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Mainstay arranger and conductor of pop instrumental covers for MGM, and later, United Artists, Holmes' biggest hit was his version of Dmitri Tiomkin's theme to The High and the Mighty, which featured whistler Fred Lowery.
Holmes studied at Northwestern University and Julliard, and then individually with with composer Ernest Toch. He worked for Vincent Lopez for six years, then joined Harry James as James was reaching the height of his popularity in early 1940s. After World War Two, he moved to Hollywood, where he was hired by MGM as a house arranger and conductor.
With MGM, he backed numerous vocalists, including Judy Garland on her hit, "I Cried for You." He switched labels in the early 1960s, joining United Artists, where he contributed to numerous UA compilations of movie themes, backed singers such as Gloria Lynne and Shirley Bassey, and arranged and conducted albums under his own name. Most notable of these were a solid collection of Morricone tunes from spaghetti Westerns, For a Few Dollars More, and several LPs featuring some wonderful soft pop arrangements of movie themes, including the space age pop favorite, "Mah-nah Mah-nah."
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