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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Rudy Lewis born 23 August 1935


Rudy Lewis (born Charles Rudolph Harrell; August 23, 1936 – May 20, 1964) was an American rhythm and blues singer known for his work with the Drifters. In 1988, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 
 
Lewis was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began his singing career in gospel music. He was one of only two males to have sung with the Clara Ward Singers and sang with the gospel group right up to the day before he auditioned for George Treadwell at Philadelphia's Uptown Theatre where he was hired on the spot. Lewis joined the Drifters in 1960 as lead vocalist and moved to New York City.

Rudy Lewis is probably the most underrated of all the Drifters' lead singers. He had the bad fortune to come in after Ben E. King redefined the group's sound, and never got the recognition that King did. By the time that "Save the Last Dance For Me" hit the charts (autumn 1960), King had already recorded his first solo session and was about to emerge as a hit maker in his own right. His successor in the Drifters was Rudy Lewis, a man with a rich, soulful voice.  
 
Lewis brought the newly emergent voice of "soul" to the Drifters at the very time the group was being directed out of their R&B roots into the pop mainstream. The stature of the Drifters was such that all NYC publishers scrambled to get their best numbers recorded by the group. Thus The Drifters came to record songs from the top pop composers of the day : Carole King and Gerry Goffin , Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
 



Lewis was the lead vocalist for a string of hits: "Please Stay", "Some Kind of Wonderful", "Up On The Roof" and "On 
Broadway". He also featured on other tracks such as: "Another Night With The Boys", "Beautiful Music", "Jackpot", "Let The Music Play", "Loneliness Or Happiness", "Mexican Divorce", "Only In America", "Rat Race", "She Never Talked To Me That Way", "Somebody New Dancing With You", "Stranger On The Shore", "Vaya Con Dios" and "What To Do". 

This was the golden era of Brill Building pop. "Up On The Roof" and "On Broadway" went Top 10 and "Please Stay" and "Sweets For My Sweet" made the Top 20.; After mid-1963 their sessions would be supervised by Bert Berns.

In April 1963, Lewis recorded his solo single ”Baby I Dig Love” along with the B-side ”I've Loved You So Long”. The record was released the following month, but never reached the charts.  

On May 21, 1964, when the group was due to record ”Under The Boardwalk” which had been written for Lewis, he was found dead in his Harlem hotel room from the prior night. Former lead vocalist Johnny Moore was brought back to perform lead vocals for the recording. The next day, the Drifters recorded”I Don't Want To Go On Without You” which was led by Charlie Thomas in tribute to Lewis. 

 
An autopsy was never performed and authorities ruled his death as a probable drug overdose. However, close friends and family believe he died from a mixture of a drug overdose, asphyxiation and a heart attack .Others who knew him say that Lewis, who was a binge eater, choked to death in his sleep. After Rudy died, the make-up of the Drifters stabilized for two years at: Johnny Moore, Charlie Thomas, Gene Pearson, and Johnny Terry. Dying at the age of 27 made Lewis an early member of the 27 Club. 

(Info mainly edited from Wikipedia and Black Cat Rockabilly)

 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Carl Mann born 22 August 1942


Carl Mann (born August 22, 1942, Huntingdon, Tennessee) is an American rockabilly singer and pianist. 


Carl Mann was born in Huntingdon, TN, on August 22, 1942. He grew up in a strongly rural area, where his family ran a lumber

business, and fell in love with country music as a child. He began singing in church at age nine and soon moved on to performing country songs at area talent contests. He learned guitar at age ten, and piano at 13, by which time he'd already become a regular on local radio. He also formed a band with several other young musicians, and soon took an interest in the R&B and rockabilly records that some of his DJ friends played on the radio, especially those of Elvis Presley.  

In 1957, Mann successfully auditioned for the Jaxon label and cut his debut single, "Gonna Rock and Roll Tonight" b/w "Rockin' Love"; those sides marked his first collaborations with guitarist Eddie Bush, who would become an important member of Mann's band, and assisted him on his rearrangement of "Mona Lisa." Mann cut several more unreleased sides for Jaxon over the next year, and caught a break when Carl Perkins' drummer Bill "Fluke" Holland offered to become his manager. Holland brought Mann to Sun Records in 1959, and Sam Phillips signed him to a three-year deal.
 
Mann cut his take on "Mona Lisa" early that year, and while Phillips wasn't keen on releasing it as a single, Conway Twitty heard the demo tape and quickly cut his own version, which began climbing the charts. Phillips hurriedly issued Mann's, which battled Twitty's all the way up the pop charts. Both hit the Top 30, and while they tended to cancel each other out in terms of placement, Mann's wound up selling over a million copies; and he wasn't even 17 years old. 

Despite the newfound stardom and several TV appearances, "Mona Lisa" turned out to be the pinnacle of Mann's commercial success. At first, he tried to repeat the formula by rocking up other vintage pop standards, which failed to return him to the Top 40, and perhaps even obscured the virtues of original tunes like "I'm Coming Home." Mann also wasn't helped by the fact that he'd appeared at the tail end of rockabilly's prime, or that Charlie Rich had taken his place as Sun's rising new star.
 
 


Mann's first album, Like Mann, was released in 1960, but sold disappointingly, and he began to develop a drinking problem that necessitated some time away from music. In 1964, he was drafted into the Army; upon returning to the U.S., he signed with the Monument label, but the single "Down to My Last 'I Forgive You'" failed to return him to prominence. Mann soon left music to return to his family's business, settling down with a wife and finally overcoming his problems with alcohol.

In 1974, Mann attempted a comeback singing straight country material; he issued several singles over the next few years on ABC and Dot, but they didn't fit in with the slick countrypolitan records then dominating the charts. In 1977, Mann got an offer from the Dutch label Rockhouse to record for European audiences; he issued a couple of albums on that label, 1978's half-live/half-studio Gonna Rock'n'Roll Tonight and 1981's In Rockabilly Country. Mann toured periodically during the '80s, returning to Europe every so often, and finally retired to concentrate on the family logging business.  

Mann came out of music retirement in 2005, performing on the local Huntingdon Hayride radio show in his hometown. Also 2005 was the year in which he finally received a Gold Disc for "Mona Lisa". He continues to perform overseas and in the states, and record. A CD called Rockabilly Highway, featuring Mann, and Sun Records label mates W. S. Holland and Rayburn Anthony, was released in 2008. He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Jackson, TN, in 2006.  

He had a two-bypass heart operation in January 2011, was hospitalised with breathing problems in April but slowly regained his strength.

 
In May 2011 a book on his life and music career called The Last Son of Sun was released. Mann continues to perform to date. Sun Record showcases in Las Vegas, "Viva Las Vegas" at Orleans Hotel in Vegas. Nashville's "Ink and Iron", and other venues. When dates allow his son Richard Mann joins him on stage to carry on the family tradition. Carl Mann's love for performing to his audiences keeps him coming back to do more shows. He still resides in Huntingdon, TN.  (Info mainly All Music & Wikipedia)

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Jackie DeShannon born 21 August 1944


Jackie DeShannon, real name Sharon Lee Myers, (born August 21, 1944) is an American singer/songwriter with a string of hit song credits from the 1960s onwards. She was one of the first female singer songwriters of the rock 'n' roll period.


Sharon Myers adopted the name Jackie DeShannon, believed to be an Irish ancestor. Record company executives at Liberty Records thought the name Sharon Myers wouldn't sell records. (She once reported that record executives’ added "Shannon" to "Jackie Dee," one of the names under which she recorded, to create her name.) 

DeShannon was born the daughter of musically inclined farming parents, Sandra Jean and James Erwin Myers, DeShannon was introduced to singing country tunes on a local radio show at the age of six. By the age of eleven, DeShannon was already hosting her own radio program. When life on the farm became too difficult, the family moved to Aurora, Illinois, her mother's home town. After a year, they moved up the Fox River to Batavia, Illinois, where Sharon attended high school.
 
Recording under various names such as Sherry Lee, Jackie Dee, and Jackie Shannon, she had little success. However, her interpretations of country songs "Buddy" and "Trouble" gained the attention of Eddie Cochran who arranged for her to travel to California and meet singer-songwriter Sharon Sheeley, who formed a writing partnership with DeShannon in 1960. The partnership produced hits such as "Dum Dum" for Brenda Lee and "I Love Anastasia" for The Fleetwoods. The latter was named after one of her good friends in high school. 

In 1960, DeShannon signed with Liberty Records. She made the WLS Chicago survey with "Lonely Girl" in late 1960. A string of mostly flop singles followed, although "The Prince" bubbled under at #108 in the United States in early 1962, and "Faded Love" (#97 in February 1963) became her first U.S. Hot 100 hit, albeit just barely . 
 
 


She broke through a little more solidly singing "Needles and Pins" and "When You Walk in the Room" later in 1963. Both reached the lower rungs of the U.S. pop charts, but were substantial top 40 hits in Canada, where "Needles and Pins" made it all the way to #1. "Needles and Pins" and "When You Walk in the Room" later became U.S. and UK hits for The Searchers.

DeShannon recorded many other singles that encompassed teen pop, country ballads, rockabilly, gospel, and Ray Charles-style soul that didn't fare as well on the charts. During these years it was her songwriting and public profile rather than her recording career that kept her contracted to Liberty Records. DeShannon dated Elvis Presley and formed friendships with The Everly Brothers and Ricky Nelson. She also co-starred and sang with Bobby Vinton in the teen surf movie Surf Party. 

Jackie with Jimmy Page
DeShannon's biggest break came in February 1964, when she supported The Beatles on their first U.S. tour, and formed a touring band with guitarist Ry Cooder. DeShannon also wrote "Don't Doubt Yourself Babe" for debut album by The Byrds. Her music at this stage was heavily influenced by the American West Coast sounds and folk music. Staying briefly in England in 1965, DeShannon formed a songwriting partnership with Jimmy Page, which resulted in the hit singles "Dream Boy" and "Don't Turn Your Back On Me". Page and DeShannon also wrote material for singer Marianne Faithfull, including her Top Ten UK and U.S. hit "Come and Stay With Me". DeShannon also appeared on the television show Ready Steady Go! 

Jackie with Bobby Vee
Moving to New York, DeShannon co-wrote with Randy Newman, producing such songs as "She Don't Understand Him" and "Did He Call Today Mama?", as well as writing "You Have No Choice" for Delaney Bramlett. In March 1965, DeShannon recorded Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "What the World Needs Now Is Love," which provided her first Number 1 hit and regular appearances on television shows and club tours. She appeared in the 1967 film C'mon Let's Live a Little, with Bobby Vee, as a folk singer. 

DeShannon continued writing and recording but it was not until 1969 that she scored her next biggest smash single and album, both entitled "Put a Little Love in Your Heart". The single "Love Will Find A Way" from the same album was also a moderate hit. Switching to Atlantic Records in 1970 and moving to Los Angeles, DeShannon recorded the critically acclaimed albums Jackie and Your Baby Is A Lady, but they failed to produce the same commercial success as previous releases. DeShannon has been married to singer/songwriter and film composer Randy Edelman since 1977. They have one son, Noah (born 1978). 


While DeShannon has not produced any further Top Ten singles of her own, her songs have been covered by other artists who have in turn converted them into hits. She is currently an entertainment broadcast correspondent reporting historical anecdotes and current Beatles band members' news for Breakfast with the Beatles on Sirius XM Satellite Radio on the weekends. (Info edited from Wikipedia)


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Justin Tubb born 20 August 1935


Justin Wayne Tubb (August 20, 1935–January 24, 1998) was an American country music singer and songwriter. Born in San Antonio, Texas.
 
Justin Tubb was born into country music, being the eldest son of the legendary Texas Troubadour Ernest Tubb. The kid soaked up the aura that surrounded his father and naturally enough became infatuated by the sounds of country music. During his school holidays he toured with his father and regularly appeared on his WSM radio show. He even made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry at the age of nine.
 
By the time he graduated from Brackenridge High School in San Antonio he was an accomplished guitarist, singer and songwriter. Before you know it, it's 1952 and Justin is a bit bored with the business (veteran that he was!) and acutely aware that everyone was comparing him to his father (those were big boots to fill in 1952), he decided enter the University of Texas at Austin, studying journalism.
Perhaps the calling was just to strong though, and he ended up quitting university when he was offered a job as a disc jockey on WHIN Gallatin. He began singing his own songs on air and was soon picked up by Decca Records. He made his recording debut in 1953 with "Ooh-La-La." 
 
 

 
By 1954 he made it on the country chart with two duets with Goldie Hill—("Looking Back to See" and "Sure Fire Kisses"). A year later, at age 20, he was made a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Tubb had a few recordings of his own that enjoyed success, including "I Gotta Go Get My Baby" and "Take a Letter Miss Gray", but he was more successful as a songwriter. He penned many hit songs for other performers, including "Keeping Up with the Joneses", "Love Is No Excuse", and "Lonesome 7-7203", a hit for Hawkshaw Hawkins. Ultimately, six of his songs won awards. In the late 1950s he and roomed with a young, up-and-coming songwriter named Roger Miller. 
 
The hits dried up for a few years during the rock 'n' roll era, although he had a few stabs at the genre himself, including Pepper Hot Baby in 1955.  By the 60s, Ernest's health was on the decline and Justin began to take an interest in his father's many business ventures, eventually becoming manager of the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree radio show and record shops.
Tubb signed to Starday in the early '60s, released a few albums, and toured so much that he was temporarily dropped from the Opry for not appearing often enough. During the 1960s, Tubb worked worked with his father on various business projects. After 1963, he signed with RCA and released two duets with Lorene Mann, including "We've Gone Too Far Again." He had one more minor hit with "But Wait There's More," his last chart appearance. He continued to record, tour and appear on the Opry through the '70s. He also continued to write songs, and his "Lonesome 7-7203" was a number one hit for Hawkshaw Hawkins while "Be Glad" became a major hit for Del Reeves. 
 
Over the years he toured all over the USA, Canada and Europe as well as appearing on most major US television shows. Worth mentioning is the story that he wrote about his disgust at the way country music was changing, "What's Wrong With The Way That We're Doing It Now", which won him five standing ovations for encores on the first occasion that he sang it on the Grand Ole Opry. 

Toward the end of his own life, he completed an album of duets with his father, using recordings Ernest had made before his death. The album, Just You and Me Daddy (1999), was released after Justin Tubb died from a stomach aneurysm in Nashville on January 24, 1998. He was survived by his widow, Carolyn McPherson Tubb. 

Both of his sons (two of Ernest's grandsons)—Cary Tubb (died November 27, 2008, survived by older son Bryce and younger son Codee) and his younger brother Zachary Tubb—became musicians. Cary performed around the U.S. and in England. Zachery has released one album.(Info edited from Black Cat Rockabilly, All Music& Wikipedia)


Friday, 19 August 2016

Lyle Spud Murphy born 19 August 1908


Lyle Stephanovic (August 19, 1908 – August 5, 2005), better known as Spud Murphy, was an American jazz multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and arranger. An unsung musical hero who played a major supporting role in shaping the Big Band era, when he was arranging and writing music for top bands in the 1930s such as Casa Loma, Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson and Bob Crosby. 

Spud was born Miko Stephanovic, 19 August 1908, in Berlin. He came to the United States at 4 with his mother and grew up in Provo, Utah becoming Lyle Murphy, nicknamed "Spud". His first instrument was the upright e-flat alto horn which he learned from the father of Red Nichols. Spud eventually mastered the trumpet, the saxophones, and other woodwinds. 

He set out at age 14 for a music job on the West Coast -- prevented from joining the band on a cruise ship due to his tender age, he wandered the American Southwest for several years playing in obscure bands like the “Rainbow Seven” and “Jeff's Hot Rocks.” His first professional job was half of a two-piece band working for tips in a Mexican border town.  

By the late 1920s Spud began achieving some small musical success in Texas, writing arrangements for Johnny Mcfall’s Honey Boys 10 piece group. The first band to record one of his arrangements -- the jaunty “I Got Worry” -- was the Jimmy Joy Orchestra in 1928.  

By the 1930s Spud Murphy was a first rate big band swing arranger writing for Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson and other top bands. By his own count, during the 1930’s Murphy wrote nearly 600 arrangements and over 100 original compositions. While in New York, Spud formed an orchestra that did radio broadcasts and recorded five albums for Decca and Bluebird. 

In 1935-36 he scored over a hundred numbers for the Let's Dance radio broadcasts of the Benny Goodman band, including the hits, "Ballad in Blue", "Get Happy", "Jingle Bells", "Diga Diga Doo", "Restless" and "The Glory of Love". His most known assignment was to orchestrate the Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer song "Shorty George" as a song-and-tap number for Astaire and Hayworth in the musical You Were Never Lovelier (1942). 

By the late 1930s Spud was a well-known highly respected band arranger. He moved to the Los Angeles area, and in 1937 his Spud Murphy’s Swing Arranging Method was published. started writing charts for Columbia Pictures, but he left to serve in the merchant marine in World War II.  After the war, he returned to film work that included his iconic arrangement of "Three Blind Mice" for the Three Stooges' movies.
 
 


In the '40s and the '50s he went on to compose for more than 50 motion pictures; jazz albums; and he occasionally continued to write for Goodman and other musicians; and he briefly led his own small “third stream” combo in the mid-1950s. 

Into his ninth decade Spud continued to be honored as a composer and educator, publishing more than 26 books including his own system of composition and arranging known as the equal interval system, an extensive course on composing, arranging and orchestration. students of his “equal interval” method include Oscar Peterson, Bennie Green, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones and Curtis Counce (who later played bass on Murphy's space age pop LPs New Orbits in Sound and Gone with the Woodwinds


Spud Murphy died August 5th, 2005, in Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital following complications from surgery. He was 96.   (Info edited from articles @ maxwelldemille.com & dlwaldron.com)
 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Molly Bee born 18 August 1939


Molly Bee (August 18, 1939 – February 7, 2009), born Mollie Gene Beachboard, was an American country music singer famous for her 1952 recording of the early perennial, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", and as Pinky Lee's sidekick on The Pinky Lee Show. She had had several hits in the early '60s, crafting a showy stage persona, ideal for clubs. 
 
Raised in Beltbuckle, TN, Bee didn't begin singing until her family moved to Tucson, AZ. Even then, she started her singing career much earlier than most -- she was ten years old when she gained the attention of Rex Allen, the singing cowboy. Bee's mother took her to see the singer at a local concert, where she had her daughter sing for him. Impressed with her performance of "Lovesick Blues," Allen had the child sing on his radio show shortly afterward. 

A year later, her family moved to Hollywood, where she became a regular on Hometown Jamboree, a Los Angeles-based television show run by Cliffie Stone. Bee sang on the Jamboree throughout her teens, gaining a large following of fans; she was so popular, the program was occasionally called the "Molly Bee Show." During this time, she was also a regular on The Pinky Lee Show, appearing on the television program for three years. 

When she was 13, Bee signed with Capitol Records, releasing her first single, "Tennessee Tango." However, it was "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," released late in 1952, that was her first major success.
 
 


 
In 1953, she recorded "Don't Start Courtin' in a Hot Rod Ford," a duet with Tennessee Ernie Ford. The following year, she left Pinky Lee's show for Ford's daytime television show. Bee's career continued to grow, as she had more hit singles -- including "Young Romance," "Don't Look Back," and "5 Points of a Star" -- and appeared on a variety of television shows. By the late '50s, her live shows were drawing large, record-breaking
crowds.
 
In the early '60s, Bee began to move her talents to other areas, acting in several musical plays (The Boy Friend, Finian's Rainbow, Paint Your Wagon) and movies (Chartreuse Caboose, The Young Swingers), as well as becoming a fixture in Las Vegas. However, her recording career began to decline after she signed to Liberty Records in 1962. After two unsuccessful years there, she moved to MGM in 1965, releasing the It's Great...It's Molly Bee album. Bee found her greatest success at MGM the following year with "Losing You"/"Miserable Me." 
By the late '60s, Bee had fallen prey to drug addiction and had to take several years off the road as she rebuilt her life. She re-emerged in 1975 with Good Golly Ms. Molly, this time on Cliffie Stone's Granite record label. Her comeback was successful, producing two charting singles: "She Kept on Talking" and "Right or Left at Oak Street." In 1982, she released her final album, Sounds Fine to Me, which failed to match the performance of Good Golly, although she remained a popular concert draw. 

Although she was no longer touring, in April 1998, she was part of the playbill putting on a benefit for the Ivey Ranch Park for the physically and mentally handicapped in her city of residence, Oceanside, California.

By the 1990s she owned a restaurant and night club in Oceanside, known as The Molly Bee. She was quoted as having said, "I've done it all, and lived to tell about it." She remembered working with "incredible people and always into where the action was. I wouldn't trade it for the world." "Mine has been like six lifetimes rolled into one. 

Bee, who in her later years went by Molly Muncy offstage, died on February 7, 2009, at Tri-City Medical Center, Oceanside, California, from complications following a stroke. She was 69 years old and lived in Carlsbad, California.  

(Info edited mainly from Stephen Thomas Erlewine @ All Music & a tad of Wikipedia)
 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Larry Clinton born 17 August 1909


Larry Clinton (August 17, 1909 – May 2, 1985) was a versatile composer, arranger, and bandleader whose swing band was one of the dominant forces in pop music in the late '30s, specifically in the period between Tommy Dorsey's initial success and the rise to fame of Glenn Miller. 
 
Born in Brooklyn, Clinton broke into the business as an arranger on the staff of Ferde Grofé & His Orchestra, which formed in 1932 in the wake of the rift between Grofé and Paul Whiteman; Clinton also held down a trumpet chair in the Grofé band for a time. Upon leaving Grofé, Clinton joined the arranging staff of the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, but continued to write charts on a freelance basis for other leaders. When the Dorsey Brothers split in 1935, Clinton went with Jimmy Dorsey, but it was an arrangement placed with Tommy Dorsey's band, "The Dipsy Doodle," that established Clinton's name with the public.  

On the strength of that hit, Clinton formed his own band in late 1937. He recorded a string of hits for Victor Records graced with the extraordinary talents of girl singer Bea Wain and the rough but personable singing of "Boy" Ford Leary. The Clinton band's repertoire was split between pop tunes of the day ("I Double Dare You," "Summer Souvenirs," etc.), ambitious instrumentals penned by Clinton (the most popular, "A Study in Brown," begat four sequels in different "colours"). and swing adaptations of classical compositions. This last category swept the industry, and orchestras everywhere were "swinging the classics" by adding pop lyrics to melodies by Debussy and Tchaikovsky. His version of Debussy’s "Reverie", with vocalist Bea Wain, was particularly popular. Entitled "My Reverie", his version peaked at #1 on Billboard's Record Buying Guide in 1938. 
 

 


Clinton also similarly transformed music by Tchaikovsky, Flotow, and the hoary anthem "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls" into solid sensations -- musicians' scuttlebutt of the era in reference to Clinton eulogized such efforts as "it goes into one ear and flows out of his pen." Purists cried "desecration," but Clinton defended his work by stating that he was bringing quality music to the dance floor. 

Some of the hits Clinton enjoyed in the late '30s were with songs of such significance that his connection in introducing them has become forgotten; the ever-prevalent favourite of amateur pianists "Heart and Soul" and "Deep Purple" were among the tunes Larry Clinton made famous. 

Clinton did have some hot players in his band, but seldom if ever used them to contribute solos to raise the heat; as one would expect from an arranger's band, the emphasis was on precise execution of his dance charts as written. Several of Clinton's other compositions were more challenging, representing an interest in the "egghead jazz" of Raymond Scott and Ray Noble in pieces such as "Strictly for the Persians" and "The Campbells Are Swingin'." Many of Clinton's original pieces reflect an interest in the supernatural and Satanism, such as "Midnight in the Madhouse," "Shades of Hades," "The Devil with the Devil," "Satan in Satin," "Study in Surrealism," and one 1938 vintage number that perhaps was a premonition of things to come -- "I Want to Rock (Rock Solid Rock)." 

In 1941 Clinton and his band appeared in six short musical films, designed for then-popular "movie jukeboxes." (The films were ultimately released as Soundies in 1943.) This was one of his last jobs as a bandleader; he quit the music business upon the outbreak of World War II, and joined the United States Army Air Force. A rated pilot, he rose to the rank of captain, was stationed with the Air Transport Command in Calcutta and China during Hump airlift, and was a flight instructor with the 1343rd Base Unit. He served with distinction, and was well decorated for his efforts.

He resumed his musical career and enjoyed further success as a bandleader from 1948 to 1950. He worked for the short-lived Cosmo label, worked at Kapp, and re-recorded his hits with a pickup band in hi-fi sound with singer Helen Ward for his old haunt, RCA Victor. Nevertheless, the big-band business was dead, and Clinton retired from music in 1961 to pursue other interests, mainly writing fiction.



While Larry Clinton may not have led the jazziest swing band, it was nonetheless a fun and exciting dance orchestra, and his 214 78-rpm sides for Victor and Bluebird -- Clinton's core output -- are well worth remembering and appreciating on their own terms.

He died in 1985 in Tucson, Arizona, from cancer at the age of 75. (Info edited mainly from Uncle Dave Lewis @AMG & some Wikipedia)

Here's one of Larry's short musicals from 1941 - "Smiles." The vocalist is Butch Stone.