Nelson Riddle

Nelson Smock Riddle, Jr. (June 1, 1921 – October 6, 1985) was an American arranger, composer, bandleader and orchestrator whose career stretched from the late 1940s to the mid 1980s. His work for Capitol Records kept such vocalists as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney and Keely Smith household names. He found commercial and critical success again in the 1980s with a trio of Platinum albums with vocalist Linda Ronstadt. Riddle was born in Oradell, New Jersey, the only child of Marie Albertine Riddle and Nelson Smock Riddle, Sr., and later moved to nearby Ridgewood. Following his father's interest in music, he began taking piano lessons at age eight and trombone lessons at age fourteen. Riddle and his family had a summer house in Rumson, New Jersey. He enjoyed Rumson so much that he convinced his parents to allow him to attend high school there for his senior year. After his graduation from Rumson High School, Riddle spent his late teens and early 20s playing trombone in and occasionally arranging for various local dance bands, culminating in his association with the Charlie Spivak Orchestra.

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