I was privileged to see Billy Eckstine live twice.
First time was around 1947-48 when my Dad and I went to Chicago to see the College Allstars football game at Soldiers Field. The Chicago Tribune sponsored the annual allstar game for charity. The best players in college would battle the National Football Champs in a game that was televised nationally. (The NFL would be smart in bringing this game back!)
Billy Eckstine was huge...having just recorded a number one record called “I Apologize” and he was featured at the Chicago Theater in the loop.
Not only did I see him but I got on the radio for the very first time on a big Chicago station for a short interview with the host....after the show.
Then in 1973 when I was filling in at WERE Cleveland...Sammy Davis Jr. came to town to do a show in downtown Cleveland with Billy Eckstine as his opening act.
It had been nearly 50 years since that night in Chicago and his voice was still as mellow as ever. And because he was now legend...Billy was well received by the Cleveland crowd.
.....and I had come full circle with him!
Sammy was as terrific as you would expect. The highlight, as always, was his rendition of "Mr. Bo Jangles."
I was watching tv the first time he did that still get goosbumps every time.