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Lopez, Vincent (Joseph)

Lopez, Vincent (Joseph)

Lopez, Vincent (Joseph), American pianist, bandleader, and composer; b. Brooklyn, Dec. 30, 1894; d. North Miami Beach, Fla., Sept. 20, 1975. His father, of Portuguese ancestry, a bandmaster in the U.S. Navy, taught Lopez the rudiments of music. However, he sent him to St. Mary’s Passionist Monastery in the hope that he would become a Roman Catholic priest. But Lopez turned to music, and as a teenager played in the beer halls of Brooklyn. Later he led restaurant orchs. in N.Y. In 1927 he inaugurated a regular broadcasting hour of dance band music over radio station WJX in Newark, on which he popularized the song Nola, using it as a signature, opening with a greeting, “Hello, everybody... Lopez speaking.” He had the first sustaining television show, “Dinner Date with Lopez,” which featured show-business personalities. Among his song hits were Rockin’ Chair Swing; Knock, Knock, Who’s There?; and The World Stands Still. He also gave lectures on numerology and related pseudo-sciences.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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