Thursday, November 01, 2012
I have acquired a big bunch of slides from the 1970's featuring various big band legends performing at the Plaza Gardens. They get a bit repetitive, but I definitely want to share the best of them with you once in a while.
Today we'll have a look at Harry James and his Big Band. Harry was 56 in 1972. Did you know he was once married to Betty Grable? Hubba hubba! His band was the first to employ a young singer named Frank Sinatra in 1939, and at one point, Buddy Rich was part of his orchestra. Here he is, blowing his horn!
Wikipedia says that Harry was known for his "astonishing technical proficency as well as his superior tone". His first big hit was "You Made Me Love You", which was in the top 10 when Pearl Harbor was attacked.
The drummer in the background is, as you can see, Sonny Payne. Sonny played with Count Basie's orchestra from the mid-1950's to 1962. When Buddy Rich left Harry James' orchestra, Sonny Payne replaced him. You can find clips on YouTube of Sonny playing with Harry James!
I wish I knew the name of this lovely singer, but could find no information. If anybody has a clue, please leave a comment!
A few brave souls take to the dance floor. My friend said that there were many nights when he couldn't get near the stage, but then there would be nights where nobody was there, which must have been disheartening to the performers. Show biz! It's a tough racket.