Here are the answers to the Tommy Dorsey Quiz;
1. The big band fans of the swing era may have thought Tommy Dorsey’s main competitors were Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller, but, to Tommy it was big brother Jimmy. The two feuded throughout the late 30’s and early 40’s.
2. Both Frank Sinatra and Jack Leonard sang with the Dorsey orchestra. Andy Russell sang with Glenn Miller‘s U.S. Army Air Corps band. Andy later was the vocalist on Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club radio show from Chicago.
3. “I’ll Never Smile Again,” with Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers with Jo Stafford, was Dorsey’s biggest hit. He had a total of 17 recordings hit the #1 spot on the Billboard charts.
4. As stated above, the singing group was the Pied Pipers. Late in 1942, one of the members was fired by Dorsey (noted for a bad temper), for giving incorrect directions at a train station. Dorsey refused to reconsider resulting in the exit from the band of all members of the group.
5. The Dorsey boys were born and raised in Pennsylvania. At the height of his career (late 30’s-early 40’s) Tommy lived on an estate in Bernardsville (Ber-nerds-ville is the local pronunciation) New Jersey. This is just a few miles from my home in Chester Township, NJ. Read more in the “Earthquake rattles New Jersey” article. It has a photo of Tommy with the high school cheerleaders.
6. In the 1934-35 period the arranger and trombonist in the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra was Glenn Miller. Glenn launched his own band with $5000 from Tommy. When he was able to repay the debt, Tommy, always the business man, claimed the money was to buy an interest in Miller’s band. Glenn stood firm denying Dorsey’s attempt to partner with him. Question: was this a common practiced? who really owned the bands? syndicates like in boxing? Did Vaughn Monroe, for example own his band, or was he a handsome “front,” who looked great in a dinner jacket? I’d like to hear any thoughts or knowledge you have on this (or any) subject.
7. Tommy Dorsey called it quits in December 1946. American lifestyles drastically changed with the end of World war Two. Band members wanted to settle down, marry, start families, and make a decent living. A reissue of his hits made the Billboard album chart in 1947, reviving Dorsey’s career. He formed a new band in 1947 and reunited with his brother Jimmy in 1953. The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra had come full circle. Television was a boon to the big bands in the 1950’s. The long gone, DuMont television network (Ch. 5 in New York was the HQ), for example, carried “The Cavalcade Of Bands” in 50-51 on Tuesday night. The Dorsey boys were frequent headliners. Tommy died in 1956 at the early age of 51. He accidentally choked to death in his sleep
Listen to Tommy Dorsey’s signature song “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” the way it was heard decades ago….on a 78rpm disk with pops and all.
To Buy A Tommy Dorsey CD click here.