interpretati o n of "Stardust Melody". HOwever, although he may have written this interpretati o n ; I believe, the original is by Hogey Carmichael. It was popular about the time Nero was born...so it isn't "by" him as indicated. Love Pandora
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jonesbrooks
God bless the people
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I've loved Peter Nero & his music since I was a young girl & I was allowed to kiss him after one of his "mah-velous" performances in Texas!
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Peter Nero's version of Fantasy in F is one of my all time favorite discs.
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Love his music. Listening to Stardust right now.
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chrisrussi
look at this :-) <----
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chrisrussi
har har har ... eye matey!
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I am a pianist and my name is peter.

Tee-hee...
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Like him very much!
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cafrczre
Love this guy !
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mgfletch1
Oh how I love to hear this man play!!!
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A true legend in his own right.
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This is so smooth, he comes from my day I actually used to sing this song in the key of G. WOW
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I would give anything to play like Peter Nero. I'm strictly by the book. Haven't got a jazzy bone in my body. I was influenced by Eddie Duchen but I always liked Nero.
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acquirements
I inherited "Peter Nero, New Piano in Town" from my parents. (Produced and conducted by Marty Gold on RCA records in 1961). I was blessed to have heard him live as a teenager in the 70's when I think he was touring with "The Community Concerts" which I also believe was affiliated with Columbia. He was traveling as a jazz trio (to my disappointme n t ) at the time. Your article was excellent! He definitely seemed to struggle to find his niche, but he is a fantastic pianist!

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