The Way We Were
: Jan - June, 1946
JANUARY - Some musical dj's are leading radio personalities. Fred Robbins on the 1280 club on WOV and Barry Gray on the all night shift on WOR both in New York. Sammy Kaye's "Sunday Serenade" is on nationally on the ABC network. Some of the top records on the juke box plays survey are : "Waitin' For The Train" (written by NY and LA dj Martin Block) recorded by Johnny Long(Decca) and Harry James, with vocal by Kitty Kallen(Columbia) ; "Some Sunday Morning" by Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest(Decca), and "Aren't You're Glad You're You" by Tommy Dorsey(RCA Victor) and Bing Crosby(Decca). In other news of radio during the first days of the new year, the popular show Your Hit Parade fires vocalist Dick Todd and replaces him with singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer. Sammy Kaye's "So You Want To Lead A Band" goes coast to coast on the ABC network on Wednsday nights, and a show aimed at teenage listeners called "Teentimers" makes it's debut on Saturday mornings on the NBC network. On January 27, the future hit song "One-zy Two-zy" makes it's debut on the Jack Benny show. One of the more popular attractions on the stage show circuit is the Glenn Miller Orchestra led by Tex Beneke featuring "35 ex-servicemen" including the Crew Chiefs with Artie Malvin and Lillian Lane. Young up and coming vocalist Dean Martin appearing at the Havana-Madrid night club in New York, reportedly signs a one picture deal with Columbia Studios.
FEBRUARY - Woody Herman lands a radio spot on ABC Friday nights. Pianist Liberace is a regular on the Texaco Star Theater, as is Eddy Duchin on Bing's Kraft Music Hall. Another "Make Believe Ballroom" is on the airwaves-this one in Detroit on WXYZ with dj Eddy Chase. The Teentimers radio show changes it's format and will star crooner Johnny Desmond. The Andrews Sisters end a 13 week stint for Nash-Kelvinator, and Sammy Kaye launches a national "So You Want To Lead A Band" contest as a tie-in to his radio show of the same name. Vocalist Doris Day announces plans to leave the Les Brown band in September. Another female vocalist of note, Margaret Whiting, is a regular on the Barry Wood show produced by ZIV.
The radio ratings are out and the top ten look like this:
10 - Walter Winchell
9 - Mr. District Attorney
8 - Fred Allen
7 - The Screen Guild Players
6 - Red Skelton
5 - Jack Benny
4 - Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy
3 - Lux Radio Theater
2 - Bob Hope
1 - Fibber McGee and Molly
The annual poll of the top bands in the land is issued by Martin Block.This perennial listing remained one of the most influential through the big band years. The February 1946 list was as follows :
9 - Stan Kenton
8 - Guy Lombardo
7 - Les Brown
6 - gene Krupa
5 - Lois Prima
4 - Tommy Dorsey
3 - Woody Herman
2 - Vaughn Monroe
1 - Harry James
Some big selling records during the month : "Come To Baby Do" by Les Brown(Columbia) and Nat King Cole(Capitol). "Money Is The Root Of All Evil" by the Andrews Sisters with Guy Lombardo(Decca) which reportedly sold 350,000 in less than three weeks !, and "Brooklyn Boogie" by Louis Prima(Majestic). Promising sales were reported by "Day By Day" by both Jo Stafford(Capitol) and Frank Sinatra(Columbia), and "The Bells Of St. Mary's" recorded by Bing Crosby(Decca) and Charlie Spivak(Victor). The story of the recording of "Bluebird Of Happiness" by Jan Peerce came to light-originally recorded by Peerce under the name Paul Robinson for World Broadcasting in 1934, it was used in the early 40's for the Dawn Patrol radio show sponsored by the Pep Boys automotive chain. This led to the identification of Peerce as the vocalist, and the resulting popularity led to a re-recording by Peerce in 1946. Monica Lewis(Signature) and Peggy Lee(Capitol) also record "Waitin' For The Train" , while some other tunes recorded this month are : "Are These Really Mine?" by Vaughn Monroe(Victor) and Gene Krupa(Columbia), "Atlanta, G.A." Sammy Kaye(Victor), Woody Herman(Columbia), and Shep Fields(Vogue). Frank Sinatra teams up with Xavier Cugat on "My Shawl" (Columbia), and Kay Kyser(Columbia), Dick Haymes(Decca), and Gordon MacRae(Musicraft) all record "Slowly".
MARCH-Tommy Dorsey signs on as musical director of station WOR in New York, and also plans his own show called T.D.'s Playshop. Meanwhile bandleader Guy Lombardo announces that his radio program heard on Tuesday evenings will go off the air in April. Noted west coast dj Al Jarvis leaves KFWB after 11 years and goes to rival KLAC. David Rose and his orchestra with vocalist Curt Massey will begin a program for Nash- Kelvinator to replace the Andrews Sisters. Ted Steele the music director of station KMPC in Hollywood, bans jazz music saying it contributes to juvenile delinquency (a statement to be heard many times in the future concerning popular music in the USA). One of the first records to be banned by the station is Harry "the Hipster" Gibson's "Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine". The Coca Cola Spotlight Band show has lined up Guy Lombardo, Xavier Cugat, and Harry James in succeeding weeks. Some records to watch this month are : "I'm In Love With Two Sweethearts/Do You Love Me?" by Artie Dunn and the Three Suns(Majestic), "Don't Be A Baby, Baby" the Mills Brothers(Decca), "Don't You Remember Me?" Johnny desmond(Victor), and all labels are rushing out a version of the song "The Gypsy" a tremendous hit in England. So far Decca has two versions-Hildegard with Guy Lombardo's orchestra, and the Inkspots. Other recordings are by Phil Brito(Musicraft), Hal MacIntyre(Cosmo), Louis Prima(Majestic), Jan Garber(Black & White), Betty Bradley(Jewel) and Gail Meredith(Manor). Other promising discs are "Ah Yes There's Good Blues Tonight" (a takeoff on Gabriel Heatter's tag line) by Martha Tilton(Capitol), Tommy Dorsey(Victor), Les Brown(Columbia), Lucky Millinder(Decca), and "Without You" in versions by Andy Russell(Capitol), Frankie Carle(Columbia), Desi Arnaz(Victor) Randy Brooks(Decca) and Noro Morales(Majestic).
Sarah Vaughn opens as a single at Cafe Society, Lionel Hampton with Madeline Green on vocals is at The Aquarium, and Frank Sinatra is irate at the arrest of fans waiting for tickets to his show at the Golden Gate Theater. They were arrested at 4:30 am for violating the curfew law. Plans for a new radio show on WOR to be called "Endorsed by Dorsey" under the supervision of Tommy Dorsey who will NOT appear. The cast includes Buddy Moreno, the Double Daters, the Chittison Trio, Miss Here-She-Is (Vera Holly) and the Emerson Buckley orchestra. At month's end Phil Harris and his five year old daughter record the tune "One-zy Two-zy"(Decca) and the song is also waxed by Eileen Barton for Mercury.
APRIL-The latest Hooper ratings for the most listened to radio programs are out and the one change is Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall replacing Mr. District Attorney in the top ten. The weeknight Lanny Ross Show features Evelyn Knight and the Herman Chittison Trio on CBS. Another weeknighter, The Skyline Road, stars Gordon MacRae and Archie Bleyer's band. Sy Oliver is to perform, write, and conduct on WOR's Endorsed By Dorsey. New York's top rated WNEW, owned by Andre Bulova (the watchmaker) is building a new studio. Most stations ban "Last Call For Alcohol" by Wingy Manone(4-Star). Vaughn Monroe drops talks to star on Your Hit Parade, because it would have forced him to disband his orchestra. On the recording industry front, "I'm A Big Girl Now" by Sammy Kaye(Victor) claims sales of over 500,000 in one month. "One-zy Two-zy" now has 22 recorded versions in the stores. Dinah Shore is the latest to record "The Gypsy", with Sonny Burke's orchestra on Victor. The independent Majestic label signs Eddy Howard to record in Chicago.
Benny Goodman is hit with charges from musician's local 802, because he sat in with the Lionel Hampton band. Vaughn Monroe's new vocal quartet is called Moondreams. The song "Laughing On The Outside" is the very first BMI tune to hit the best seller list since the end of the rift with ASCAP in late 1941. New members-Mickey Katz with Spike Jones, Buddy Stewart with Gene Krupa, and Fran Warren with Charlie Barnet.
MAY-Jo Stafford has her contract renewed for 26 weeks on the Chesterfield Supper Club on NBC. Martin Block is to exit WNEW at the end of the year and head for Los Angeles. A transcription series called Here Comes Louis Jordan debuts. It features the Mills Brothers, Josh White, the Delta Rhythm Boys and Dorothy Donegan. The Cass County Boys join the Gene Autry radio show. Stairway To The Stars is set as a summer replacement show on WJZ. It stars Paul Whiteman's orchestra and Martha Tilton. Also a summer sub-Vaughn Monroe for Abbot & Costello. The number one all night show on radio for the tenth year running is WNEW's Milkman's Matinee. Hildegard (the incomparable one), is replaced by Monica Lewis. She had previously done a stint on the Chesterfield show with Johnny Johnston.
On the recording front Billy Williams, vocalist with Sammy Kaye also records as a single doing western songs for Victor. His first release is "Heartbreak Trail". The broadway show Annie Get Your Gun, has 44 recordings of songs from the score. New recordings of the month include : "Blue Champagne" by Jimmy Dorsey(Decca), Freddy Martin(Bluebird) and Frankie Masters(Okeh). Guy Lombardo records "Moon Over Brooklyn" for Decca. Ted FioRito writes and records "Kilroy Was Here" for 4-Star. "Just Sittin` And Rockin`" by the Delta Rhythm Boys and the Charlie Barnet band on Decca. "Mama" by Phil Brito(Musicraft) and "In Love In Vain" by Margaret Whiting(Capitol) are hit picks of the month. "In Love" is also rush-recorded by Johnny Desmond with Russ Case for Victor. "Ashby de la Zooch" a strangely named tune is out by the MerryMacs on Decca records. The Walt Disney film "Make Mine Music" produces a hit song "All The Cats Join In" which has many musicians in the recording studios. "Too Many Irons In The Fire" is recorded by the Mills Brothers for Decca. Andy Russel(Capitol), Desi Arnaz(Victor), and Jayne Walter(Mercury) all record "Without You". Monica Lewis does "Day By Day" for Signature.
Betty Rhodes a former Paramount pictures starlet signs a 5 year recording contract with Victor. Sammy Kaye holds the finals of the So You Want To Lead A Band contest at the Hollywood Palladium. Bing Crosby is said to produce 30% of the entire output of Decca records. A full scale riot at the Royal Canadian Air Force hall in Winnipeg for a Tommy Dorsey show results in a ban on bands there.
JUNE-On WEAF New York's NBC affiliate, the Mariners vocal group has their own show. Also Saturday Showcase features Snooky Lanson, Evelyn Parker, Brad Kincaid, the Varieteers, and Owen Bradley's orchestra. Coca Cola cancels it's Spotlight Bands show because of the money problems caused by the sugar shortage. Matinee at The Meadowbrook, live from the New Jersey nightclub, is back on the air featuring Ray McKinley's orchestra with Monica Lewis. Another new show, Night Life, has an all black cast and re-creates a club atmosphere. It is mc'd by Willie Bryant and stars Teddy Wilson, Maxine Sullivan, and Pete Johnson. WOV features Rosalie Allen in Prairie Stars, a country/western review. AND - Frank Sinatra does a dramatic role on ABC's Hour Of Mystery. Black vocalist Billy Eckstine is now being called the "Sepia Sinatra". A double bill made in heaven plays the Apollo in mid-June : Billy Holliday and Louis Armstrong. The following week the bill is the Deep River Boys, Pigmeat Markham, Jackie "Moms" Mabley, and the Mercer Ellington band. Vaughn Monroe is doing SRO business at the Meadowbrook in New Jersey. It is reported that the Buddy Rich band is financially backed by Frank Sinatra. Lilly Ann Carol (famous for V-disc hit "I Walked Alone") quits Louis Prima as vocalist, and Ray Eberle and Ray Heatherton make their first post-war stage appearances.
June was a banner month for the recording industry. The best sellers of the month -
10-"Oh What It Seemed To Be"-Frank Sinatra/Frankie carle(Columbia)
9-"I'm A Big Girl Now"-Sammy Kaye(Victor)
8-"Shoo Fly Pie"-Stan Kenton(Capitol) Dinah Shore(Columbia)
7-"Don't Be A Baby,Baby"-Mills Brothers(Decca) Tommy Dorsey(Victor)
6-"Sioux City Sue"-Bing Crosby(Decca) Louis Prima(Cosmo)
5-"All Through The Day"-Perry Como(Victor)
4-"They Say It's Wonderful"-Perry Como(Victor)-from Annie Get Your Gun
3-"Laughing On The Outside"-Dinah Shore(Columbia)
2-"Prisoner Of Love"-Perry Como(Victor) Inkspots(Decca)
1-"The Gypsy"-Inkspots(Decca) Dinah Shore(Columbia)
New records of the month include : "I Don't Know Enough About You"-Peggy Lee(Capitol), "Bumble Boogie" by Freddy Martin(Victor), "Hey Ba Ba Re Bop"-Lionel Hampton(Decca) and Tex Beneke(Victor), "Doin` What Comes Naturally" by Jimmy Dorsey(Decca) and Dinah Shore(Columbia) and "Stone Cold Dead In The Market"( introduced by it's composer, calypso artist Wilmoth Houdini) by Ella Fitzgerald with Louis Jordan. Also featured this month-"Love On A Greyhound Bus" by Guy Lombardo(Decca) and Vaughn Monroe(Victor), "One More Tomorrow" Margaret Whiting (Capitol) and Frankie Carle (Columbia), "On The Alamo" Art Lund with Benny Goodman(Columbia), "Wherever There's Me There's You" by Betty Hutton and The Four Hits and a Miss with Joe Lilly's orchestra(Victor), and "I Got The Sun In The Morning" by Mel Torme` with Artie Shaw (Musicraft). RCA Victor awaits to re-record Slim Gaillard's "Cement Mixer" originally on Cadet for west coast distribution only. A survey of music for the year of 1945 finds that "Till The End Of Time", based on Chopin's "Polonaise In A Flat", which was popularized by Perry Como, was the top seller in records and sheet music, and was the most played tune on the radio during the year.
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