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Sunday, 26 March 2017

Vic Schoen born 26 March 1916

Victor "Vic" Schoen (March 26, 1916 – January 5, 2000) was an American bandleader, arranger, and composer whose career spanned from the 1930s until his death in 2000.
He furnished music for some of the most successful persons in show business including Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Les Brown, Woody Herman, Gene Krupa, George Shearing, Jimmie Lunceford, Ray McKinley, Benny Carter, Louis Prima, Russ Morgan, Guy Lombardo, Carmen Cavallaro, Carmen Miranda, Gordon Jenkins, Joe Venuti, Victor Young, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, and his own The Vic Schoen Orchestra. 

Bob Hope, Vic Schoen, and Bing Crosby
Vic Schoen was one of busiest arranger/conductors in popular music from the late '30s through the '60s. Although never as acclaimed as contemporaries Nelson Riddle or Gordon Jenkins, he amassed an extraordinary record of successes working with Dinah Shore, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Ethel Merman, Andy Williams, and, most notably, the Andrews Sisters, his name and work attached to dozens of hit records and most of their biggest successes.  

Yvette and Vic Schoen circa 1942
Vic Schoen was born in Brooklyn, New York. He is one of the very few composer-arrangers who was self-taught. Early in his life, he learned to play trumpet and would bring music into his high school classes, which annoyed his teachers. He eventually dropped out of high school and started playing in nightclubs in New York City and in the bands of Leon Belasco, Gene Kardos, and Billy Swanson. He also learned how to write big band arrangements at this time by "trial and error".Schoen also wrote many of Count Basie's earlier arrangements in the mid-1930s.  

Fate played its hand in Schoen's career when he was hired by bandleader Leon Belasco to work with a young trio called the Andrews Sisters. He helped get them the radio appearance that led to an audition and recording contract with Decca Records late in 1937, and played on their all-important second recording session, which yielded "Bei Mir Bist du Schon," the first hit for the trio, in early 1938.

Although the Andrews Sisters would occasionally record with established bands and, particularly in their later years at Decca, with Gordon Jenkins, Schoen became the arranger and conductor they most often worked with, he forming his own orchestra in 1938 and backing them on stage and on screen, as well as in the studio, for the next decade. Schoen, whose own self-taught approach to arranging probably made him compatible with the Andrews sisters -- none of whom could read music, became their closest creative partner, and was an essential part of the trio's sound during their biggest years. Even on songs that he didn't appreciate, such as "Beer Barrel Polka," his arrangements were successful, while on numbers like "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," which captured his interest, Schoen was downright inspired, even ascending to brilliance.  

His record of success with the Andrews Sisters quickly established Schoen as a much sought-after arranger and conductor, and the '40s were extremely busy years for him, occasionally with other singers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Shore, Dick Haymes, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby (including his hit "Don't Fence Me In"), but primarily with the Andrews Sisters. He remained associated with the trio until the end of the decade, when a combination of shifting personal relationships and changes in the public's musical taste led to his resignation.  

He moved on to arranging for Patti Page, the Weavers, Andy Williams, Pat Boone, and other major artists of the '50s, and also became an arranger for television. He also occasionally returned to work with the Andrews' at Capitol Records during the mid-'50s, even as he moved between labels for his own recordings, cutting pop instrumental albums for Decca, Kapp, and Liberty Records, and "space age" pop music for RCA, as well as a pair of bossa nova albums on the Mainstream label. 

Vic and Sally,
Schoen was married four times:Yvette Agnes Gowdy (1943–48) Kay Starr (1953) Marion Hutton (1954–87) and Sally-Jan Calbeck (1994–2000) 

After Schoen's wife Marion Hutton died in 1987, he married Sally-Jan Calbeck, an artist from Los Angeles. She moved to Seattle and after two years, they decided to move back to Los Angeles, finally settling in Corona del Mar. He participated in the Los Angeles musical scene and also attended ASMAC meetings.

Schoen died of pneumonia in Corona del Mar, California, in 2000.

(Info edited from All Music & Wikipedia)

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Michael Cox born 19 March 1940

Michael James Cox (born 19 March 1940) is a British-born former pop singer and actor. As Michael Cox, he had a top ten hit on the UK singles chart in 1960 with "Angela Jones", produced by Joe
Meek. He later worked as an actor, and in TV in New Zealand, using both his full name and the name Michael James. 

He was born in Liverpool. After his four younger sisters wrote to ABC TV demanding that he be given a chance to audition for the pop show Oh Boy!, he was quickly signed up by producer Jack Good, and made his first appearance on the show in April 1959 singing Ricky Nelson's "Never Be Anyone Else But You".Good won him a recording deal with Decca Records, and his first single, "Teenage Love", was written by Marty Wilde and featured Joe Brown on guitar. However, neither it nor its follow-up "Too Hot To Handle" were hits. 
 Cox continued to appear on TV, in Good's new show Boy Meets Girls, and Good recommended him to record producer Joe Meek, who at the time was setting up his own label, Triumph. His first record for Triumph was "Angela Jones", a song written by John D. Loudermilk which was a hit in the US for Johnny Ferguson. Cox's version of the song, produced by Meek, rose to #7 on the UK singles chart in June 1960, but its sales were reportedly hampered by the inability of Meek's small and newly formed record company to meet demand for it. The Triumph label collapsed, and Cox's follow-up, the similar-sounding "Along Came Caroline", also produced by Meek and co-written by Cox under the pseudonym Michael Steele, was released by the HMV label; it reached #41 on the chart and was Cox's only other hit. 

Cox toured Scandinavia to some degree of success, he was particularly popular in both Denmark & Sweden, and was backed by one of Joe Meek's regular bands. (This was either The Outlaws, who later featured guitarist Richie Blackmore, or The Checkmates - there seems to be some confusion as to who actually got the gig.) But his notoriety abroad could not be matched back in the UK and despite moving to His Master's Voice and reaching No.41 with "Along Came Caroline" just 2 months before his visit to Bridgwater, his days as a pop star were numbered. ("Along Came Caroline" incidentally was a blatant re-write of "Angela Jones" - so much so that the character appears in the song's lyrics.) Cox also recorded for both Pye & Parlophone but with little success, consequently during the mid-60's he eventually abandoned his singing career to concentrate on acting. 

In 1966 he appeared opposite Wilfred Brambell & Sid James in the  James Bond spoof "Where The Bullets Fly" as a character called Lt. Guyfawkewife.  He started making appearances in the US, eventually emigrating there, before moving on to live in New Zealand. There, he continued to work on TV, credited as Michael James.

Today he still plays the cabaret circuit and has also acted in several minor film productions. (Info edited mainly from Wikipedia)

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Wilson Pickett born 18 March 1941

Wilson Pickett (March 18, 1941 – January 19, 2006) was an American R&B, soul and rock and roll singer and songwriter. A major figure in the development of American soul music, Pickett recorded over 50 songs which made the US R&B charts, many of which crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100. Among his best-known hits are "In the Midnight Hour" (which he co-wrote), "Land of 1,000 Dances", "Mustang Sally", and "Funky Broadway". 

Born in Prattville, Ala., Mr. Pickett was one of 11 children; he told interviewers that he had suffered an abusive childhood. As a teenager he moved to Detroit, where he formed a gospel band, the Violinaires that performed in local churches. But his chance at pop fame emerged in 1961, when he was invited to join the Falcons, an R & B act that had already scored a Top 20 hit, "You're So Fine." 

While the Falcons enjoyed modest success, Mr. Pickett struck out on his own, recording the song "If You Need Me." His performance hit the market at roughly the same time the soul singer Solomon Burke released his own version. Still, both treatments sold well, and Mr. Pickett soon had a contract with Atlantic Records who sent him to record at Stax in Memphis in 1965.  

One early result was "In the Midnight Hour," whose chugging horn line, loping funky beats, and impassioned vocals combined into a key transitional performance that brought R&B into the soul age. It was an R&B chart-topper and a substantial pop hit (number 21), though its influence was stronger than that respectable position might indicate: thousands of bands, black and white, covered "In the Midnight Hour" on-stage and record in the 1960s.
Most of his songs were recorded in Memphis or Muscle Shoals, Ala., which at the time were the hotbeds of soul recording activity in the South. His sidemen included Southern musicians like the guitarist Steve Cropper (who co-wrote "Midnight Hour" and other

songs with Mr. Pickett) and, later, the guitarist Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers.

He soon found himself with the nickname "Wicked Pickett" -- which has been described as a reference both to his screaming delivery and to his offstage behaviour. 
Pickett had a flurry of other galvanizing soul hits over the next few years, including "634-5789," "Mustang Sally," and "Funky Broadway," all of which, like "In the Midnight Hour," were frequently adapted by other bands as dance-ready numbers. The king of that hill, though, had to be "Land of 1000 Dances," Pickett's biggest pop hit (number six), a soul anthem of sorts with its roll call of popular dances, and covered by almost as many acts as "Midnight Hour" was. He also earned a reputation as one of music's most compelling live performers, delivering stage shows in which he mixed gospel-tinged solemnity with funk stylings that evoked James Brown. 
Pickett didn't confine himself to the environs of Stax for long; soon he was also cutting tracks at Muscle Shoals. He recorded several early songs by Bobby Womack. He used Duane Allman as a session guitarist on a hit cover of the Beatles' "Hey Jude." He cut some hits in Philadelphia with Gamble & Huff productions in the early '70s. He even did a hit version of the Archies' "Sugar, Sugar." The hits kept rolling through the early '70s, including "Don't Knock My Love" and "Get Me Back on Time, Engine Number 9." 

One of the corollaries of '60s soul is that if a performer rose to fame with Motown or Atlantic, he or she would produce little of note after leaving the label. Pickett, unfortunately, did not prove an exception to the rule. His last big hit was "Fire and Water," in 1972. He continued to be active on the tour circuit; his most essential music, all from the 1960s and early '70s, was assembled for the superb Rhino double-CD anthology A Man and a Half. Pickett was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, in recognition of his impact on song writing and recording. 

His first album in more than a decade -- 1999's "It's Harder Now" -- was honoured with a Grammy nomination for best traditional rhythm and blues vocal performance. In 2000, he picked up three W. C. Handy Awards from the Blues Foundation, including one for comeback album of the year. 

Pickett spent the early part of the 2000s performing, before retiring in late 2004 due to ill health. He passed away on January 19, 2006, following a heart attack. (Info edited mainly from All Music & NY Times)

Friday, 17 March 2017

Lorraine Ellison born 17 March 1931

Lorraine Ellison (17 March 1931 – 31 January 1983) was an American soul singer, best known for her recording of the song "Stay with Me" (sometimes known as "Stay With Me Baby") in 1966. With an incredible vocal power, range, and intensity that was perhaps too heavy for the record-buying masses, Lorraine Ellison never made it big, except of course in the hearts of committed soul fans-and the occasional rock and pop buyer. 

Ellison was born Marybelle Luraine Ellison in North Philadelphia and began singing gospel with her family at age six. She sang professionally with a local group named the Sylvania Singers & the Golden Chords before forming the family group The Ellison Singers in the late '50s/early '60s. The Ellison Singers recorded for the Sharp imprint, releasing 2 singles, namely 'In The Upper Room' b/w 'He’s Holding Me' (in 1962) and 'This Is The Day' b/w 'Open Up Your Heart' (in 1963).

 By 1964, she began recording R&B music, and her first hit was the 1965 R&B hit 'I Dig You Baby' (later made into a pop smash by Jerry Butler).  

She signed with Warner Bros. Records, and in 1966 recorded "Stay with Me" at a last minute booking, following a studio cancellation by Frank Sinatra. The story goes Lorraine Ellison was working with producer/composer Jerry Ragovoy at a major NY recording studio when someone popped in to say that the 46 piece orchestra lined up for the Frank Sinatra session was available next door as Sinatra had cancelled. Ragovoy up-scaled the arrangement, making lead sheets for the grumpy musicians who'd been expecting to schmooze Frank and now "demoted" to this obscure R&B canary. Then upon the first and ONLY take: standing ovation for Lorraine from the Big Band boys. 

"Stay with Me" reached number 11 in the U.S. Billboard R&B chart and number 64 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was written and produced by Jerry Ragovoy. Later releases were on the subsidiary soul music record label, Loma. Her follow-up single was "Heart Be Still" a minor hit in 1967. Lorraine never charted again, however, she released 'Try Just A Little Bit Harder' in 1968, which rock singer Janis Joplin later remade with great success. 

Some of her other singles were 'Heart Be Still,' 'Don't Let It Go to Your Head,' and 'I've Got My Baby Back.' Songs that she wrote with her manager Sam Bell (of Garrett Mimms & the Enchanters) were recorded by Mimms and Howard Tate. Ellison's Warner LPs include Heart and Soul (1966), Stay With Me (1969), and Lorraine Ellison (1974) and the compilation The Best of Philadelphia's Queen (1976).  

Ellison composed many of her own songs (solo and with manager Sam Bell) and had her own compositions recorded by several other artists, including Jerry Butler, Garnet Mimms, Howard Tate and Dee Dee Warwick. 

Twice-married and using the surname Gonzalez-Keys, Lorraine Ellison gave up the music business in order to take care of her mother, before her death in January 1983 from ovarian cancer at the age of 51. (Info edited from numerous sources, especially Wikipedia)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Beryl Davis born 16 March 1924

Beryl Davis (16 March 1924 – 28 October 2011) was a vocalist who sang with British and American big bands. Her younger sister is Lisa Davis Waltz, a teen actress in the 1950s and 1960s and later, the voice of Anita in Disney's 101 Dalmatians. Her career spanned eight decades in the UK and US. 

If anyone was ever destined to be a Big Band singer, it must have been Beryl Davis. Beryl was born in Plymouth, where her father, the bandleader Harry Davis, was appearing at the town's Palace theatre. She sang with his band from the age of eight. In 1934, she won the All Britain Tap Dancing Championship and would, in her words, "sing one and dance two", frequently arriving at school the following morning with her stage make-up barely removed. She was, she admitted later, not a good student. 

By her mid-teens, Davis was a fully fledged professional, singing first with the Romany band in London and performing in Paris and Copenhagen in early 1939 with the much-lauded Quintet of the Hot Club of France (with a chaperone), which included the guitarist Django Reinhardt and the violinist Stéphane Grappelli. In the same year she was briefly with Oscar Rabin's dance band (her father had been Rabin's guitarist and frontman) before meeting up again with the Hot Club group, this time in London and recording with them for Decca. She then joined Arthur Young's orchestra for a year starting in late 1939, doubling in the show Black Velvet. After yet more time with Rabin, she spent a year with the very popular Geraldo orchestra, her clear, pure style comparable to that of another very popular entertainer of the time, the singer Vera Lynn. 
It is perhaps for her association with Grappelli (who had stayed on in London despite the blitz) that she is best remembered in the UK. Davis toured with his Swingtette, with Shearing on piano from 1942 onwards, recording and broadcasting regularly on the BBC, as often as 10 times a week, somehow "dodging the bombs".
She was also on hand to sing on record and in person with the many forces bands then based in London including the Skyrockets, the Squadronaires and the Allied Expeditionary Force orchestras led by Robert Farnon and George Melachrino, as well as the all-star US big bands fronted by Sam Donahue and Glenn Miller. She clearly revelled in the opportunity to record with Miller's star sidemen, who included the pianist Mel Powell and the drummer Ray McKinley. A booking with Miller's Army Air Force band at the Queensbury Club, London, in December 1944, was a defining moment for her; after hearing her sing I'll Be Seeing You, Miller said, "Good show, kid. I'll be seeing you." Three days later, Miller's plane disappeared over the Channel and he was lost. 

Beryl made her silver screen bow with 1946's "London Town.” The comedian Bob Hope encouraged Davis to immigrate to the US in January 1947. She debuted there on his radio show, later performing with the bandleaders Benny Goodman and Vaughan Monroe, and becoming a familiar presence on radio shows hosted by Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle and Red Skelton, and many others. After her marriage to the radio and TV star Peter Potter (family name Moore), and by now a US citizen, Davis concentrated on raising her family, although she achieved renewed prominence in 1954 when she formed a gospel group with the singer Connie Haines and the actors Jane Russell and Rhonda Fleming. All four worshipped at St Stephen's episcopal church in Hollywood; known as the Four Girls, they had a surprise hit with Do, Lord, & Remember Me. They recorded sixteen singles, and albums which became best sellers and also toured the UK. 

Beryl Davis, left, with Connie Haines, Jane Russell and Rhonda Fleming in 1954
 A resident of Southern California from the 1940s on, Beryl remained active as a performer well into advanced age. She made concert performances with Mel Torme, Les Brown and his Band of Renown, the Tex Beneke Band---"A Salute to Glenn Miller" series. She also had guest spots with the highly acclaimed military bands, Airmen of Note and U.S. Army Band in Washington, D.C.. In 1996, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.  In 1996, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.

After her marriage to Potter foundered in 1965, Davis and her new partner, Buck Stapleton, formerly Miller's drummer, created package shows for cruise ships for more than 20 years. Even after Stapleton's death in 2003, Davis continued to make guest appearances onboard ship. She returned to London to appear at Pizza On the Park in May 2001.  
Beryl Davis died due to Alzheimer's on Oct. 28, 2011 at age 87.
 (Info mainly edited from an obit by Peter Vacher for The Guardian)

Beryl Davis singing with the Bill Baker Big Band at the Glenn Miller Festival, at twinwood, Bedfordshire, England in 2003

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Harry James born 15 March 1916

Harry Haag James (March 15, 1916 – July 5, 1983) was a popular American musician and band leader, and a well-known trumpet virtuoso. One of the most popular bandleaders of the wartime era, Harry James is best remembered today for his colourful trumpet playing and as the husband of pin-up girl Betty Grable.  

Born in a run-down hotel next to the city jail in Albany, Georgia, Harry's parents were circus performers -- his mother a trapeze artist and his father the bandleader. James began playing drums at age seven and took up the trumpet at ten, performing for the Christy Brothers circus band.  

James' family later settled in Beaumont, Texas, and he began playing for local dance bands while in high school. In 1935 he joined Ben Pollack's orchestra, leaving in December 1936 for Benny Goodman. During his time with Goodman, James became very popular with the jazz crowd for his colourful, ear-shattering, trumpet playing. He became so popular that when he decided to leave Goodman in December 1938 to form his own band Goodman himself financed the outfit. 

Harry James and His Music Makers debuted in February 1939 at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel in Philadelphia. They made their first recordings for Brunswick. Connie Haines was the female vocalist. In June of that year James hired an inexperienced Frank Sinatra as his male vocalist.  

The orchestra did well in New York, but its high-swinging sound wasn't well-received outside the city. A trip to Los Angeles proved financially disastrous, and the band struggled to make it through a booking at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago. Tommy Dorsey was in Chicago at the same time and was having problems with his male vocalist. He offered Sinatra a job. With Sinatra's wife expecting and the band's financial future uncertain James let him go. He was soon replaced by Dick Haymes, who went on to become one of the top male vocalists of the era.   
In early 1940 James began recording with Varsity, a minor label. Although his records weren't selling well with the public he was greatly admired by other musicians. James, however, wasn't content with his financial picture and decided to adopt a new sound. He announced he was adding a string section. Horrified reactions from the jazz crowd convinced him to abandon the idea. However, in 1941 when he signed with Columbia the label's A&R director made the same suggestion. James followed through and recorded several schmaltzy ballads and semi-classical selections, including the now famous ''You Made Me Love You.'' Though jazz fans cringed the new sound proved popular with the public, and the band was on its way to stardom.  
Haymes left the band in 1942, replaced by Johnny McAfee as lead male vocalist. James had gone through a string of female vocalists -- Haines, Helen Ward, Dell Parker, Bernice Byers, and Lynn Richards -- until he hired Helen Forrest in 1941. She turned out to be one of his most valuable assets. With Harry's sentimental horn and Helen's emotional singing the band was at its peak and soon began to receive movie offers.  

While working in Hollywood, James met actress Betty Grable. Though James was married to vocalist Louise Tobin at the time he fell in love with Grable and divorced Tobin. James and Grable were married on July 5, 1943. Shortly thereafter Forrest left the orchestra to begin a solo career. Helen Ward was brought back to replace her. Buddy DeVito was male vocalist. Around that time Harry's band began to suffer from the draft. James himself, who had been originally classified 4-F, was in danger of being reclassified as fit for duty. When he was called to take his physical in February 1944 he put the band on notice, and his radio sponsor cancelled his program. James was reclassified 4-F again, however, and he called back together some of his old personnel.  

The new orchestra continued to be successful, with Kitty Kallen as its featured vocalist, but Harry's interest were turning away from music. He had become a regular cast member on Danny Kaye's radio series, and he and Betty were devoting a great deal of time to raising their racehorses. He began to perform less and less. 

When the bottom fell out of the band business in 1946 James called it quits. He didn't stay away for long however. He formed a new outfit the following year and continued to lead bands off and on until his death. 

In 1983, James, a heavy smoker, was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, but he continued to work, playing his last professional job on June 26, 1983, in Los Angeles, just nine days before his death in Las Vegas, Nevada. The job had become his final performance with the Harry James Orchestra. He died exactly 40 years after his marriage to Betty Grable (July 5, 1943), who was buried exactly 30 years after that date (July 5, 1973). Frank Sinatra gave the eulogy at his funeral, held in Las Vegas. . (info mainly from

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Les Baxter born 14 March 1922

Leslie Thompson "Les" Baxter (March 14, 1922 – January 15, 1996) was an American musician and composer. After becoming well known as an arranger and composer for swing bands in the 1940s, he developed his own style of world music-influenced easy listening music, known as exotica, during the 1950s and 1960s. 

Baxter learned to play the piano at five years of age and studied at the Detroit Conservatory and at Pepperdine College in Los Angeles, California. Abandoning a concert career as a pianist, he turned to popular music as a singer. At the age of 23 he joined Mel Tormé's Mel-Tones, singing on Artie Shaw records such as "What Is This Thing Called Love?". 

Baxter then turned to arranging and conducting for Capitol Records in 1950, and conducted the orchestra of two early Nat King Cole hits, "Mona Lisa" and "Too Young". In 1953 he scored his first movie, the sailing travelogue Tanga Tika. With his own orchestra, he released a number of hits including "Ruby" (1953), "Unchained Melody" (1955), "The Poor People of Paris" (1956) and is remembered for a version of "Sinner Man" (1956), definitively setting the sound with varying tempos, orchestral flourishes, and wailing background vocals.

"Unchained Melody" was the first million seller for Baxter, and was awarded a gold disc. "The Poor People of Paris" also sold over one million copies.He also achieved success with concept albums of his own orchestral suites: Le Sacre Du Sauvage, Festival Of The Gnomes, Ports Of Pleasure, and Brazil Now, the first three for Capitol and the fourth on Gene Norman's Crescendo label. The list of musicians on these recordings includes Plas Johnson and Clare Fischer.

On his early-'50s singles Baxter was relatively straightforward, performing versions of standards like the number one hits "Unchained Melody" and "The Poor People of Paris," but on his albums he experimented with all sorts of world musics, adapting them for his orchestra. As he was recording his exotica albums, Baxter was also the musical director for the radio show Halls of Ivy, plus Abbott & Costello radio shows; he also composed over 100 film scores, concentrating on horror movies and teenage musicals and comedies, though he also did dramas like Giant. Baxter also wrote the "Whistle" theme from the TV show Lassie. 

Baxter did not restrict his activities to recording. As he once told Soundtrack! Magazine, "I never turn anything down". 

In the 1960s, he formed the Balladeers, a be-suited and conservative folk group that at one time featured a young David Crosby. He operated in radio as musical director of The Halls of Ivy and the Bob Hope and Abbott and Costello shows.

Like his counterparts Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin and James Horner, Baxter later worked for the film industries from 1960s to 70s. He worked on movie soundtracks for American International Pictures where he composed and conducted scores for Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe films and other horror stories and teenage musicals, including The Pit and the Pendulum, Panic in Year Zero!, Beach Party, The Comedy of Terrors, The Dunwich Horror, and Frogs. Howard W. Koch recalled that Baxter composed, orchestrated, and recorded the entire score of The Yellow Tomahawk (1954) in a total of three hours for $5,000. 

With less soundtrack work in the 1980s, he scored music for theme parks and Sea Worlds. In the 1990s, Baxter was widely celebrated, alongside Martin Denny and the Arthur Lyman Group, as one of the progenitors of what had become known as the "exotica" movement. In his 1996 appreciation for Wired magazine, writer David Toop remembered Baxter thus: "Baxter offered package tours in sound, selling tickets to sedentary tourists who wanted to stroll around some taboo emotions before lunch, view a pagan ceremony, go wild in the sun or conjure a demon, all without leaving home hi-fi comforts in the white suburbs". 

Baxter died of heart and kidney problems on January 15, 1996 in Newport Beach, California at the age of 73. Survived by his daughter Leslie, he was buried at Pacific View Memorial Park, in Corona del Mar, California.

He has a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6314 Hollywood Blvd. (Info edited from Wikipedia & AMG)