Blast from the past, Dick Noel dead at 90

Dick Noel, a crooner with the Ray Anthony Orchestra who went on to be known as “The King of the Jingles” for his work on commercials, died Friday, Oct. 23 at Escondido after a long illness, his friend Hank Jones said. He was 90.

A Time for Love, his highly regarded 1978 album made in collaboration with pianist Larry Novak, featured world-weary renditions of such ballads as “Send in the Clowns” and “Here’s That Rainy Day,” and he was praised in the liner notes by famed jazz vocalist Mel Torme.

After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Noel toured the country with Anthony in the late 1940s and sang with his orchestra on several hits, including “Count Every Star.”

The Brooklyn native also recorded for Decca and Columbia before launching his own label, Fraternity Records, which had hits with Cathy Carr’s “Ivory Tower” and Jimmy Dorsey’s “So Rare.”

Noel hosted several radio programs, sang regularly on The Ruth Lyons Show in Cincinnati and then joined Don McNeill’s popular Breakfast Club for which he was the lead singer on that Chicago-based radio show for years.

He made his first television appearances on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts at CBS and in 1962 became a featured performer on The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show at ABC.

Noel left Ford’s variety program in 1965 and returned to Chicago, where he sang on a multitude of national TV and radio commercials. “The King of the Jingles” was said to have recorded 15,000 spots, including those for United Airlines and McDonald’s, during his career.

Noel retired to the San Diego area in the late 1980s.

Survivors include Nancy, his wife of 40 years, daughters Patricia and Catherine and stepchildren Ken, Cliff and Laura.

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