Bob Manning, a Capitol Records vocalist who gained prominence in the 1950s, died Oct. 23 in Los Angeles of complications brought on by pneumonia. He was 71.
Born in Philadelphia, Manning began his career in 1947 during the waning years of the Big Band era as the male vocalist for Ziggy Elman’s band. He also sang with the Art Mooney Orchestra and was affiliated with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
After struggling in New York in the early 1950s, Manning made an independent recording session that earned him a Capitol Records deal. His definitive rendition of “The Nearness of You” became a Top 20 hit for Capitol in the spring of 1953.
Manning’s success rose as a balladeer with numerous singles on MGM, Capitol, RCA and Everest, including “All I Desire,” “Venus De Milo” and “Alone Together.”
He also made numerous TV appearances and was personally picked by Jackie Gleason to perform “My Love Song for You” (1954) for a special “Honeymooners” episode.
Manning is survived by his wife and daughter.