Passings: Guitarist Al Caiola (1920 - 2016)

by VVN Music

Al Caiola, the guitarist who played on dozens of hit records and best known for his themes from The Magnificent Seven and Bonanza, died Wednesday in a nursing home in Allendale, NJ at the age of 96.

Born in Jersey City, NJ, he got his first professional experience while in the service, playing with Bob Crosby. After his release from the Marines, he studied music composition and theory at the New Jersey College of Music and became part of the CBS Orchestra playing on many of the network's live broadcasts.

In 1956, he left his job with CBS to strike out as a studio musician, playing on a long list of records for artists as diverse as Paul Anka, Laverne Baker, Frank Sinatra, Simon and Garfunkel and Ben E. King.

Caiola signed with United Artists Records in 1960 and recorded over two dozen albums. In 1961, he hit the top 100 twice with the theme from Bonanza which reached number 19 and the theme from The Magnificent Seven which hit 35.

By the 1980's, Al had cut back on recording schedule and toured with a number of artists including Frank Sinatra for his 1985 trek of Europe and in Las Vegas with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme.

Caiola is survived by his wife of 69 years, Rosalie, a son, a daughter, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

A sample of the hits on which Al Caiola played:
  • Stranger in Paradise - Tony Bennett
  • Come on a My House - Rosemary Clooney
  • Oh My Papa - Eddie Fisher
  • Moonlight Gambler - Frankie Laine
  • Hey There - Rosemary Clooney
  • Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes - Perry Como
  • Just Walkin' in the Rain - Johnnie Ray
  • This Ole House - Rosemary Clooney
  • The Yellow Rose of Texas - Mitch Miller
  • Love is a Many Splendor Thing - Four Lads
  • Sugartime - McGuire Sisters
  • Temptation - Perry Como
  • I Cried a Tear - LaVern Baker
  • Moments to Remember - Four Lads
  • C.C. Rider - Chuck Willis
  • A White Sport Coat - Marty Robbins
  • Butterfly - Andy Williams
  • The Story of a Life - Marty Robbins
  • Baby Talk - Tom & Jerry (Simon & Garfunkel)
  • Chances Are - Johnny Mathis
  • It's Not For Me to Say - Johnny Mathis
  • The Twelfth of Never - Johnny Mathis
  • Diana - Paul Anka
  • De De Dinah - Frankie Avalon
  • Splish Splash - Bobby Darin
  • Tiger - Fabian
  • Rave On - Crickets
  • It Doesn't Matter Anymore - Buddy Holly
  • True Love Ways - Buddy Holly
  • Dream Lover - Bobby Darin
  • Turn Me Loose - Fabian
  • Mama - Connie Francis
  • Lonely Boy - Paul Anka
  • Lazy Mary - Lou Monte
  • Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin
  • Put Your Head on My Shoulder - Paul Anka
  • Venus - Frankie Avalon
  • Theme From a Summer Place - Percy Faith
  • Runaround Sue - Dion
  • What a Difference a Day Makes - Sarah Vaughan
  • Runaway - Del Shannon
  • Breaking Up is Hard to Do - Neil Sedaka
  • Stand By Me - Ben E. King
  • Theme From Exodus - Ferrante & Teicher
  • Calendar Girl - Neil Sedaka
  • Hats Off to Larry - Del Shannon
  • The Wanderer - Dion
  • Artificial Flowers - Bobby Darin
  • Spanish Harlem - Ben E. King
  • Washington Square - Village Stompers
  • Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen - Neil Sedaka
  • Cry to Me - Solomon Burke
  • Run Red Run - Coasters
  • Spanish Eyes - Al Martino
  • Don't Sleep in the Subway - Petula Clark
  • This is My Song - Petula Clark
  • Mrs. Robinson - Simon & Garfunkel
  • Abraham Martin and John - Dion
  • Galveston - Glen Campbell
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel
  • Time of Your Life - Paul Anka

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