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December 01 , 2007

Show Biz from the Back Row

Playing with the Stars


Trumpeter Bill Peterson played in the bands backing many of the great names in entertainment such as Frank Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole, Sid Caesar and Barbra Streisand. He also became president of the Musicians' Union Local 47 in Los Angeles. In one capacity or the other, he worked with a long list of famous people, and has stories to tell about all of them. Starting with Harry James and concluding with Madonna, the book has stories about John Williams when his nickname was "Curly," working at the Playboy Mansion, and making a film with Henry Fonda and Kirk Douglas. Other stories concern Rick Nelson, Mae West, the Rat Pack, Bob Dylan, Martha Raye, Lena Horne, Liza Minelli, Louis Prima and Keely Smith, Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Armstrong, Doris Day, and many more. Interwoven is an abbreviated story of the author's life and family. The book is illustrated with the author's sketches of the famous people and situations he writes about, plus some photos. “Trumpeter Bill Peterson captures much of the atmosphere of a disappearing era of American popular music-making. Using the vernacular of the time, he places us right in the midst of a highly creative period and the colorful people that lived it. This book can take its place as a personal chronicle of the life and career of a working musician, and it details a milieu of American musical life not often illuminated by historians." —John Williams, composer
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