LOS ANGELES, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Billy May, best known for arranging Frank Sinatra's music, died Thursday of a heart attack at his home in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Voice of America reports. He was 87.
May was one of the most sought-after arrangers of big-band music and popular American standards, working with Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald among many others.
But it was the Sinatra albums that drew the most attention and regard. "Come Fly With Me" in 1957 reach No. 1 on the Billboard music charts. "Come Dance With Me" in 1959 received a Grammy award for album of the year.
May, who was famous for his signature style featuring so-called "slurping" saxophones on top of a swing rhythm, could arrange almost any type of tune. In his early career he played the trumpet with the Charlie Barnet Band and the Glenn Miller Orchestra. The Barnet Band recorded his arrangement of the song "Cherokee," which became a standard of the big-band era.