Saturday, December 08, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra

Artist:Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra f/Jack Leonard
Album:The Best Of Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey was one of the most successful Big Band leaders of the 30s and 40s especially when Frank Sinatra was in his 40s band. But Dorsey was successful before that. Marie was a number one hit in 1937. I'm going to look at his early years and may look at the Sinatra years some other time. He was born Nov. 19, 1905 in Shenandoah, PA. Tommy played trombone and older brother Jimmy played sax. They worked together in the 20s for Jean Goldkette and The California Ramblers. In 1927 they joined Paul Whiteman's band and in 1929 they had their first hit single Coquette. The Dorsey Brothers signed with Decca in 1934 and had some success with songs like I Believe In Miracles. But they didn't get along and Tommy Dorsey left to form his own band in 1935. He basically took over the Joe Haymes orchestra. Dorsey became known for raiding bands when he saw a musician he liked. Dorsey signed with RCA Records and was successful immediately. But his manager suggested that Dorsey be less of a jazz band and more of a pop vocal band. So Dorsey had the talent to be a jazz musician. He just chose not to be one. Marie was one of his many number one hits in 1937. The song was written by Irving Berlin. The singer is Jack Leonard, not to be confused with comedian Jack E. Leonard. In 1935, Dorsey hired Leonard, arranger Axel Stordahl and trumpeter Joe Bauer from Bert Block's orchestra and they were in the Dorsey band as the vocal group The Three Esquires. Leonard was a handsome guy and was a good singer. But he left the Dorsey band in 1939 and was soon replaced by Frank Sinatra. The rest is history. Leonard wasn't very successful on his own. This RCA budget comp is a good intro to Dorsey's music and features Leonard, Sinatra and Jo Stafford. By the late-40s, big band music was dying and after Dorsey appeared in the 1947 film The Fabulous Dorseys, he retired. Tommy Dorsey returned in the 50s but he wasn't as successful. He died on Nov. 26, 1956 at age 51. Here's Tommy Dorsey with Stuart Foster performing Marie from the 1947 film The Fabulous Dorseys.

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