For almost half a century, beginning in 1929 and going through the early 1970s, Guy Lombardo was Mr New Year’s Eve for millions of Americans. Before Dick Clark and now Ryan Seacreast, it was Lombardo Americans listened to as they prepared to bring in the New Year. He and his band first played from Chicago on radio in 1929 and later went on to be regulars on television every year.
Even as the big band era of the 1940s faded into memory, Lombardo and his Royal Canadians (he was Canadian, of Italian decent) played on. New Year’s Eve wasn’t New Year’s Eve without seeing and listening to him. Lombardo also made Auld Land Syne, an old Scottish tune and poem, into the song that has come to symbolize New Year’s Eve every year. The idea apparently came to him when the sponsor of his show was something called Robert Burns cigars and he felt something Scottish would be appropriate to play, he once told a CBS television interviewer.
That’s why there’s so much excitement at Grandma’s House about Guy Lombardo. It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without him.