Joe Harnell & His Orchestra

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b. Jospeh Hittelman, 2 August 1924, the Bronx, New York City, USA, d. 14 July 2005, Sherman Oaks, California, USA. Harnell was a conductor and director for various television programmes who also placed…
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Artist Biography by

b. Jospeh Hittelman, 2 August 1924, the Bronx, New York City, USA, d. 14 July 2005, Sherman Oaks, California, USA. Harnell was a conductor and director for various television programmes who also placed a couple of singles in the charts, one of which reached the US Top 20 in 1963. Harnell studied classical music under Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland at Tanglewood. Upon his graduation he moved back to New York where he began freelancing as a pianist with Lester Lanin, before drifting towards the nightclub circuit where he became a musical director for singers such as Robert Goulet, Peggy Lee, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra. Harnell was injured in a car accident in 1962 and spent the rest of the year recuperating. The following year he took advantage of a bossa nova music craze that was sweeping the USA, and with the help of Al Caiola, Milt Hinton and Tony Mottola recorded an instrumental, ‘Fly Me To The Moon Bossa-Nova’, for Kapp Records, based on the Bart Howard -penned ‘In Other Words’, which would later chart in vocal versions for artists including LaVern Baker and Tony Bennett. An attendant album stayed in the US charts for over a year. Harnell only placed one further single on the charts, ‘Diane’, in 1963, but carried on recording for Epic Records, Columbia Records, Jubilee Records and Motown Records.

Harnell found steady work as musical director for Grey Advertising before making a successful move into television at the start of the 70s, moving to Philadelphia to work on the daytime-aired The Mike Douglas Show. He continued to have success as an arranger-conductor, becoming the musical director for television series such as The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk, V, and Alien Nation. From the late 80s onwards Harnell concentrated on charitable and educational activities.