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Bluestone, Harry (30th September 1907-22nd December 1992)

Author, clarinetist, composer, concertmaster, conductor, violinist, and violist born Harold L. Blostein who moved to New York from England when he was a young boy.  He recorded with the likes of Bing Crosby, Benny Goodman and Frank Sinatra in the 1950s and left a valentine for B-movie fans everywhere in composing the music for the sci-fi/horror schlock-fest, The Killer Shrews. In spite of this, Hollywood continued to allow him to work on projects such as the Adam West film, Mara of the Wilderness, and the television series, Judge Roy Bean.

Much of Harry’s film work was uncredited, as directors and producers culled stock music he had written for their movies, such as Journey to Freedom and The Invisible Avenger. In fact, one of Harry’s legacies is the sheer amount of production music he wrote, frequently in tandem with Emil Cadkin. These musical nuggets were frequently anywhere between ten seconds and four minutes in duration, designed for use in commercials, news and weather intros and outros, and perhaps radio drama and film. They boast self-explanatory titles such as “What’s the Temperature Now”, “Here is the News”, “Romantic Entrance”, and “Evil Alien Attack”. These shorties are still being used, even by such high-tech entities as Microsoft.

Harry also composed one of the themes for the 1960s television program, American Sportman Show, hosted by Curt Gowdy.

As a musician, he worked with nearly everyone who is anyone: He was the concertmaster on Herb Alpert’s 1979 release, Rise, and performed similar duties on Dolly Parton’s 1977 album, Here You Come Again, Johnny Mathis’s & Deniece Williams’ That’s What Friends Are For, and Elton John’s Blue Moves (credited as “Leader”). Other artists with whom he worked include Rita Coolidge, Neil Diamond, Leo Sayer, Livingston Taylor and Mel Torme.

It seems his production music came back in vogue as projects such as Frida, In America, and Jiminy Glick in Lalawood featured compositions with titles like “Battle to the Death”, “Finger of Suspicion Pt. 1”, and “Romantic Closing”, the last of which is most definitely in the Harry Bluestone production catalogue.

As an author, he penned a number of instruction books, including Easy Solos for Clarinet, Easy Solos for Flute, Easy Solos for Trumpet, and Easy Solos for Violin. Recent CDs featuring Harry on violin, easy solos or not, include Martha Tilton’s And the Angel Sings, and Benny Goodman’s Chronological Classics 1951-1952, released in 2008.

In 1987 he retired and in 1992 he passed away suffering from Parkinson’s disease.  He was 85 years old.

Johnny MathisDeniece Williams recordings
Emotion (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb)
S CBS 6164B (UK 45)
Too Much, Too Little, Too Late (Nat Kipner/John Vallins)
S CBS 6164 (UK 45)

Here he conducts his and Emil Cadkin’s “Fruity Flute”…