Vincent Lopez, the piano-playing orchestra leader,
was born December 30, 1898, New York City, New York. He is best remembered for his
discovery of singer and actress Betty Hutton and for his theme song, ''Nola'' ( which is
His style of piano playing inspired such future
stars as Liberace and Eddy Duchin. During the thirties and forties, he concentrated on
swing music. In the late thirties, his orchestra featured the then-unknown singers
Betty and Marion Hutton. Marion left after only a few months to join Glenn Miller's orchestra; Betty left in 1940 for a part in a
Broadway musical. In his later years, Lopez's orchestra was a staple at New York's
Taft Hotel. Working with Lopez was considered a prime job by local musicians,
because the orchestra finished its shift by 9 p.m. each night. He also contracted
out several outfits under his name to play at various functions around Manhattan and
operated his own nightclub, Casa Lopez. He was also well-known for his interest in
astrology and numerology. Lopez died from a stroke in 1975.
He revived "Nola," a number from the 1910s,
as his theme song and it became a minor exotica standard in its own right
He had his first professional job when he was
17-years-old and by 1916 was leading his own band at the prestigious Pekin Restaurant.
By 1921, he was bandleading at the Statler Hotel where his was among the first
dance bands to receive national fame through remote radio link-ups (outside broadcasts).
Lopez became a national name, his opening remark, "Hello everybody, Lopez
speaking," appealing to the public. During the 20s the band appeared in the
Broadway musicals Love Birds, Greenwich Village Follies Of 1924, and Earl Carroll's
Vanities Of 1928, and the early movie musical The Big Broadcast Of 1932. Among his
many record hits, from 1922 to 1939, were "Nola" (his theme tune),
"Teasin'", "I'm Just Wild About Harry", "I Want To Be
Happy", "Show Me The Way To Go Home", "Always", "Hello,
Bluebird", "My Angel (Angela Mia)", and "There's Honey On The Moon
Tonight". He and his band appeared at the Hippodrome in London but it was as a
stalwart of radio and the plush hotel circuit in America that he was best noted. In 1941,
he took the band into New York's Hotel Taft where he remained for 25 years. From
1949, he appeared regularly on television. Vincent Lopez died in Miami Beach,
Florida in 1990.
Potato Chips. Eat
them. Sing to them.
The Vincent Lopez Orchestra and the
Martin Sisters record a song for NPCI called "Potato Chips," which ran on the
air along with songs like "Rum and Coca Cola" and "The Popcorn Polka."