Arthur William Todd (1914-2007)

21 Oct

One of the biggest hits of 1958 was “Chanson D’Amour” by Art and Dotty Todd. The couple had already been married for 17 years when they hit the charts. While they only had that one hit, it enabled them to appear on both the Ed Sullivan show and American Bandstand. Arthur William Todd died October 10th, at the age of 93 of congestive heart failure in Honolulu.

Mr Todd was born the fourth child of a family of six in Baltimore Maryland. His motherArt Todd of Art & Dotty Todd played piano, his father violin and young Arthur wanted to be a banjo player. So, when he was 10, he built one, out of a cigar box, a broom handle, and four pieces of wire. His father was so impressed, he bought him the best banjo he could find and Mr. Todd played that banjo his entire life.

He met his future wife, Doris “Dotty” Dabb, a piano player, while both were performing in Providence, R.I. They married in 1941 and Mr. Todd served in the Army in an entertainment unit during World War II. After the war, the couple worked the lounge circuit in California in the 1940s and 1950s as Art and Dotty Todd and later was signed by CBS for their own radio show.

Art & Dotty enjoyed a bit hit in England with ‘Broken Wings’ in 1953, but had no recording success in America until 1958. Composer “Wayne Shanklin stopped them one day and said, ‘I’ve got a great song for you.’ He had already written big the big hits, ‘Jezebel’ and ‘The Old Man and the Sea.’ Art knew that a lot of the success of their song came from the many old-time DJ’s who resisted the emerging rock sound. The song peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s Top 40 list on April 21, 1958. It remained on the list for 11 weeks.

Art & Dotty ToddThe Todds retired in Hawaii in 1980. They ran a supper club and were active members of the Oahu Country Club and Outrigger Canoe Club. Mrs. Todd died in 2000. Mr. Todd’s survivors include a sister, and eight nieces and nephews.

You’ll find ‘Chanson D’Amour’ on our play list, ‘the Honor Roll of Hits’. Listen for it on Tunedex Memories.


Posted by on October 21, 2007 in Rest In Peace


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7 responses to “Arthur William Todd (1914-2007)

  1. Tiffany Agno

    October 1, 2008 at 9:19 am

    I just want to say that Art was a very special person. It was a blessing to have known him and hear his stories and songs. He was a sweetheart. A dear friend. May he rest in peace.

    • Priscilla N. Agno

      December 29, 2009 at 12:14 am

      I want the whole world to know that Arthur W. Todd was a special and a dear friend to my heart. I really miss and love him so much. My children and I, used to take good care of him and he did the same for me and my children. He used to say that we are his little family. We really thank him and appreciated him so much in our lives. There were so many good memories when he was alive til he passed away. My son Walter J. Agno was very helpful for helping me to take care of Art and we were his only family that took care of him before we took him to the Straub Hospital here in Hawaii and ended his life on Oct. 10, 2007. Also my beloved son Walter J. Agno was killed at his condo on Nov. 12, 2007 one month after art passed away. May you both RIP my beloved favorite men in the world. I miss and love you both so much. I want it to give thanks to Jeannie Lee & Fred Jones, some of Arthur W. Todds best friends for always being there for him. I love you both…Priscilla Agno.

  2. Ken VanEtten

    November 3, 2008 at 6:09 am

    I collect banjo records and one day I picked up an LP entitled “I Love A Banjo” by Art Todd. Let me tell you, that guy was fantastic. It is one of my favorite all time recordings. His right hand technique was unsurpassed and the arrangements were top notch. If you can find a more exciting rendition of “12th Street Rag”, I’d like to hear it. I wish he had recorded more than one banjo album. Even though he’s gone, his music lives on in my car’s cd player.
    Ken VanEtten, Corning, NY

  3. Frank Teurlay

    March 27, 2009 at 7:45 am

    I learned of Art & Dotty while researching material for a book about my childhood neighborhood. Turns out, it was a WW II Army camp. I found images at the National Archives of entertainers on stage at the camp. There were no captions identfying who they were. One week before I turned in my contents in to the publisher, a vet called me and told me to research Art & Dotty Todd…they were at the camp. Sure enough, the captionless photo of the entertainers included Art & Dotty. They are pictured in my book now “Riverside’s Camp Anza and Arlanza”. I would love to learn more about Art & Dotty and see photos of them pre-war and in their later years. Having not known who they were before starting my research; now knowing they performed at the camp for the GIs in what later became the neighborhood of my youth, I feel a connection to them and want to get to know them better. I exhibited a couple of their album covers and sheet music in a recent Camp Anza exhibit at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum in their honor. I know a vet who remembers them well at Camp Anza. I look forward to learning more…

  4. aimee egner

    July 8, 2010 at 10:53 am

    art was my nana hattie’s brother. it is beautiful to know where my desire and love of music orgiginates. i wish i had known him better.

  5. Frank Teurlay

    July 8, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Hi Amiee, As mentioned in my March 27, 2009 comment on this blog, I’d love to learn more about Art & Dotty. I featured them in a book and museum exhibit. I have a collection of several of their albums….many autographed by them. I have been hoping to track down a family member some day. Anyway, if interested in sharing more about Art & Dotty, please let me know.

  6. Aimee Egner

    October 5, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    hi. i’ll tell my dad you are interested. he lived with them at one time. i’ll bet he’d talk with you on the phone. my email address is


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