New Release: Nelson Riddle – Music with a Heartbeat

Christopher Riddle has contributed several first-hand accounts and memories to his father’s biography

About the Book:       

NELSON RIDDLE was possibly the greatest; one of the most successful arrangers in the history of American popular music. He worked with global icons such as Peggy Lee, Judy Garland and many more. And in a time of segregation and deep racial tensions in the US, he collaborated with leading black artists such as Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald, forming close, personal friendships with both. He also wrote successful TV themes and Oscar-winning film scores.

A complex and often forlorn genius, he will forever be remembered for his immortal work with Frank Sinatra, but like fine wines his later vintage was just as palatable, if somewhat of a surprise.

About the Author:

Geoffrey Littlefield is a baby boomer born in London, England, whose lifelong passions include football, films and music. His first magazine article was published when he was just 13 years old, featuring interviews with Chelsea FC and England soccer players. His love of music grew simultaneously, with particular focus on the Great American Songbook.

Geoffrey eventually moved into professional music management and record production, and his written works include an exclusive interview with singer Vic Damone. He has been the subject of several radio and television interviews about the Great American Songbook, both in the U.K. and U.S. Geoffrey continues to write, produce and direct. He has two movie screenplays in development and a documentary set for release later in 2021.


Excerpt from the book:

“We delve deep into an extraordinary musical legacy that saw Riddle win one of the first Grammy’s, an Oscar (after five nominations) for The Great Gatsby and spawned countless hit singles and albums.

Through family personal photographs of recording sessions, live performances and interviews with those who knew him well, my book explores the musical genius behind some of the greatest popular tunes of the 20th Century. My own knowledge and expertise in that field has been greatly enhanced by this journey of discovery.

But, like so many creative souls, Riddle was a complex and troubled figure; his marriage to Doreen, with whom he had seven children, was rocky to say the least. The maestro led a complicated and troubled personal life – perhaps never really finding the kind of peace or success in his private life that he enjoyed in his professional one. His marriage was constantly under threat by his numerous affairs.

And in spite of the mutual admiration, Sinatra always had a wandering eye. When Frank chose to have his own ‘professional sleeping around’ with other arrangers in the late 1950s, Riddle began another fruitful collaboration, recording with Ella Fitzgerald. Their work together included three of her landmark “songbook” albums, devoted to George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer.”

“Nelson Riddle:  Music with a Heartbeat” by Geoffrey Littlefield is available in hardback from Amazon at:

This book is also available in paperback from Amazon at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Geoff Littlefield
Tel. 01252 710703, mob. 07757 788767
E-mail: glittlefield@live.com