Nisha Rathode (Editor)

James Melton

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Name  James Melton
Role  Singer
Education  University of Florida

James Melton httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb9
Died  April 21, 1961, New York City, New York, United States
Movies  Ziegfeld Follies, Melody for Two, Stars Over Broadway, Sing Me a Love Song
Albums  Kern: Showboat (1932, 1946), Show Boat
Similar People  Helen Morgan, Paul Robeson, Marion Bell, Screamin' Jay Hawkins

James melton you are love 1932

James Melton (January 2, 1904 – April 21, 1961), a popular singer in the 1920s and early 1930s, later began a career as an operatic singer when tenor voices went out of style in popular music around 1932–35. His singing talent was similar to that of Richard Crooks, John Charles Thomas or Nelson Eddy.


James Melton Lecture at the Museum James Melton the Tenor of His Time Living

Melton usually catered to popular music fans, singing romantic songs and popular ballads in a sweet style. He was born in Moultrie, Georgia but was raised in Citra, Florida, where his parents grew melons and handled hogs.

James Melton Naamloos document

In 1920, he graduated from high school in Ocala, Florida and then attended college at the University of Florida, Vanderbilt University and the University of Georgia. He received vocal instruction from Gaetano de Luca in Nashville from 1923 to 1927 before moving to New York where he studied with Beniamino Gigli's teacher, Enrico Rosati. Melton also worked in dance bands, playing saxophone in a college jazz ensemble and performing with Francis Craig's Orchestra in Atlanta in 1926.

James Melton James Melton Hollywood Star Walk Los Angeles Times

James Melton - You Are Love (1932)


James Melton James Melton Licia Albanese Vogliatemi Bene YouTube

The following year, he began singing on New York radio for no pay. He joined "Roxy's Gang", a cabaret group led by Samuel Roxy Rothafel, who worked with the Sieberling Singers. He made records for Victor Records, singing as one of the tenors with The Revelers and for Columbia Records with the same group under the pseudonym of The Singing Sophomores. He frequently sang with popular singer Jane Froman and appeared with her in film as well.

James Melton James Melton September in the Rain HD YouTube

Melton recorded his first songs under his own name for Columbia in the autumn of 1927. He quickly became a popular singer and made numerous vocal recordings as well as singing vocal choruses for dance records. By 1931, the Great Depression along with the rise of conservatism and a religious revival initiated a movement to more masculine sounding voices in popular music. Singers such as Franklyn Baur, Nick Lucas and Scrappy Lambert saw their careers diminish, while baritones such as Bing Crosby and Russ Columbo became popular. Tenor voices became viewed as outdated in popular music. Melton was forced to change paths and decided to try to continue his career with classical music. He began to train his voice with help from the pianist Michael Raucheisen in Berlin and gave his first concert performance at Town Hall on April 22, 1932 in New York and embarked on an American and Canadian concert tour along with songwriter George Gershwin in 1934.

Melton continued to perform on the radio. He was heard on The Firestone Hour in 1933, on Ward's Family Theater in 1935, The Sealtest Sunday Night Party (1936), The Palmolive Beauty Box Theater (1937), The Song Shop (1938), the Bell Telephone Hour (1940), Texaco Star Theater (1944) and Harvest of Stars (1945). In 1941, a newspaper columnist described Melton as "currently one of radio's busiest singers."

In the thirties, Melton also sang and acted on the Jack Benny Radio Shows.


Although not distinguished as a dramatic actor, he also appeared in movie musicals, including Stars Over Broadway (1935), Sing Me a Love Song (1936), Melody for Two (1937) and the MGM revue, Ziegfeld Follies (1946).


After voice training with Angelo Canarutto, Melton's operatic singing career took off in 1938 when he appeared with the Cincinnati Zoo Opera Company as Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly and also with the St. Louis Opera Company as Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata. In 1939, he sang Pinkerton for his debut with the Philadelphia La Scala Opera Company with Annunciata Garrotto as Cio-cio-san. He worked with the Chicago Civic Opera from 1940 to 1942, appearing with Helen Jepson in Madama Butterfly, with Lily Pons in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, with Risë Stevens in Mignon and in Flotow's Martha. On 7 December 1942, Melton debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Tamino in Mozart's The Magic Flute. He continued to perform at the Met through 1950.

Melton spent the 1950s making records, singing in nightclubs, appearing on television, including Ford Festival (1951–1952) also known as The James Melton Show, and collecting rare automobiles. His last stage production was Sigmund Romberg's The Student Prince.

Later life

He established the Autorama, an auto museum in Hypoluxo, Florida. Ken Purdy interviewed him on his collection and wrote a book about it. The museum's collection was dispersed after his death. Melton has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for radio and the other for recording. He died in New York City from pneumonia.


James Melton Wikipedia

Similar Topics
Helen Morgan
Paul Robeson
Melody for Two