The Unmistakable Sounds of Nelson Riddle Transformed Generations of Music

The Unmistakable Sounds of Nelson Riddle Transformed Generations of Music

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Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” Judy Garland’s “Come Rain or Come Shine” and Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” would not be the same immortal melodies without the musical genius of prolific composer and arranger Nelson Riddle, arguably the greatest of his era.

Riddle collaborated with the biggest musical stars of his time, including Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. But it was his work with Frank Sinatra that made him a household name the world over. By the time his career was winding down, Riddle was working with new names on the scene like Linda Ronstadt. He also wrote the hit TV theme “Route 66” from the 1960s series of the same name, composed the score to Batman: The Movie (1966) and turned down an offer from Paul McCartney to collaborate on a song. His shelf included Grammy and Oscar awards.

A revealing new biography from Geoffrey Littlefield, Nelson Riddle: Music with a Heartbeat, takes readers inside the world of the wildly successful but enigmatic Riddle. With the help of the late composer’s musician son, Christopher, Littlefield shares first-hand anecdotes, never-before-seen photographs and stories of some of the 20th Century’s biggest names in entertainment.

Littlefield traces Riddle’s life from the small town of Oradell, New Jersey, through a career that saw him hailed as the veritable king of what came to be known as the Great American Songbook — the canon of the most important and influential American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century.

But Littlefield reveals that, like so many creative souls, Riddle was a complex and troubled figure. His marriage to Doreen, with whom he had seven children, was rocky and constantly under threat from his numerous affairs.

“A complex and often forlorn genius, he will forever be remembered for his work with Sinatra,” Littlefield says. “But like fine wines, his later vintage was just as palatable, if somewhat of a surprise.”

Author Geoffrey Littlefield is a baby boomer born in London, England, whose lifelong passions include soccer and music. His first magazine article was published when he was just 13 years old, featuring interviews with Chelsea FC and England soccer players. His love of music grew simultaneously, with particular focus on the Great American Songbook. Geoffrey eventually moved into professional music management and record production, and his written works include an exclusive interview with singer Vic Damone. He has been the subject of several radio and television interviews about the Great American Songbook, both in the U.K. and U.S. Littlefield continues to write, produce and direct. He has two movie screenplays in development and a documentary set for release later in 2021.

Follow author Geoffrey Littlefield on Instagram at musicheartbeat1; on Twitter at @GeoffreyLittl13; and on Facebook at NelsonRiddleBook.

Nelson Riddle: Music with a Heartbeat
Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing
ISBN-10: 1839754400
ISBN-13: 978-1839754401
Available from,, and many other outlets

Trish Stevens
Holly McClure
Ascot Media Group, Inc.
Post Office Box 2394
Friendswood, TX 77549
281.333.3507 Phone


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