Les Baxter

Les Baxter
United Artists

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Les Baxter
Music: South side of the 6300 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Composer | Conductor | Musician | Singer
Born March 14, 1922 in Mexia, TX
Died Jan. 26, 1996 in Newport Beach, CA

Les Baxter composed more than 250 scores for radio, television and the movies. The 1950s pioneer of orchestral lounge music also was the music arranger for the Bob Hope and Abbott and Costello radio shows.

Baxter's show business career spanned six decades and his Top 10 hits included "Unchained Melody," "Poor People of Paris," "Lisbon Antigua" and "Quiet Village." His movie credits include scores for films such as "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Man with the X-Ray Eyes" and "Beach Blanket Bingo."

After years arranging music for top swing bands in the '40s and '50s, Baxter went on to become a founding father of the exotica movement with his 1952 blockbuster “Ritual of the Savage.” He and his exotica contemporaries melded traditional pop sounds with the musical stylings of Africa, Polynesia and South America to create a tropical fantasy world that swirled with intrigue and adventure but was as safe as a trip to Disneyland. The prolific Baxter cranked out dozens of albums during this golden period, offerings with such alluring titles as “The Primitive and the Passionate,” “Space Escapade,” "African Jazz" and “Tamboo!”

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