Albert J. Trace (December 25, 1900 - August 31, 1993) was a prolific American songwriter and orchestra leader of the 1930s, 40s and 50s whose peak of popularity was reached in the Chicago area during the height of the Big Band era.
A native of Chicago, Al Trace played professional baseball before deciding on music as a career. His first jobs during the early 1920s included playing the drums and singing with various bands, until he formed his own band in 1933, the year his home city was celebrating its centennial with a World's Fair officially known as A Century of Progress International Exposition. The band's premiere engagement in May 1933 was at the Fair's French pavilion and, when the Fair closed for the winter on November, he remained in Chicago, beginning a long engagement at the Blackhawk Restaurant, followed by three years at the Sherman Hotel. Starting in early 1943 and continuing during and after World War II, the Al Trace Orchestra, including vocalists Toni Arden and Bob Vincent, were familiar regulars on Chicago-based It Pays to Be Ignorant, one of the most popular shows of the era referenced as the Golden Age of Radio.
Trace recorded for several record companies: Mercury Records, MGM Records, Columbia Records, Damon Records, Regent Records and composed over 300 songs, some alone and others as a collaborator, most frequently with his ten-years-older brother, Ben, while also writing a considerable number of songs using the pseudonyms Clem Watts or Bob Hart. Among the Ben Trace/Al Trace collaborations was Al's most successful recording, "You Call Everybody Darlin'", which became a #1 hit in 1948. Another very popular song was "If I Knew You Were Coming I'd've Baked a Cake". His other song collaborators included Al Hoffman, Bob Merrill, and Abner Silver.
In 1975, shortly after his seventy-fourth birthday, he retired from active work as a songwriter and bandleader and joined with another ex-bandleader to form a booking agency in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Al Trace died of a stroke in Sun City West, Arizona at the age of 92.
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