was one of the most popular orchestra leaders and pop music arrangers of the '50s and early '60s. In fact, he had more pop hits than any other orchestra leader during the rock & roll era.
was also the musical director for many of the hitmakers on Dot Records, including
. As a pop music arranger, he was most distinctive for his his clean, inoffensive mainstream adaptations of rock & roll and R&B hits.
was also a recording artist, and he cut a number of albums of easy listening instrumental music that were very popular throughout the '60s.
began his professional music career in 1952, forming the vocal quartet the Hilltoppers
with Don McGuire
, Jimmy Sacca
, and Seymour Speigelman
. From 1952 to 1957, the Hilltoppers
had numerous hit singles, beginning with Vaughn
's song "Trying." He left the group in 1955 to join Dot Records as a musical director. Vaughn
was responsible for most of Dot's biggest hits of the '50s as he rearranged popular rock & roll and R&B songs for white mainstream groups. His first success was with the Fontane Sisters
, who sang with his orchestra on all their singles, including their 1954 breakthrough hit "Hearts of Stone." However, Dot's biggest success was Pat Boone
, who had a series of hits with Vaughn
's cleaned-up arrangements of rock & roll songs.
At the same time he was leading the vocal pop division of Dot, Vaughn
was recording his own instrumental records, which frequently were also covers of R&B and country songs. Beginning with 1954's "Melody of Love," Vaughn
had a string of easy listening U.S. hit singles that ran for over a decade. He also recorded numerous hit albums, with 36 of his records entering the U.S. album charts between 1958 and 1970. Though he was the most successful orchestra leader of the rock & roll era, he wasn't able to sustain an audience in the late '60s. Vaughn
released several albums in the '70s before quietly retiring in the early '80s.