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Dick Haymes was one of the most splendid ballad singers of his era, the near-equal of Crosby and Sinatra on classics of the form like "It Can't Be Wrong," "Till the End of Time" and "It Might as Well Be Spring." Though he was unable to cash in during the '50s golden era of adult-pop (due to alcoholism, troubles with the government, and a few tempestuous relationships), Haymes continued performing and recording until his death in 1980.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1918, Haymes was the son of British parents, who at the time were living on the cattle ranch they owned in Argentina. After they separated, he was reared by his mother in Paris before the Depression crippled their finances. He spent the rest of his formative years in the United States, where his mother performed as a singer. Haymes made his own professional debut at the age of 15, singing with a hotel band in New Jersey while on summer vacation. He left school in 1933 to move to Hollywood, and worked as a stuntman or extra on several films during the mid-'30s. After writing a few songs in 1939, he approached Harry James with hopes the bandleader would buy them; though James wasn't very impressed with his songwriting skills, he hired Haymes one year later, to replace Frank Sinatra as his leading male singer.
During 1941-42, Dick Haymes recorded a few hits with James, including "A Sinner Kissed an Angel" and "The Devil Sat Down and Cried." (His biggest hit with James, "I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)," hit number one in ...