Tony Pastor

Picture of Tony Pastor

Tony Pastor had such a recognizable voice.  You don't hear many people ask, "Is that Tony Pastor singing?"  You just know it's him.  Pastor played a great saxophone but he also featured that gravelly voice that helped him and his band stand out.

Pastor broke onto the scene in the late 1920's playing for some of the bigger bands of the time including the bands of Irving Aaronson and Austin Wylie.  In the 1930's he played with Smith Ballew, Vincent Lopez and his long time friend Artie Shaw.  It was with Shaw's band where Pastor really came into his own.

In late 1939, Artie Shaw abruptly left his own band and Tony Pastor was talked into taking over as the leader of the orchestra.  Pastor retooled the remnants of Artie Shaw's old band into his own creation and led that band from 1940 into the mid 1950's.  The band had some fine musicians and also featured the vocals of Rosemary and Betty Clooney Sisters along with his own.  Helped with a lot of exposure on radio, Pastor scored quite a few hits.

Listen to "One Meatball" by Tony Pastor

In the late 1950's, Pastor gave up the band to lead smaller combos at several Las Vegas casinos and lounges, featuring his young sons Guy and Tony Jr. on vocals. He was forced to retire due to health problems in early 1968 and died the following year.

You can hear the fun and playful music of Tony Pastor right here on Swing City Radio.

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