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An Innovative Technique

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When thinking about crooners, Art Gillham is the perfect example of a songwriter standing out for being a pioneer radio artist and a recording artist for Columbia Records. For this company, he did his first electrical recordings such as Hesitation Blues together with Billy Smythe and Scott Middleton. With the former, he wrote around 100 songs, for instance, Just Forget, Mean Blues, The Deacon Told Me I Was Good and the great successful electrical recording, You May Be Lonesome. However, his most famous recordings include Tonight You Belong To Me, I’d Climb The Highest Mountain, Cecilia, Shine On Harvest Moon, and I’m Sitting On Top of The World. To understand his music style, it is important to know that he sang into a microphone to produce the first “electronic recording,” which was commercially produced.

Gillham’s travels around the United States serve as a way to promote the music of Ted Browne—with whom Gillham had been working as song plugger—and other publishers as soon as the radio appeared. He began singing over the radio with a soft “crooning” voice. Together with Will Rogers, Carson Robison and Wendell Hall, he performed on the Election Night broadcast over WEAF. Before network broadcasting, he appeared on more than 300 radio stations. Indeed, he performed his first demonstration of television at Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta, wherein he became a popular radio show host.

Another wonderful project of this artist was to have various CBS programs such as “Syncopated Pessimism” and “Breakfast with Art.” In addition, he signed a contract with Columbia Records as an Exclusive Artist. After recording seven electrical masters, six of them were released. He was also known as the “Whispering Pianist” and the first musician able to understand the power of radio.   

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