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SWANSON , Robert E. "King of the Jingles" dies at 95. Robert Emil Swanson revolutionized American advertising, writing over 5000 customized jingles from 1952 to 1978. Besides being a composer and arranger, he played almost every instrument although he had had lessons only on the violin at age eight. Born in New York City on December 1, 1920, to immigrant parents (a Swedish father and a Sicilian mother) he was a gifted child and skipped two grades in grammar school. An exceptional athlete, his uncle, a professional boxer, taught him to box at an early age and he went on to box when he was in the military. While a student at NYU he was captain of the swim team and was a lifeguard at Jones Beach. In World War II he served as a high speed radio operator in the US Army Signal Corps; he was a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge and earned a Purple Heart. After college he had studied composing and arranging with the famous teacher Joseph Schillinger. Upon returning from the war, he traveled around the country with the Tex Beneke (Glenn Miller) Band, singing and arranging for the band's vocal group and sometimes playing the bass. Bob, as he was known, sang on many of his own jingles such as "Schaeffer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one", a Swanson original later sung by Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong and used by the late Mike Nichols in his 2008 production of "The Country Girl". He wrote iconic, classic jingles like "Um, um good, that was what Campbell soups are um, um good"; "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should"; "Don't wait to be told/you need Palmolive Gold" His "Northwest Orient ---BONG---Airlines" won a Cleo award (the Oscar of advertising). A man of many talents, Bob was a prolific artist, a chef, a comedian, a devout Christian, a model ship builder, a yachtsman and a beloved friend to many. Bob died peacefully, July 17, 2016 at his home in Phoenix with his family by his side. His loving wife of twenty-five years, Connie Jo, survives him along with sons Gary Swanson, Jon Swanson and Karl Picking; daughter Kathryn Barnes; granddaughters Jensen DeWees, Cristina Swanson, Kensley Barnes and Renee Watkins; also, two great granddaughters Cosette and Nicolette Watkins. He was buried with military honors, July 25, 2016 at Veterans National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those who wish to do so donate to Companion Hospice whose staff provided the constant care and support necessary to enable the family to keep Bob at home until the end which was in accordance with his wishes. The hospice address is 1930 S. Alma School Road, Ste. D105, Mesa, AZ 85210. Sign the Guestbook at: www.EastValleyTribune.com
Published on  August 2, 2017
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