Ralph Burns, Times Square and the Rockettes

book excerpt 3 Jan 29, 2021

"excerpt #3 from "Walking With Giants"

On occasion, Ralph Burns would join Billy Byers and me as one of the arrangers on Ian Fraser’s shows. Ralph was a legendary arranger in musical variety, Broadway and film. After attending the New England Conservatory Ralph moved to New York and joined Woody Herman’s band as pianist and arranger. In 1949 Woody had a hit with a composition written by Ralph called “Early Autumn” featuring an unknown tenor saxophonist named Stan Getz. The success of this record launched Ralph’s career. For many years he was one of the busiest arrangers in New York doing records and commercials. In the 1960’s he began orchestrating Broadway shows. One of his most celebrated collaborations was with Bob Fosse. Ralph won Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, and Drama Desk Awards. Needless to say, Ralph was a big deal. 

Ralph’s next project was “Star 80” with Bob Fosse. Ralph was going to write and record in New York so I...

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