GLENN MILLER (1904 - 1944)
Glenn Miller led one of the most famous orchestra’s of the 20th century. The distinctive sound that he created was born of his prior musical experiences in several orchestras and a few failures. When he formed his second band in 1938, he featured his reed section, and the unique sound caught on. The trombonist/leader immediately began drawing record crowds, and hit songs followed: “Tuxedo Junction,” “In the Mood,” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000”.
In 1941 and 1942 the band made two popular movies: Sun Valley Serenade which introduced “Chatanooga Choo-Choo” and Orchestra Wives which featured “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo”. Not only was the band popular for songs particularly associated with them, such as “String of Pearls” (1941), but with singer Ray Eberle, they made many hit recordings of standards such as “Moonlight Serenade” and “Stairway to the Stars” in 1939, “The Nearness of You,” “It’s a Blue World,” “Fools Rush In,” “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “Skylark,” and “Imagination” in 1940, and “Angel Eyes, “Skylark,” and “At Last” in 1942.
In 1942 Miller left his successful civilian career to join the Army and modernized the Army Air Force Band to entertain troops in the war zones. In 1944 Miller was lost in a plane crash on his way to Paris ahead of the band to make arrangements for an upcoming tour.
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com