Bob Bain was a mainstay of the Hollywood recording studios through the 50s and 60s, appearing nearly as often on acoustic guitar as Howard Roberts did on electric. Henry Mancini regularly highlighted Bain's work on soundtracks and studio albums. Known to a younger generation as guitarist in Doc Severinsen's Tonight Show Band with Johnny Carson for twenty two years. Everyone's heard his famous leads on the titles tracks to The Munsters
, Mission Impossible
and Peter Gunn
His name may be unfamiliar to even the most shrewd audiophile and TV/movie buff, but his clean, economic, and tasteful guitar style has filled the ears and hearts of millions. Bob Bain was there when the guitar slowly emerged from its status as a rhythm instrument to a viable, natural, melodic voice.
When rising through the ranks of studio performers, Bain worked with players and arrangers who were no less important than our finest contemporaries. These musicians laid the foundation for what would later become America's popular music. His career could serve as a musicians' bible - he started by playing in the school band and eventually performed with the most popular big bands of the 1940s - artists like Tommy Dorsey, Bob Crosby, Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, and Harry James. These are the folks who helped Bain pull the guitar from the rhythm section to center stage.
With his ability to sightread music (rare among guitarists at the time), 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.
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