Bobby Hackett

Inducted: 1972
Born: 1915
Died: 1976

Bobby (Robert) Leo Hackett (January 31, 1915 – June 7, 1976) was born in Providence, the seventh of nine children to William (a blacksmith) and Rose Hackett.  He was a popular American jazz musician who played trumpet, cornet, and guitar with Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman in the late 1930s and early 1940s. As a Dixieland artist, Hackett played occasional, short solos and could be heard playing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra on “A String of Pearls”.  A dream come true for Hackett was his inclusion in Louis Armstrong’s 1947 Town Hall Jazz Concert. In 1954, he appeared as a regular on the ABC variety show “The Martha Wright Show”, also known as “The Packard Showroom”. 

Hackett’s fame grew after he was hired by showman Jackie Gleason as a cornet soloist for some of Gleason’s earliest mood music albums.  Beginning in 1952, he appeared on Gleason’s first Capitol Records album, “Music for Lovers Only.” The record—as well as all of Gleason’s next 10 albums—went gold. He appeared on six more of Gleason’s albums, which led directly to his signing with Capitol.

In 1965, he toured with singer Tony Bennett, and in 1966 and 1967 he accompanied Bennett on two European tours. In the early 1970s, he performed separately with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and singer Teresa Brewer.

In 2012, Hackett was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame. Hackett was a Freemason and was active with St. Cecile Lodge #568, a lodge specifically for musicians and artists. Hackett died in 1976 of a heart attack at the age of 61.

Bobby Hackett married Edna Lillian Lee Hackett (d.2000) in 1937. The Hacketts lived primarily in New York City and spent summers in Cape Cod, before moving to Chatham in 1970. They had a daughter, Barbara (d. 2003); and a son, Ernie, a professional drummer.

John Parrillo

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