Richard Hayes, a pop singer who scored several hits in the early 1950s and later reinvented himself as a radio talk show host, died March 10 in Los Angeles after a long illness.
He was 84.
Born in Brooklyn in 1930, he had early success as a recording artist while still in his teens. Between 1948 and 1953 he had 14 top 25 hits, said his son, Jim Hayes. That included four top-10 hits, all on the Mercury label. His most successful record was "The Old Master Painter," produced by Mitch Miller, which reached No. 2 on the national charts in December 1949.
Miller would later pair Hayes with thrush Kitty Kallen. The duo had minor hits with “Our Lady of Fatima,” a religious song, and the novelty tune “Aba Daba Honeymoon.” His version of “Babalu,” recorded with Xavier Cugat, was used years later in the Woody Allen film Radio Days, Hayes recounted in a 2004 interview with writer Rex Strother.