Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gene Puerling

March 31, 1929 - March 25, 2008

One of the great pleasures of life is enjoying work by someone who really knows what they are doing. Wisconsin born Gene Puerling knew what he was doing when it came to music. His family background was filled with musicians and Gene was organzing groups from his teenage years and never stopped. Vocalist, innovative arranger, founder of The Hi-Lo's, The Singers Unlimited and inspiration to generations of singers and listeners.

The Hi-Lo's were formed in 1953 and recorded many albums including: The Hi-Lo's Listen!, This Time It's Love, The Hi Lo's Happen to Bossa Nova, The Hi Lo's Happen to Folk Songs, Broadway Playbill, Ring Around Rosie (with Rosemary Clooney), Suddenly It's the Hi Lo's, Harmony in Jazz. Original personnel included Gene, Clark Burroughs, Bob Morse and Bob Strasen. Strassen later left the group and was replaced by Don Shelton. Shelton joined Gene, Bonnie Herman and Len Dressler in 1967 for The Singers Unlimited, who could turn songs you thought you didn't like into favourites. Originally jingle singers, they recorded what they liked and the fans followed.

Gene Puerling was nominated 14 times for the Grammy Award and won in 1981 for his arrangement of "A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square" for The Manhatten Transfer album Mecca for Moderns.

The inestimable YouTube contains several clips of both The Hi-Lo's and The Singers Unlimited reaching and creating new fans every day. Here is a favourite of mine with an introduction by Nat "King" Cole. Enjoy!


  1. I loved 'The Hi-Los' as featured performers on 'The Rosemary Clooney Show'. Rosie included the boys in sketches as well as musical numbers. They don't make them like that anymore.

  2. "The Rosemary Clooney Show" really deserves the deluxe dvd treatment, novabreeze. Rosie, Nelson Riddle, the Hi Lo's, wonderful songs, marvelous guest stars.

  3. Nice sound. I had never heard of Mr. Puerling or the Hi-Lo's. Thanks for educating me (yet again).

  4. I'm partial to The Hi-Lo's Christmas recordings. Carol of the Bells. Impressive indeed.

    BTW, does your kid know that you're blogging about the Hi-Lo's? I'm just saying...

  5. Well, misstracey, re "the kid": she stood over my shoulder and said "Who's that?". I said "You might recognize him in black & white with a crew cut." After a moment she pointed at the screen and screamed: "He's the Hi-Lo's!". Somehow, I think Gene would have gotten a kick out of that.

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