Al Caiola, one of Epiphone's most ardent supporters for over six decades whose deep understanding of American music styles made him the guitarist of choice for virtually every major artist of the 20th century, passed away this week at the age of 96. Caiola's performance and recording credits include Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Buddy Holly's pioneering strings session in New York City.
Alexander Emil Caiola was born Jersey City, New Jersey in September 7, 1920. He began playing guitar at age 11 and was performing around his Jersey City neighborhood in his teens. After serving in the Marines in World War II, Caiola studied music and composition at the New Jersey College of Music on the G.I. Bill. Upon graduating, he moved to Manhattan where he worked as a staff musician for CBS Radio performing theme songs for the Jackie Gleason Show
and Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts
In the early 60s, Caiola began a decade-long affiliation with United Artists where he released over 30 singles and albums, including Top 20 hits with the theme song to The Magnificent Seven and Bonanza. In the mid 60s, Caiola was given his own custom signature model, the Epiphone Al Caiola Standard, one of the first artists of Epiphone's modern era to have such an honor. Caiola continued performing into his 90s and was a vital link to Epiphone's early history in New York. Be sure to check out his classic albums Sounds for Spies and Private Eyes featuring "Underwater Chase." To Al's friends and family, Epiphone sends our thoughts and condolences for a true legend of the House of Stathopoulo.