Richard Benjamin "Dick" Haymes (September 13, 1918 – March 28, 1980) was one of the most popular American male vocalists of the 1940s and early 1950s. He was the older brother of Bob Haymes, an actor, television host, and songwriter.
One of the most popular male vocalists of the 1940s, Dick Haymes is often considered to have the best baritone voice of the twentieth century. Haymes worked with several bandleaders before beginning a solo career that took him to Hollywood stardom. His brother, Bob, was a successful songwriter.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1918, Haymes was the son of British parents, who at the time were living on the cattle ranch they owned in Argentina. After they separated, he was reared by his mother in Paris before the Depression crippled their finances. He spent the rest of his formative years in the United States, where his mother performed as a singer.
Haymes made his own professional debut at the age of 15, singing with a hotel band in New Jersey while on summer vacation. He left school in 1933 to move to Hollywood, and worked as a stuntman or extra on several films during the mid-'30s. After writing a few songs in 1939, he approached Harry James with hopes the bandleader would buy them; though James wasn't very impressed with his songwriting skills, he hired Haymes one year later, to replace Frank Sinatra as his leading male singer.
During 1941-42, Dick Haymes recorded a few hits with James, including "A Sinner Kissed an Angel" and "The Devil Sat Down and Cried." (His biggest hit with James, "I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)," hit number one in 1944, three years after its recording.) Haymes also sang with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey before signing to Decca in 1943. One of his first singles, "You'll Never Know," hit number one in July 1943. Another, "It Can't Be Wrong," was also a substantial hit at the same time.
|Dick with Helen Forrest 1944|
|Dick with Rita Hayworth|
He began a professional comeback in 1955, thanks to a contract with Capitol Records, the foremost label for adult pop. Haymes recorded two LPs for Capitol, Rain or Shine and Moondreams, but continued to be plagued by alcoholism. After moving to Ireland in the early '60s, Haymes finally kicked his drinking habit and returned to recording with 1969's Now and Then, which alternated Haymes classics with more contemporary material. He moved back to America in the '70s, performing numerous club dates and recording a live album at Cocoanut Grove. He last recorded in 1978, and lost his long bout with lung cancer two years later. He died in Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles. He was 61 years old.
(info edited from Wikipedia, mainly from AMG)