It’s New Year’s Eve!
On today’s date in 1929, Guy Lombardo’s New Year’s Eve Party premiered at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel in what was the first nationwide New Year’s Eve radio broadcast, during which Lombardo and His Royal Canadians performed the Robbie Burns classic, Auld Lang Syne.
The New Year’s Eve Party, which was held from 1959-76 at the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel, eventually became the longest-running annual special broadcast in radio history.
By 1954, Lombardo and His Royal Canadians sold more than 100 million records and played at the inaugural balls of every U.S. president from Franklin Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower (and once again in 1985 for Ronald Reagan).
For many years and through many administrations, several U.S. presidents would also call Lombardo to wish him well on “Lombardo’s Day.”
MILLIONS OF VIEWERS
In 1954, more than 1.5 million viewers tuned in to see the first live telecast.
For creating the iconic New Year’s Eve Party, which ran for nearly 50 years, Lombardo was described by Variety as “the only Canadian ever to create an American tradition.”
On Dec. 17, 1999, as part of its Millennium Collection, Canada Post issued a 46-cent stamp (Scott #1820c) featuring Lombardo. The stamp was issued on a pane of four (SC #1820) dubbed “Extraordinary Entertainers.” Printed by Ashton-Potter on Tullis Russel paper, the stamps have general tagging along all sides.