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Archie Bleyer is Born

Today in Masonic History Archie Bleyer is born in 1909.

Archie Bleyer was an American musician and band leader.

Bleyer was born in New York City, New York. His father was a well known trumpet player of the time. His father would even play at the Metropolitan Opera. Bleyer himself would start playing piano at the age of 7. In 1927, Bleyer went to Columbia University. His original major was electrical engineering. In his sophomore year he would change his major to music. He would leave college without graduating to become an arranger.

In the 1930's Bleyer wrote a number of songs that would be recorded. He would also begin directing his own band. While directing his band he would work with a variety of people including Johnny Mercer who became better known as a songwriter and co-founder of Capitol Records.

In 1946, Bleyer would become musical director for Arthur Godfrey. Many attribute Godfrey's success to Bleyer who had a creativity and understanding of the music that Godfrey did not posses. In many ways Bleyer was the mentor to Godfrey despite Godfrey being the elder of the two.

In 1952, Bleyer started Cadence records. Within a year, Cadence, at least in part, would be the end of Godfrey and Bleyer's relationship. In 1953, Bleyer would record Don McNeil, a Chicago based radio personality. At the time McNeil was not a competitor of Godfrey, although he was once. Godfrey still saw him as a competitor and confronted Bleyer about it. According to Godfrey's account of the events, when Godfrey confronted Bleyer about the issue and threatened to fire him, Bleyer simply shrugged and said "do what he had to do". It is also believed that Godfrey, in part, fired Bleyer for dating another staff member, Janet Ertel, which Godfrey expressly forbade. Bleyer would later marry Ertel in 1954.

Cadence records would continue until 1963. During Bleyer's time with Cadence he would produce and work with many artists including Andy Williams and the Everly Brothers. Bleyer had an intense dislike for Rock and Roll. Despite his dislike he would sign pioneering garage-rock guitarist Link Wray. Cadence would put out one album from Wray and a second was recorded. Bleyer disliked the album so much that he broke his contract with Wray and sealed the album away. The album would not see the light of day for decades.

In 1964, Bleyer could not accept the changing pop music market with the coming British Invasion, so he sold Cadence to Andy Williams who would manage the Cadence catalog under Barnaby Records. Bleyer would hold on to the unreleased Wray album in the sale.

Bleyer would retire with his Janet to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In Wisconsin on March 20th, 1989 Bleyer would pass away from the effects of Parkinson Disease.

Bleyer was a member of St. Cecile Lodge No. 568 in New York City, New York.