Bob Bain earned his place as the number one guitarist for many Hollywood studios in the 1950s and ’60s. He played on countless jingles, albums, and soundtracks for television and movies. There were also many years of live radio.
Records by Frank Sinatra, including Young At Heart and I’ve Got You Under My Skin, featured Bain on guitar, as did records with his favorite male vocalist, Nat King Cole including Unforgettable. He also played on albums by Mel Torme, Peggy Lee, and Rosemary Clooney.
In the ’70s, a young, talented crowd of guitarists raised their axes and slowly began to dominate. Bain continued to record, write, arrange, produce and for 22 years he held the guitar chair for one of the greatest television orchestras of all time The Tonight Show Band. Through the years, Bain’s talent, respect, and generosity opened the doors for many other studio guitarists, arrangers, and musicians.
Bain was playing with the Phil Moore band, when a record date for bebop. Frank Sinatra wanted to record a bop record, so they decided Phil’s group was the one. So we did this record with Sinatra called Bop Goes My Heart, a sort of novelty bop recording. Sinatra had a little trouble hitting the flatted fifth.
They worked at places like The Macambo, on the Sunset Strip and La Papillon. When Phil worked there, Howard Hughes had the best table in the house, and it was reserved every night for him. Nobody ever sat at that table. No matter how crowded the place was, that table was empty. One memorable night, about midnight, Hughes, wearing a sports coat, tie, and tennis shoes, sat at the table. He requested I’m Gonna Take A Slow Boat To China, which the group played straight away. Hughes stayed about 30 minutes, then left.