One thing I’ve learned from years of putting together pieces about musical performers is that there is usually some degree of popularity that crosses borders. For example, someone who was a big star in the UK was usually well-known in America and elsewhere too, even if not quite to the same level of fame. But there have been exceptions, like British trumpeter Eddie Calvert — billed as the man with the golden trumpet — who often topped the charts in his homeland during the 1950s but had a much lower profile in the US.
Born in the city of Preston in NW England, Albert Edward Calvert certainly grew up primed for success on the trumpet. His family was deeply involved in a local brass band, and young Eddie soon became familiar with many of the instruments before finally concentrating on the trumpet. He was a full-fledged member of the band at age 11 and his future seemed set, but as he grew to adulthood his career progress took a back seat to World War II.
In the post-war years Calvert again pursued his musical muse, and after transitioning from amateur brass bands to professional dance bands he began to make his name. By the 1950s he was appearing solo with outfits like those of Stanley Black, and had picked up his nickname as ‘the man with the golden trumpet’ by making a big splash on TV. He also began hitting the recording studio with regularity, soon topping the British charts with his 1953 instrumental of Eddie Fisher’s pop hit, “Oh Mein Papa.”
For most of the decade Calvert was a familiar part of the musical landscape in the UK, often appearing on TV and radio while also scoring another number-one hit with “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.” (As did Perez Prado.) He continued to sell a lot of records with songs like “Stranger In Paradise” and many others, but by the 1960s the musical tastes of the public were changing. Calvert continued to find success for a number of years but things inevitably slowed, and he eventually relocated to South Africa. He was still musically active in his new home country, but he died in 1978 at just age 56.