Guy Lombardo was a Canadian-born orchestra leader whose sweet and sentimental musical style made him an American institution for half a century. His playing of "Auld Lang Syne" was a New Year's Eve radio and TV fixture for more than 30 years.
Lombardo formed "The Royal Canadians " with his brothers Carmen, Lebert and Victor, as well as other musicians from his hometown. In the early 1920s, they played on the Canadian side of Lake Erie, and in 1924 the group went across the lake to Cleveland to play at a roadhouse where they developed the distinctive Lombardo style. By 1927, the band was booked into the Granada Cafe in Chicago, where Lombardo persuaded the club owner to arrange a radio broadcast of the music. Success was instantaneous.
As the big band era faded after World War II, Lombardo's popularity continued through the waves of bop, rock and country western. Several musicians were with the band for decades.
Aside from his music, Lombardo was a speedboat enthusiast. He won the Gold Cup in 1949 and for the next three years was the reigning national champion.