Bob Bain is truly a legend… and he showed us why when he joined ASMAC for lunch on January 18th. Introduced by Conrad Pope and Nan Schwartz with a compilation of just a few of his hit recordings, Bob spent the first 45 minutes entertaining the packed room at Catalina’s with his stories of working with big bands, a variety of singers and countless composers such as Andre Previn and Henry Mancini. His reflections about working with Henry and Audrey Hepburn when they recorded Moon River in just a few takes was terrific. When they considered taking the song out of the film, Hepburn pulled rank and it remained both in the film and a classic today.
The heavy, sizzling guitar part on the theme to Peter Gunn? That was Bain. The theme from the Bonanza, M.A.S.H., and countless more. Bain’s work backing up pop vocalists included Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and Nat “King” Cole’s “Unforgettable.”
In the early 40’s, Bain joining a group called the Phil Moore Four and One More, one of the first West Coast groups to play the new bebop style and one of the first interracial bands on the L.A. scene – he was the One More! This group also led to the first contact with Sinatra, when the singer decided to cut his own disc in the bop style, “Bop Goes My Heart.” He played in the big bands of Tommy Dorsey, the Bob Crosby Big Band and Harry James. Andre Previn brought Bain in to play the guitar intro section to Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa” – which was Bain’s idea.
After telling us some great stories, and answering a number of questions, Bob invited Chuck Berghofer and Jim Fox to join him on stage and they treated the audience to several of his hit songs including the theme from M.A.S.H., and Moon River. An unforgettable luncheon – we were definitely in the presence of a legend – and we’re all standing by for the podcast that will be up soon on ASMAC.org so we can revisit it again and again.