b. Harry Freidman, 19 November 1913, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, d. 16 July 2005, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Originally an impresario in his home town, Barron formed his own band in the mid-30s. With a clear eye on the cash register, he adopted a musical policy that catered for the sweetest levels of popular taste. Heralded by his sugary signature tune, ‘Sometimes I’m Happy’, he became very successful, securing important hotel and dancehall circuit bookings in the late 30s and throughout the 40s. He was also popular on radio, where his own makeshift orchestra was sometimes augmented by jazz guest stars of distinction. Singer Tommy Ryan fronted the band while Barron served in the US Forces during World War II, and when he returned, Barron had popular record successes with ‘Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba’, ‘You Were Only Fooling (While I Was Falling In Love)’, ‘Cruising Down The River’ (winner of the UK Hammersmith Palais Song Contest, and a US number 1), ‘Powder Your Face With Sunshine’, ‘Whose Girl Are You’, ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’ and ‘Let Me In’. The band continued well into the 50s before changing musical trends made it no longer financially viable. Barron subsequently pursued a career in real estate management but also performed with his wife, singer Patty Zych (aka Patty Clayton), on the hotel circuit.
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