- 1935 - 1984
Showing 188 resultsGeauthoriseerde beschrijving
- 1935 - 1960s
- 1922-04-03 -
- 1925-12-08 - 1990-05-16
Sammy Davis Jr. was an American actor, singer, and dancer. He also had several comedic routines and was noted for his impressions of other celebrities. Born to and raised by vaudevillian parents, Davis learned to act, sing, and dance at a young age. He toured with his father for much of his childhood and performed as part of the Will Mastin Trio until World War II. During the war he belonged to an integrated entertainment unit. After the war he returned to performing with the Will Mastin Trio, and recorded blues albums for Capitol. In 1954 he performed the title song for the film "Six Bridges to Cross"; two years later he starred in the Broadway musical "Mr. Wonderful."
In 1959 Davis became a part of Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack" and appeared in several movies as part of the group, such as 1960's "Ocean's 11". They performed regularly together in Las Vegas, where Davis had to deal with the effects of continued segregation. He continued to act and record through the 1960s and '70s.
Davis was in a car accident in 1954 in which he lost his left eye. He wore a glass eye for the rest of his life. He also converted to Judaism in 1961. Davis died from throat cancer at the age of 64.
- 1920s - 1936
The Boswell Sisters were an American all-female singing group of three sisters: Martha (June 9, 1905 – July 2, 1958), Connee (December 3, 1907 – October 11, 1976), and Helvetia (May 20, 1911 – November 12, 1988). They were noted for their close harmonies and unconventional renditions of popular songs, and are considered some of the first stars of mass entertainment due to their success on the radio. The group was a huge influence on later female singers such as the Andrews Sisters and Ella Fitzgerald.
Raised in New Orleans, the sisters got into ragtime and jazz and were performing regularly in vaudeville shows in their early teens. They signed with Victor Records in 1925 and toured for several years before settling in Los Angeles in 1929 and began appearing in radio programs and recording music for films. They did not attract national attention, however, until they moved to New York in 1930 and started singing in national radio broadcasts. They recorded for Brunswick Records between 1931 and 1935, issuing a series of recordings with the Glenn Miller Orchestra that are now considered milestones of vocal jazz for their experimentation with rhythm, harmony, and tempo. They also performed in several movies and toured Europe twice during the same period. In 1936 the trio signed with Decca, but suddenly broke up soon after. Connee continued a successful solo career with Decca into the 1940s, performing on the radio with Bing Crosby on a number of occasions, as well as singing in several more films.
- 1920s - 1960s
The Andrews Sisters were an American all-female singing group of three sisters: LaVerne, Maxene, and Patty. They were famous for their close harmony and vocal syncopation. The Andrews Sisters are considered the most famous female singing group of the first half of the 20th century, having sold an estimated 75 to 100 million records during their career.
The sisters made their breakthrough in the late 1930s with multiple issued recordings and live radio broadcast performances. They sang with a variety of other singers and bands of the era; they recorded almost fifty songs with Bing Crosby alone, half of which charted on Billboard. They also appeared in a number of Universal Pictures films in the early 1940s, at the height of their popularity.
The group officially disbanded in 1953 when youngest sister Patty decided to pursue a solo career. The sisters' relationships thereafter were often estranged, although they did continue to occasionally record together and go on reunion tours. After LaVerne's death in 1967, Maxene and Patty pursued separate careers before briefly reuniting for the Broadway show "Over Here!" in 1974. The year-long run was the last time any of the sisters performed together.
- 1926-08-03 -
Anthony Dominick Benedetto was born in Queens to Italian parents. He grew up poor and began singing for money in restaurants at age 13. He briefly attended New York's School of Industrial Art, learning painting and music, but dropped out at age 16 to work and support his family. Bennett was drafted into the US Army in late 1944 and was part of the military force that pushed the German army out of France and back into their homeland. He remained briefly as part of the occupying force after the end of the war, and was assigned to sing with a special services band entertaining American forces. He returned to the US in 1946 and studied at the American Theatre Wing. It was during this period that he developed the technique of imitating the style and phrasing of other artists that helped him learn to improvise while performing.
In 1949, Bennett was invited by singer Pearl Bailey to open for one of her shows. Bob Hope attended the performance and hired Bennett to perform with him on his tours. Bennett signed with Columbia Records the next year, and recorded his first hit "Because of You" a year after that. For the rest of the 1950s he continued to be a certifiable hit. In August 1956 he hosted a temporary television variety show, "The Tony Bennett Show," in Perry Como's NBC slot as part of a summer show series that also featured Patti Page and Julius La Rosa. Bennett would do so again in 1959.
Despite the arrival of rock'n'roll, Bennett continued to release a steady stream of popular and jazz albums and remained a highly popular nightclub performer. In 1962, he sang as part of the initial broadcast of the "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and recorded one of his most famous songs, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco". Unfortunately, however, the 1970s were not kind to Bennett. Attempts to get into acting, recording more contemporary songs, and even starting his own record label all failed; by 1979 Bennett was rarely performing outside of Las Vegas clubs, was all but bankrupt, and had developed a drug addiction. He turned to his adult children for help, and his oldest son Danny became his manager.
In the late 1980s and into the '90s, Bennett worked to reintroduce his music to a new generation of listeners back in New York City. He recorded several successful themed albums and even appeared on MTV in 1994. He continued to tour and record well into his 80s.
- 1904-03-01 - 1944-12-15
- 1903-05-03 - 1977-10-14
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. was an American singer, actor, and entrepreneur who remains one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. Crosby's career spanned almost 50 years, and in that time he recorded almost 400 charting singles, among which 41 reached #1—actually 43, since “White Christmas” reached #1 in 1945 and 1947 as well as 1942 (its original release). His most common recording partners were the Andrews Sisters, and onscreen he appeared in multiple films with Bob Hope.
Hope was born in Spokane, Washington. He got his famous nickname, Bing, at about age 7, from a parody hillbilly newsletter in the local paper. Although he graduated from high school and attended Gonzaga University, he never graduated. Instead, he sang in a series of singing groups and bands through the early 1920s until he and friend Al Rinker decided to try their fortunes in Los Angeles in 1925. In 1926, both were hired to sing with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. Touring with the band and his own singing group, The Rhythm Boys, cemented Crosby's reputation and eventually led to a solo recording contract with Brunswick and a weekly radio show with CBS. Crosby made his national broadcast debut in September 1931. Fame quickly followed.
Crosby would appear in his first full-length film, "The Big Broadcast", in 1932. He signed a recording contract with the brand-new company Decca, who he would remain with for much of his career, in 1934. In 1936 he became the host of NBC's "Kraft Music Hall", a post he would hold for the next decade. Crosby was one of the first singers to take advantage of the invention of the microphone, which enabled him to "croon" instead of "belt" and set the musical standard for the stars that followed him: Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin, among many others. As with many other singers of the era, Crosby toured extensively entertaining American troops during World War II. In 1942, Crosby starred in the movie "Holiday Inn" and recorded the song that still stands as the best-selling single of all time: "White Christmas". The song was issued and reissued so many times that Crosby had to rerecord it in 1947, as the original master had been damaged from repeated additional pressings.
In the 1950s and '60s Crosby continued to record and act, and appeared on nearly all of the television music variety programs of the era. He also changed the face of both radio and television broadcasting by, first in one medium and then the other, insisting on being able to pre-record his performances at times when each medium was typically performed live. As an avid investor in recording technology, Crosby appreciated and understood the value of being able to edit his performances to improve their quality. He pushed his contract studios to invest in the latest sound equipment and recording technology, particularly magnetic tape recorders, and his production studio pioneered many editing techniques that would be come industry standards.
Crosby died suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 74.
- 1918-09-13 - 2015-04-06
Raymond Charles Offenberg, known professionally as Ray Charles (and who jokingly referred to himself as "the other Ray Charles" for much of his later career), was an American singer, arranger, and conductor. He is most famous for working with Perry Como as the arranger and director for the Ray Charles Singers, Como's backing group for over 30 years. He also served as the musical consultant for the Kennedy Center Honors gala.
Charles was born in Chicago. By the time he was in high school he was already the host of a 15-minute radio show. He attended the Chicago Musical College and continued singing, arranging, and conducting for various choral groups and radio shows. He changed his name to Ray Charles around the same time he was drafted, in 1944. During World War II Charles wrote and arranged music for the women's branch of the Naval Reserve (WAVES) and trained the WAVES "Singing Platoons". After the war he went right back to working on the radio; among other roles, he worked as an arranger-conductor for "The Big Show", one of the last well-known radio variety shows.
The bulk of Charles's career was spent working with Perry Como, beginning in about 1948. He arranged music for and conducted Como's backing group, which would become known as the Ray Charles Singers. The group, which was not a consistent group of vocalists, also recorded a number of albums in the 1960s that arguably founded the "easy listening" genre. They were also responsible for several popular commercial jingles. Charles also arranged music for a variety of television specials during the same period.
Beginning in 1982, Charles was also acted as a musical consultant for the Kennedy Center Honors gala, selecting and arranging the songs for the annual program. He did so every year through 2014. He also served in a similar capacity for over a decade's worth of Independence Day and Memorial Day concerts for PBS. He also wrote the song "Fifty Nifty United States," which many elementary school children continue to learn.
Charles died of cancer at the age of 96.
- 1922 - 2008-06-26
- 1909-05-27 - 2011-09-19
- 1888-05-11 - 1989-09-22
Israel Beilin, known as Irving Berlin, is widely regarded as one of the best and most prolific American composer-lyricists ever. Although born in Russia, his father brought the family to the US in 1893 to escape the widespread religious persecution in Russia during that period. The family, like many Jewish immigrants of the time, was extremely poor. Berlin worked to help support his family from the age of 8, hawking newspapers and singing for spare change. It was in those jobs that he learned what kind of music people wanted to hear and picked up the "ghetto" language and culture for which his work would become famous. As a teenager he began plugging songs at Tony Pastor's Music Hall, and in 1906 he was hired as a singing waiter at the Pelham Cafe. He apparently taught himself to play piano after hours by copying and improvising on popular songs.
After working as a song plugger for Harry Von Tilzer for several years, in 1911 Berlin finally wrote and published the song that would catapult him into the spotlight: "Alexander's Ragtime Band". He rode the song's popularity, writing a ragtime musical revue in 1914 called "Watch Your Step". It was his first complete musical score. He soon transitioned into writing a string of lyric ballads as well as hundreds of briefly popular topical songs. In 1919 Berlin made headlines again when he wrote "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" for Florenz Ziegfeld's "Follies of 1919"; the song would be used as the opening theme for every Follies after that, as well as the 1936 movie "The Great Ziegfeld".
Berlin felt strongly that even Tin Pan Alley should support the US during times of conflict; when the US entered World War I in 1917, he wrote the song "For Your Country and My Country" and, after being drafted that same year, created the revue "Yip Yip Yaphank" as part of the 152nd Depot Brigade. The revue would end up on Broadway the next year, with Berlin performing. One notable song that didn't make it into the revue, but that he would finally publish in 1938, was "God Bless America".
After the end of World War I, Berlin created the Music Box Theater with Sam Harris to help showcase his songs. Between the wars, he published a steady stream of what would become popular standards: "Always," "Blue Skies," "Puttin' on the Ritz," and "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm." He also headed several revues, including "As Thousands Cheer," which added "Heat Wave" and "Supper Time" to his growing list of standards. He also wrote scores and songs for major film musicals, including "Top Hat" (1935), "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (1938), "Holiday Inn" (1942), "Blue Skies" (1946) and "Easter Parade" (1948). "Holiday Inn," of course, was the vehicle for one of the best-selling songs of all time: "White Christmas," sung by Bing Crosby.
Berlin immediately returned to his patriotic writing after the attack on Pearl Harbor, creating another stage show called "This Is the Army." He supervised the 300-man production as it ran on Broadway and in Washington, DC, and then continued to travel with it overseas for over 3 years. He personally performed "Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning," originally written for "Yip Yip Yaphank," at nearly every show. He took no wages the entire time, and donated all the show's profits to the Army Emergency Relief Fund.
Almost immediately upon his return to the US, Berlin was approached by Rodger and Hammerstein to compose the music for their upcoming musical "Annie Get Your Gun"; Jerome Kern had been hired to write the score, but his sudden death left the pair stranded until Berlin reluctantly accepted. Despite his reluctance, "Annie Get Your Gun" includes some of Berlin's most famous Broadway songs: "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "Anything You Can Do." Berlin went on to write several more shows, the most successful of which was another Ethel Merman vehicle, "Call Me Madam." After writing "Mr. President" in 1962, Berlin officially renounced his retirement and stuck to it, very rarely appearing at public events and only writing one more new song, "An Old-Fashioned Wedding," for the Broadway revival of "Annie Get Your Gun" in 1966.
Berlin died in his sleep at the age of 101.
- 1908-10-03 - 1964-02-25
- 1902-05-18 - 1984-06-15
Robert Meredith Willson (May 18, 1902 – June 15, 1984) was born in Mason City, Iowa, to John David and Rosalie Reininger Willson. Although Meredith started out playing the piano, his mother saved enough money to order a flute for him. At the age of 17, after high school graduation, he moved to New York to study the flute at what is now the Julliard School of Music. He performed small gigs as a flautist until hired as first flute with the John Philip Sousa Band. He toured with the Sousa Band from 1921 – 1923. He also worked with New York's Rialto theater orchestra, under the leadership of Hugo Riesenfeld. From 1924 to 1929, he played for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the New York Chamber Music Society. Willson joined the Army, serving as a Major in World War II, after which he worked as music director of ABC radio and television networks. He did a radio show called The Maxwell House Show Boat from Hollywood, which was later renamed Good News. He was also involved in the Armed Forces Radio Service for a time.
Willson married three times: first to his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth, whom he married on August 29, 1920 and later divorced; Ralina "Rini" Zarova, whom he married on March 13, 1948 and who died, December 6, 1966; and Rosemary Sullivan, whom he married on February 14, 1968. Meredith Willson died on June 15, 1984, in Santa Monica, California; his wife Rosemary survived him.
In 1924, Meredith Willson published his first piece of music: a composition called “Parade Fantastique.” Willson’s first big musical success was with his smash hit, The Music Man, which premiered December 19, 1957 at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. It has since had two Broadway revivals, one in 1980 and one in 2000. Willson also contributed scores and librettos to the musicals The Music Man, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, 1491, and Here’s Love. Acting as lyricist and composer for most of his career, Willson wrote memorable standards including “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas”, “May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You”, “You and I”, “Two in Love”, “76 Trombones”, “Goodnight, My Someone”, “Till There Was You”, “Trouble”, “My White Knight”, “Lida Rose”, “I Ain’t Down Yet”, “Belly Up to the Bar, Boys”, “The Big Clown Balloons”, “Pine Cones and Holly Berries”, “My Wish”, “Iowa Fight Song”, “I See the Moon”, “Ask Not” and “Symphonic Variations on an American Theme.” He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1982.
- 1899-05-10 - 1987-06-22
Frederick Austerlitz, Jr., also known as Fred Astaire, was an American dancer of stage and motion pictures who was best known for a number of highly successful musical comedy films in which he starred with Ginger Rogers. He is regarded by many as a pioneer in the serious presentation of dance on film and the greatest popular-music dancer of all time. Astaire entered show business at age 5. He was successful both in vaudeville and on Broadway in partnership with his sister, Adele. After Adele retired to marry in 1932, Astaire headed to Hollywood and made a screen test, receiving an discouraging verdict from executives: “Can’t act, can’t sing. Balding. Can dance a little.” Signed to RKO, he was loaned to MGM to appear in Dancing Lady (1933) before starting work on RKO's Flying Down to Rio (1933) with Ginger Rogers. The two were a sensation, stealing the picture from stars Delores del Rio and Gene Raymond. Public demand compelled RKO to feature the pair in a classic series of starring vehicles throughout the 1930s, with The Gay Divorcee (1934), Top Hat (1935), and Swing Time (1936) often cited as the best of the lot. Although Astaire worked well with several leading ladies throughout his career, including Eleanor Powell, Rita Hayworth (whom Astaire cited as his favorite on-screen partner) and Lucille Bremer, his partnership with Rogers had a special chemistry.
Astaire retired temporarily in 1946, during which he opened Fred Astaire Dance Studios, but returned to the screen in 1948 and appeared in a series of Technicolor musicals for MGM that, next to his films with Rogers, constitute his most highly regarded body of work. Several of Astaire’s most-famous dance routines appear in these films, such as the slow-motion dance in Easter Parade (1948), which also featured Judy Garland; the dance with empty shoes in The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), which was his 10th and final film with Rogers; the ceiling dance and the duet with a hat rack in Royal Wedding (1951); and the dance on air in The Belle of New York (1952). The best of Astaire’s films during this period was The Band Wagon (1953), often cited as one of the greatest of film musicals; it featured Astaire’s memorable duet with Cyd Charisse to the song “Dancing in the Dark.”
Astaire’s run of classic MGM musicals ended with Silk Stockings (1957), after which his screen appearances were mostly in non-dancing character roles. He continued to dance with new partner Barrie Chase for several Emmy Award-winning television specials throughout the 1950s and ’60s, and he danced again on-screen in Finian’s Rainbow (1968) and for a few steps with Gene Kelly in That’s Entertainment, Part II (1976). He subsequently performed a number of straight dramatic roles in film and TV, most notably in On the Beach (1959); The Pleasure of His Company (1962); The Towering Inferno (1974), for which he received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor; and Ghost Story (1981), his final film.
Astaire was awarded an honorary Academy Award for his contributions to film in 1950, and he received a Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1981. He revolutionized the movie musical by simplifying it: Solo dancers or couples were shot in full-figure, and dances were filmed with a minimum of edits and camera angles. He was also noted for his quintessentially American vocal style; although possessing a rather thin-toned tenor voice, Astaire received much praise from jazz critics for his innate sense of swing and his conversational way with a song. His best vocal recordings were those he undertook in the early 1950s with jazz combos led by pianist Oscar Peterson.
Fred Astaire passed away from pneumonia on June 22, 1987, in Los Angeles, CA, at the age of 88.
- 1905-02-15 - 1986-04-23
Harold Arlen was an American composer, arranger, pianist, and vocalist who is considered one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. He wrote over 400 songs but is most famous for composing the songs for the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, particularly “Over the Rainbow,” which was voted the 20th century’s No. 1 song. Arlen wrote some of the greatest hits from the 1930’s and 40’s, such as “Get Happy,” “Stormy Weather,” “It's Only a Paper Moon,” “I've Got the World on a String,” and “Last Night When We Were Young.” He was most prolific from 1929 through the 1950s.
He was born as Hyman Arluck in Buffalo, New York in 1905 to Jewish parents. The son of a Jewish cantor (a trained song-leader for Jewish services) and pianist, Arlen showed exceptional musical talent in childhood. Hyman loved to sing, but was extremely shy. His mother hoped that he would become a music teacher, so she introduced a piano into the Arluck home. Hyman began studying around the age of nine and quickly outgrew the neighborhood piano teacher. He went on to study with the leading local teacher, who was also a conductor, organist and composer. Before long, Hyman left school as a teenager and achieved some local success working as a vocalist and pianist in different bands. He moved to New York City in the 1920s, where he worked as an accompanist in vaudeville and changed his name to Harold Arlen. Arlen composed several songs during that period, but published the first of his many well-known pieces in 1929, "Get Happy", with lyrics by Ted Koehler. "Get Happy” attracted attention to the new songwriting-lyricist duo identifying Arlen and Koehler as hit writers. With “Get Happy” and other rhythmic songs to their credit, the team developed the reputation as writers of "bluesy" rhythm numbers, which were much in demand in the flourishing cabarets. Throughout the early and mid-1930s, Arlen and Koehler produced songs for Harlem’s infamous Cotton Club, which was at the heart of the cabaret scene, as well as for Broadway musicals and Hollywood films, creating familiar pieces such as "Stormy Weather" and "Let's Fall in Love."
In the mid-1930s, Arlen married, and spent increasing time in California, writing for movie musicals. It was at this time that he began working with lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg. In 1938, the team was hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to compose songs for The Wizard of Oz, the most famous of which is "Over the Rainbow", which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song. They also wrote "Down with Love" (featured in the 1937 Broadway show Hooray for What!), "Lydia the Tattooed Lady", for Groucho Marx in At the Circus (1939), and "Happiness is a Thing Called Joe", for Ethel Waters in Cabin in the Sky (1943). Going into the 1940s, Arlen teamed up with Johnny Mercer to write a string of successful hits: "That Old Black Magic" (1942), "Accentuate the Positive" (1944), and "Come Rain or Come Shine" (1945), among others. From that point on he worked on various Broadway shows but became more reclusive as an illness in 1954 and the deaths of his parents in 1953 (his father) and 1958 (his mother), and later his wife (1970) caused him to lose interest in composing and music in general.
Arlen died of cancer at the age of 81.
Jim (James T.) Young began his musical studies on clarinet with Valentine Anzalone when he lived in Pittsford, New York through 1974. Then he studied saxophone with Dennis Bamber in South Bend, Indiana through 1979. While in high school at St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, in addition to playing in all of the school bands there, he also began playing in the Tony Barron Orchestra (a Big Band based in Mishawaka, Indiana that played in the style of Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians). Throughout his studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana , Jim played in the IU Marching Hundred from 1979-1982, and continued to play in the Alumni Band of the Marching Hundred for Homecoming football games through 2002. Following his graduation from the law and graduate business schools at IU in 1987, Jim began playing in two Big Bands based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, called “The ITT Conglomernotes” and “The Little Big Band.”
In late 1994, Jim Young, Bruce Scott (a retired teacher and tenor saxophonist), and Chuck Surack (the founder of Sweetwater Sound and a saxophonist) formed “The Stardust Dance Band,” which began its rehearsing in the large recording studio of Sweetwater Sound. From 1995 through 2003, this Big Band played over 300 performances in American Legion Posts, VFW Posts, the AmVets Post in Marion (Indiana), most of the country clubs and reception halls in the Fort Wayne and Warsaw areas, Buck Lake Ranch, festivals in Fort Wayne and New Haven, The Foellinger Outdoor Theater in Fort Wayne, the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, and for various private parties. Probably the two most distinguished venues for the Band’s performances were the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne, and the Paramount Ballroom in Anderson, Indiana.
While playing in The Stardust Dance Band, Jim had the good fortune of being asked to play in the Sammy Kaye Orchestra (“SKO”), then directed by Roger Thorpe. Jim occasionally also provided musicians for the SKO when it played in Indiana and Ohio from 1998 through 2002. The various venues played by the SKO when Jim was in the band included several performances at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, both the Paramount Theater and Ballroom in Anderson, Bearcreek Farms, and the Foellinger Theater and two venues in Ohio.
The Big Band arrangements donated by Jim to the Foundation were acquired by him over about 40 years from various sales he attended, purchases from other bands and collectors, and several custom arrangements written for Jim’s bands by Dick Spencer (a former Big band saxophonist from the Boston area) and Tom Cherry (the guitarist and other saxophonist in Boots Randolph’s band).
Jim now plays saxophone and clarinet in the Robin Run Big Band (in Indianapolis, Indiana) and cello in various small string ensembles and chamber music groups. Jim has studied cello for several years with Dennis McCafferty, a retired music professor from the University of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra.