Best known for “Since I Don’t Have You” and “This I Swear,” The Skyliners’ lead singer/songwriter Jimmy Beaumont joined Essential Pittsburgh to discuss his career and Pittsburgh roots.
Beaumont grew up in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Knoxville (near Mount Oliver) in the 1940s. In an era before television, Beaumont says his family would gather on Saturday nights to share stories and more importantly, music. From a young age, he became interested in harmonies and was heavily influenced by the works of jazz pianist Nat King Cole.
He decided to pursue music, and spent his time listening to the great jazz and rhythm and blues artists of that time.
“We [The Skyliners] kind of formed our styles by putting those two types of groups together,” Beaumont explains.
In December of 1958, a 17 year old Beaumont traveled to New York City with the other Skyliners members to record “Since I Don’t Have You.”
“I thought that we had a real chance of making it big time,” Beaumont says.
Their label Calico Records was supportive of the young band’s dreams, hiring the best musicians to enhance their sound. Live string orchestras accompanied the band in the recording of “Since I Don’t Have You,” all of which was recorded in real time around one microphone.
“At that time, there were no piecing songs together or anything. It was all done together, musicians and singers,” Beaumont says.
At age 75, Beaumont says he is proud to continue to share what he loves to do with audiences, as he believes music and musicians make the world a better place.
“Everyone needs music whether they know it or not,” Beaumont says.
Although decades old, The Skyliners’ music has endured and will continue to celebrated for decades to come by young and old alike.
“It’s beautiful. I am so honored,” Beaumont says.
The 2016 Pittsburgh Rock 'N Roll Legends Awards kicks off Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Stage AE.
More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.