When the old Nazis encountered Americans on the playing fields of the Olympic Games or were baffled by music like boogie woogie and swing, they were convinced that a society made up of so many different kinds of people couldn't stand a chance against the "purity" of their racism. The diversity of Americans, exemplified in a Los Angeles "home of the kosher burrito", made the USA a "mongrel" people. Americans with all their different opinions could never defeat their goose stepping regiments! No wonder, they thought, could such a people produce something so undignified as jazz, be bop, ragtime, swing and yes....... boogie woogie.
By Mark Schoifet on January 30, 2013
Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the Andrews Sisters trio, who lifted American spirits in World War II with songs such as “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” has died. She was 94.
She died [Wednesday, 30 Jan 13] at her home in Los Angeles, of natural causes, the Associated Press reported, citing family spokesman Alan Eichler.
The Andrews Sisters were the most popular female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century, selling more than 90 million records, recording 700 songs and placing 46 hits in the top 10 on the Billboard pop charts. Their version of the calypso song “Rum and Coca-Cola” was the best-selling record of 1945.
With their unbridled patriotism and midwestern good-girl image, the Andrews Sisters helped define wartime America. They performed in uniform at military bases and hospitals, appeared regularly on Armed Forces Radio and toured Italy with the USO. They also sold war bonds and sang in flag-waving films such as“Buck Privates” and “Stage Door Canteen.”
“We were such a part of everybody’s life in the Second World War,” Patty once said. “We represented something overseas and at home, a sense of security.”
Inspired by the Boswell Sisters, a New Orleans jazz trio in the 1920s and early 1930s, the Andrews Sisters developed intricate and rhythmic three-part harmonies that were the vocal counterpart of the era’s instrumental swing bands.Singing Yiddish
They chose songs that went against the tide of popular music, shunning romantic ballads in favor of novelty numbers and boogie woogie. The group’s recordings included songs from other languages as well: Their first big hit was “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen,” an Anglicized version of a song from Yiddish theater.
“Patty, Maxene and LaVerne were rambunctious, highly stylized performers who adapted the swing instrumentation to the capabilities of the human voice,” said music historian Tony Palmer.
The only blonde in the group, Patty stood in the middle of the trio and took the solos. She sang sassy duets with Bing Crosby and joked with comedian Lou Costello in films such as “In the Navy.” In her solo on “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,”Patty danced to the front, miming the trumpet player while singing about the Chicago jazz musician whose “number came up”and was in the army now, blowing reveille.
“Patty was the fun one of the group, the clown who kept us laughing during those endless periods of backstage boredom between shows when we were doing five and six shows a day,”wrote Maxene Andrews in her 1993 memoir of the war years, “Over Here, Over There.”Trumpet Emulators
Patricia Marie Andrews was born in Mound, Minnesota, on Feb. 16, 1918, the daughter of a Greek immigrant father and a Norwegian immigrant mother who ran a restaurant in Minneapolis. The sisters developed an interest in music as children and began performing on local radio stations and in amateur revues. They aimed to emulate vocally the sound produced by three trumpets.
After making their professional debut in Minneapolis in December 1932, the girls joined a vaudeville troupe and toured the Midwest for six months. Their parents later closed the restaurant to devote themselves to the girls’ career as the sisters toured with bands from 1934 to 1937.
In 1937, the sisters went to New York and in time signed with Decca Records, which had recorded the Boswell Sisters and was looking for another female vocal group.
Their second Decca single, “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen,” shot to No. 1 on the charts in January 1938 after the trio performed it on the popular radio show “Your Hit Parade.” Now stars, the Andrews Sisters scored another hit in 1939 with the novelty song“Hold Tight, Hold Tight,” then signed with Universal Pictures and appeared in 17 low-budget pictures in the next eight years.
The sisters made the top 10 in 1940 with one of the few ballads they recorded, “I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time,” which was featured in the film “Buck Privates.”
After a lengthy musicians’ strike that began in 1942, when the sisters returned to the recording studio they were often paired with Bing Crosby.
“I was so nervous, I didn’t think I would able to sing,”Patty Andrews told Crosby’s biographer, Charles Thompson.
Somehow, she managed -- and the collaboration was a major success. Among their many hits with Crosby was the country-and-western number, “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” which sold more than 1 million copies in 1943.
Oh Sandy, this actually has me in tears. The Andrews Sisters were a favorite of my Mom's and the Big Band, can't beat the Big Band Era. Being from the State of Washington, considered at one time to be the Apple Capital of the Country, their song "I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time" was a real hit, especially in Wenatchee where they hold the annual Apple Blossom Parade. The Andrews Sisters actually came to Wenatchee one year for the Parade and sang the song from one of the floats.
Gosh, this is so sad. She did have a wonderful life I am sure.
Pete is a huge Big Band fan & turned me into one. I could listen to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Of Company B over and over again. Anything with a good beat to it.
My parents listened more to the music of e.g. Nat King Cole, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Perry Como and also The Greatest Classical Hits.
Our parents were much alike; Mom listened to the same people. However, she had studied dance and loved all types, tap, jazz and ballroom being her main interests and so the songs with the beat were great, too.
So here is one for you Sandy, if you like Swing dancing and music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS5oCLXrQLs
Great topic, Sandy. I love listening to this type of music. Hard to stay seated!
America was so patriotic back in the day. The music reflected how proud Americans were of their country and how they honored the troops. That is what is missing today.
Thanks, John. That picture was taken two years ago when I was visiting my little mama! Always good to see you posting with us!
As usual, I agree with everything you stated about what is wrong with our country today. Our young people today are NOT patriotic.
Linda, I can dance swing (I took dance in college), but I don't even come close to being able to do what those dancers were doing. Even if I was in my 20's, I'd probably still severely damage myself attempting it. I do enjoy listening to it though.
Sandy, thought the same thing. Now my Mom, who studied dance from 4 years of age through College was able to do it and that well. She used to perform in competitions around the Northwest, too. No, I would have done severe damage to places that should not be damaged at all. LOL
Diane, I love the music, too and love to dance. John, agree on this completely. Not all kids have not been taught and honestly, the only place left that teaches them any respect for the Country is the Military and that is downsizing, too and does not reach the majority, only the best of the best (LOL...that is my personal feeling honestly, it is the best of the young people that seek out the Military and join, they are the ones that can keep the patriotism going but now that is downsizing).
And who could forget the music of Vaughn Monroe - "Dance Ballerina Dance" and, of course, my mom's favorite Frank Sinatra singing anything and everything! I was raised on big band music. My dad taught me to dance to the music of the Dorsey's, Ray Anthony, Glenn Miller, just to mention a few. I will always treasure the many times I danced with my dad. He was a great dancer. I grew up loving to dance. And, I always danced in my stocking feet. Wore out many pairs of nylons. Not to mention a few toes stepped on by my partners. And, speaking of the military - when I was coming along in college, we always had the yearly military ball. It was so great - the guys in their uniforms and the gals in their formals. And, ALWAYS, some great music from the "Big Band" area.
My husband and I have all the old "big band" albums which we have played over and over. And, the best place to dance is in the kitchen. Great dance floor.
Oh Tara Jane, abolutely. Anyone rememer the McGuires? Of course I came from Bing (Harry) and Bob (George) Crosby's hometown, too. Their childhood home was bequethed to Gonzage U and Bing gave the money for the Crosby Library which is now the Crosby Student Center. He (Bing) had gone to school there and had originally planned to enter law school (Gonzaga has one of the best in the Nation. http://www.gonzaga.edu/Student-Life/Get-Involved/crosby-student-center/About_Bing_Crosby.asp
In the Valley where I grew up there are two Crosby homes; one belonged to a brother and his family and the other to an Uncle and his family.
At any rate, Bob had a Big Band, too. Gosh, it is nice to know others enjoy the Big Band music.
Tara Jane, the kitchen is an excellent dance floor; Grandma and Grandpa danced there and so did my Mom and Dad. You and your hubby have that one just right and keep it up.
This post was modified from its original form on 04 Feb, 11:28
Linda, it's really the greatest! And, sadly, it's about all that's left. There are very few places to go where there is dancing. And, if there is dancing - the music isn't danceable! (Don't know if that's a word). But I just can't get into today's gyrating music. Although I do remember the "shag", jitterbug, twist, bop and other dances we used to do. And still do! I'm glad I married a man who loves to dance. Getting a little more mellow in my senior years.
Great memories! The "Good Old Days" are still the best!
Great music and memories. My husband had a dance band for many years and that's the only kind of music he played. Sad that there isn't much of a demand for it anymore...Oldies but goodies remains my favorite style of music.
My special fella loves to dance; everything from Ballrrom to Square Dancing, but loves the nice slow ones, so I am hoping that the kitchen will become a great spot once we are married. On the West Coast, he told me, there are a few Dance Clubs that are exclusive to ballroom; Foxtrot, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Tango, Argentine Tango, Swing, Western Swing, Quick Step, Cha Cha, and they get into the Samba and the Latin dances like that. They have dance lessons and then follow with dancing and then every Friday night they have open dancing. That is about the only way you get to enjoy dancing to "good music" like that. They do get into the jitterbug, though. I love to do the dances of the late 50's and early 60's but not into anything since then as it is hard to dance to that sort of music; rap, come on.
Back in my high school days we had a dance every Friday night in the cafeteria and everyone went; if there was a game it was after the game, but it was so much fun. They let the different clubs host the dance to make money for their projects and we would hire the local DJ (record spinner) to do the music. He had a record shop and moonlighted as a DJ. Those were the days, such wonderful memories. We would take off our shoes and dance in stocking, Tara Jane and yes, toes would go through the nylons before the dance was over.
Does anyone remember the Sadie Hawkin's Dance (girls would ask boys)? Did you have them at your high school? Homecoming, Christmas Formal, Spring Fling, Junior Prom and Senior Ball were some of the more specail dances, oh and Valentine's Sweetheart Dance. But we never missed a chance to dance.
Pete's best friend's name in high school was Glenn Miller. He became a doctor, not a band leader, but I guess his parents were fans of Big Band, too.
I went to a couple military balls in college with Pete. Only twice. When I was in my last year of college, he was a 2LT at Ft. Bliss, TX, then throughout his military career, we've been to many, many more.
It seems like no matter the ball, dance or wedding reception, there's always one couple cutting a rug. Slow dancing is just fine w/ Pete.
Abbott and Costello and the Andrew Sisters were America. They are what we need now!
All my big band enthusiasts out there, he is one for all of you: Just copy and past to browser and sit back and have some fun