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Don Cherry (singer)

  (Redirected from Don Cherry (singer/golfer))

Donald Ross Cherry (January 11, 1924 – April 4, 2018)[1] was an American traditional pop music and big band singer and golfer. In music, he is best known for his 1955 hit "Band of Gold".

Don Cherry
Birth nameDonald Ross Cherry
Born(1924-01-11)January 11, 1924
Wichita Falls, Texas, U.S.
DiedApril 4, 2018(2018-04-04) (aged 94)
GenresBig band, traditional pop
Years active1951–1960s
LabelsDecca, Columbia


Cherry was born in Wichita Falls, Texas. He started in his early 20s as a big band singer in the orchestras of Jan Garber and Victor Young. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces.[1] In 1951, he recorded his first solo hits, "Thinking of You" and "Belle, Belle, My Liberty Belle". In 1955, came his biggest hit, Band of Gold, which reached No. 4 on the Billboard chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[2] The track peaked at No. 6 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] He had three more hits in 1956: "Wild Cherry", "Ghost Town", and "Namely You", all backed by orchestra leader Ray Conniff. He was also the voice of the Mr. Clean commercials during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Throughout his singing career, Cherry was also a top-ranked amateur golfer, and was in contention to win the 1960 U.S. Open before eventually finishing tied for ninth along with Ben Hogan, four strokes behind winner Arnold Palmer.[4] Cherry played on three Walker Cup teams (1953, 1955, and 1961), in the Americas Cup twice (1954 and 1960) and in nine Masters Tournaments, making the cut seven times with a best finish of T-25 in 1959.[5] He captured the Canadian Amateur Championship in 1953 and the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur title in 1954. In 1962, Cherry decided to turn professional and "Pro" became his nickname among fellow entertainers. His volcanic temper on the golf course (which, according to Cherry, "...made Tommy Bolt look like a choir boy!") was in startling contrast to his velvety-smooth singing voice and pleasant stage persona.[citation needed]

Cherry published his biography, Cherry's Jubilee, with co-writer Neil Daniels. He was a good friend of Willie Nelson, and had collaborated on three albums with him, Augusta (1995), The Eyes of Texas (2002), and It's Magic (2007). Cherry was married four times, once to 1956 Miss America Sharon Ritchie, before wedding Francine Bond Smith, in 1993. They lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. His son, Stephen, was a casualty of the 9/11 attacks when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. Stephen left behind four sons.[6]

Cherry died at a hospice on April 4, 2018 at the age of 94. He is survived by his wife, Francine.[1][7]


Year Title Chart positions
1950 "Mona Lisa"(with Victor Young) 7
"The 3rd Man Theme"(with Victor Young) 22
"Thinking of You" 4
1951 "Vanity" 11
"Belle, Belle, My Liberty Belle"(with Sonny Burke) 25
1955 "Band of Gold"A"(with Ray Conniff) 4
1956 "Wild Cherry" (with Ray Conniff) 29
"I'm Still a King to You" (with Ray Conniff) 72
"Ghost Town" (with Ray Conniff) 22
"I'll Be Around" (with Ray Conniff) 78
"Namely You" (with Ray Conniff) 65
"Give me More" (with Ray Conniff)
1966 "Married"B
"I Love You Drops" 112
1967 "There Goes My Everything" 113
1968 "Take a Message to Mary"C
  • A"Band of Gold" also peaked at No. 6 in UK Singles Chart.
  • B"Married" also peaked at No. 30 in Adult Contemporary singles.
  • C"Take a Message to Mary" also peaked at No. 71 in Billboard country chart


  1. ^ a b c Goldstein, Richard (August 21, 2018). "Don Cherry, Singer by Night and Golfer by Day, Is Dead at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 72. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 103. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ 1960 U.S. Open results[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Don Cherry". Golf Major Championships. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  6. ^ Archived July 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Dean Martin Fan Center". Retrieved October 22, 2019.


  • Cherry, Don; Daniels, Neil (2006). Cherry's Jubilee: Singin' and Swingin' Through Life with Dino and Frank, Arnie and Jack. Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1-57243-834-7.

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