Bob Bellows

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Bob Bellows has been one of the more enduring figures in easy listening music since the 1950s. Born Robert Brusen in Menomonie, WI, he started playing the piano at age four, and by 15 was on tour with…
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Bob Bellows has been one of the more enduring figures in easy listening music since the 1950s. Born Robert Brusen in Menomonie, WI, he started playing the piano at age four, and by 15 was on tour with a group. He followed this with a hitch in the Navy and study at the McPhail Conservatory of Music in Minneapolis, taking both classical piano and singing. He subsequently emerged to local fame by winning a contest on a Minneapolis radio station. That prize, in the Stairway to Stardom competition, got him an invitation to sing the title song at the 1955 New York City premiere of the movie Love Is a Many Splendored Thing. From that jumping-off point, he doubled as an actor and musician for many years, performing on-stage in plays such as Life with Father and You Can't Take It with You in regional companies, and as a pianist and singer, earning plaudits from such figures as songwriter Sammy Cahn. Bellows' music is sometimes categorized as easy listening, but it also encompasses light jazz. One high point of his career is his 1960 album Misty, which grew out of an engagement in Nashville -- it was recorded with guitarist Hank Garland (in one of his very last gigs before he retired) and Anita Kerr at the piano, with Bobby Moore on bass and Buddy Harmon on drums, and remains in print in the 21st century.