Peggy Lee's Bio-Discography:
Live With The Benny Goodman Orchestra
(And On The Radio, Part VII)

by Iván Santiago-Mercado

Page generated on Aug 24, 2017





Scope And Contents

This page documents Peggy Lee's collaborations with The Benny Goodman Orchestra outside of the recording studio -- specifically, her appearances with the band at concert dates and radio broadcasts. Close attention is naturally paid to the 76 vocals that are extant. All but two of these vocals fall within the 1941-1943 period, when Lee was under Goodman's hire. (The exceptions stem from a 1946 reunion for a radio transmission.)

I have also given a considerable amount of attention to the venues where the canary performed with Goodman's orchestra. Historical descriptions, souvenir imagery and photos of the sites are included. Through the presentation of such visual and descriptive data, I am hoping to evoke a vivid picture of Peggy Lee's career as the King of Swing's canary. More generally, this page takes the shape of a travelogue: each of its main sections has been partially designed as a "stop" at a performing venue.

In all matters involving Benny Goodman, my chief sources of discographical information have been Russ Connor's Benny Goodman: Listen To The Legacy (1988) and Dave Jessup's Benny Goodman: A Supplemental Discography (2010). For an index of the songs listed throughout, or for general commentary about the preservation of the performances under discussion, read the notes at the bottom of this page. If curious about Lee's musical encounters with Goodman beyond the 1941-1943 years under scrutiny, consult the final notes in this overview of their joint appearances.




I. CHICAGO: AT THE HOTEL SHERMAN'S PANTHER ROOM








The Hiring Of Peggy Lee

Benny Goodman And His Orchestra performed in Chicago's Sherman House Hotel from July 25 to August 28, 1941. At the start of the engagement, Helen Forrest was the band's canary. The very popular Forrest had joined the orchestra back in December of 1939. She gave Goodman notice of departure either at the outset of the Sherman engagement or some time within its first two weeks. (August the first is the most commonly cited date.) Peggy Lee was her successor.

Billboard's report on this subject was published on the Orchestra Notes section of its August 23, 1941 issue. The news topped the section: "Benny Goodman takes on chirper Peggy Lee to replace Helen Forrest, who leaves the orchestra Thursday (21) to hop to New York to continue as a single. Miss Lee was caught by Benny at Chi's Ambassador West Hotel, where she vocalized with a musical combo, the Four of Us ..."

"I started singing with the Goodman band in the middle of their College Inn engagement in Chicago," asserts Peggy Lee in her autobiography. She must have thus joined the orchestra in mid-August 1941. The exact day is unknown, but educated guesses can be made. An extant broadcast proves that Forrest was still serving as Goodman's singer on Sunday, August 10, 1941. Five days later, on Friday, August 15, 1941, Lee did her first studio session with the band. Hence Lee's live debut with the orchestra is likely to have taken place between Monday, August 11 and Thursday, August 14, 1941.

Two oral reports could help pinpoint the date even further. In her autobiography (1989), the vocalist recalls that Benny Goodman first saw her when he went out for dinner at the Ambassador West's Butter Room, where she was regularly performing at a solo act, backed by a quartet. Goodman called her the very next morning, and hired her right then, on the phone. Pianist Mel Powell is subsequently quoted in the autobiography. He recalls that "her first assignment was to make a recording ... There Peg was making a recording with Benny Goodman just a day or two after she joined the band." If accurate, Lee's and Powell's combined reminiscences would indicate that she sang with the Goodman orchestra for the very time on Wednesday the 13th or Thursday the 14th.

However, full accuracy might be too high of an expectation in a case such as this one. After all, the two above-quoted sources were trying to put in chronological order events that had happened nearly 50 years earlier. (Powell's reference to the recording session as Peggy Lee's first assignment is also a bit confusing. Lee's own comments suggest that the very first assignment would have been a performance at the Sherman -- and so does logic. Perhaps Powell was using the word "assignment" in a more strict sense than what I have in mind. As already shown by his above-quoted remark, he himself goes on to say that the session took place one or two days after Lee had joined the band.)

Yet another potential source of confusion stems from a Helen Forrest live performance with the band at a relatively late date. On data about a broadcast dated August 17, 1941, she is listed among those who participated on one of the remotes that were broadcast on that day. (I have not listened to this remote, nor do I know if its dating has been corroborated to be accurate. My source is the writing of Goodman's premiere discographer, Russ Connor.) But the presence of Helen Forrest on August 17 should not be taken to mean that Peggy Lee was not around as well; Forrest writes in her autobiography that she was contractually forced to attend the entire month of concerts at the Sherman. Forrest also writes that she did not sing in said concerts, and that throat illness was given as an excuse. If Forrest truly sang on August 17, my conjecture would be that she did so as an exceptional concession, or that she had to do so because it was a special occasion. Among other speculative possibilities, the departing canary could have been talked into singing for a Sunday broadcast that was deemed of great relevance to those involved, or she could have been asked to do so in exchange for being excused from the rest of the month's concerts. It should also be noted that some of Miss Forrest's assertions are not fully backed by the historical record, a state of affairs which raises in turn suspicions about possibly overstated or misremembered facts. For instance, Forrest writes that she "sat alongside Peggy on the bandstand and didn't sing a note for four weeks," yet various extant remotes from the second half of August of 1941 do feature vocals sung by Forrest.


Peggy Lee's First Dates With The Benny Goodman Orchestra

Reminiscing about the events that transpired right after she was hired by Benny Goodman on the phone, Peggy Lee's autobiographical account proceeds as follows: "I wasn't even to have a rehearsal with Benny. All he said was, Come to work and wear something pretty ... I arrived at work [in] a nice dress, as requested, and there was, indeed, no rehearsal. [Pianist] Mel Powell was there, and, God bless him, he was such a help to me. Someone told me the songs I would be singing, and, luckily, I knew them all. Mel would give me four bars and I would count and listen hard for where I was supposed to come in -- jumping in at the last moment and hoping for the best."

Writing more generally about her state of mind during those initial days at the Sherman, Lee adds: "I started singing with the Goodman band in the middle of their College Inn engagement in Chicago. With no rehearsal, I was so nervous I thought the spotlight was alive. I would sit there until Mel cued me, then I would start counting and come in wherever Eddie Sauter's modulation had taken us ... I just happened to know the songs because I had been a fan [but] you can't walk to the microphone with a sheet of paper in your hand. The musicians have theirs, but the singer has nothing but what she is hearing or has memorized."

During that very first night performing with The Benny Goodman Orchestra at the Panther Room of the Sherman's College Inn, "My Old Flame" was the one number that Peggy Lee would later remembered having sung. Soon, she would go on to record the number with the band. Her earliest extant vocal as the band's canary is not "My Old Flame," however, but "Daddy" -- as will be further shown below. "Daddy" is also Lee's only surviving vocal from the two or three weeks that she spent working for Goodman at the Sherman.


Attendance

In an short article titled ","Goodman Shatters Chi Sherman Record," the September 6, 1941 issue of Billboard magazine reports the following: "Benny Goodman broke the attendance record at the Sherman Hotel's Panther Room during his five-week stay Thursday (28), by rolling up an estimated total of 35,000 patrons. He played a six-day week, in accordance with the FM regulation, and most nights averaged 1,200 jitterbugs. Goodman surprised the local trade, which has been predicting the exit of swing for a couple of seasons. During his recent appearance at a Grant Park free open-air concert, the maestro attracted 50,000 fan, despite a rain." On the 29th, Lionel Hampton was the next act to open at the Panther Room.


The Venue

The Sherman Hotel traced its beginnings all the way back to 1837, when it was simply known as the City Hotel. Owned back then by Francis Cornwall Sherman (1805-1870), a brick manufacturer who would go on to serve as mayor of Chicago for three terms, the establishment was renamed the Sherman House Hotel in 1844 and rebuilt for the first time in 1861. The Sherman had to be rebuilt again after the Great Fire destroyed it (1871), and yet once more in 1911, when neglect had turned the once luxurious premises into a mere shadow of their former self. Under the ownership of Prague-born magnate Joseph Beifield, numerous improvements or physical additions were made during the first decades of the twentieth century (e.g., the erection of more floors, from six in the 1900s to twelve in the 1910s and twenty-three in the mid-1920s, by which time the total of rooms amounted to 1,700). Following the death of Beifield in 1926 and the new management by his son Ernie Byfield, in partnership with Frank Bering, the hotel's claims to fame went beyond its opulence. One such claim pertained to the Sherman's restaurant, the College Inn, where Chef Joe Colton's plates attracted many celebrities and wealthy patrons. The secret ingredient behind the chef's celebrated Chicken ala King was the broth that he made, and which remains one of the Sherman's surviving relics: since 1923, College Inn's broth has been manufactured for sale in cans -- initially accessible only by mail, then locally, nowadays widely available in most American markets.

The Sherman Hotel's College Inn was also at the center of the establishment's other main claim to fame, which pertained to the entertainment of choice. The Inn, located in the building's basement, was often cited as one of the very first society rooms to feature jazz music for white audiences. Some sources even call the Sherman the very first hotel to feature it. Debatable though not without some foundation, the credit relies on the Isham Jones Orchestra's residence at the hotel from 1922 to early 1925. The Jones band was an all-Caucasian dance ensemble whose innovations included a style anchored in the sounds of the saxophone (thereby departing from the violin-laden flavors of that era's society orchestras) and the cultivation of a repertoire rich in authentic blues numbers (thus downplaying the tried-and-true waltz fad to which high society had become accustomed). In the years that ensued Jones' residence, the College Inn continued to feature mostly dance bands, all the way into the late 1930s. A 1927 contract between MCA and the Biefield family had brought in orchestras such as those of Ray Miller, Ted Lewis, Maurie Sherman (partially a reconfiguration of the Isham Jones Orchestra) and, especially, Ben Bernie -- each of them a success with the hotel's regular customers.

In 1939, the College Inn underwent a renovation that was not only physical but also conceptual. Like other dining rooms co-owned by Ernie Byfield and Frank Bering (e.g., the Ambassador East's Pump Room), the Panther Room became notorious not just fort its food and music but also for for its exotic and dramatic atmosphere. (A description of the Panther's decor can be found in one of the images pictured above; the Pump, opened in 1938, was described in 1947 as follows: "gigantic turbaned waiters, flanked by flunkies, parade to tables with orders of meat spitted on flaming rapiers, producing a spectacle that smacks of a cross between Dante's inferno and Mrs. O'Leary's cow ... [P]ractically everything is served on flaming swords except [Joseph Byfield,] the host.") As part of the remodeling in 1939, the Inn's dining room was also given its own name: the Panther Room.

The reconceptualization of the Inn extended to its musical entertainment. Byfield and Bering turned the Inn into the site for what became known as the "Cavalcade of Swing" series, whose spotlight on swing bands turned the Inn into a nationally known hot swing spot (thanks in no small measure to the many radio shows that would be broadcast from the venue). It was as part of this music series that The Benny Goodman Orchestra came into the room in 1941. The Panther Room kept its "Cavalcade" alive and kicking for six years -- i.e., until the advent of the post-war period, by which time the mainstream nation's interest in swing had heavily declined.

The beginning of the Sherman's own decline might have been signaled by hotelier Ernie Byfield's death (1950). A few years later, the hotels that he had once co-owned were receiving less than stellar reviews. Under a succession of owners who did not practice Byfield's hands-on approach or had his flair for theatrical presentation, the standing of all the establishments suffered. Drastic cutbacks and reduction of personnel also took a toll. In the economic world of the 1960s, the Sherman became one among many large-size hotels struggling to remain financially afloat. It closed in January 1973 and was demolished in the 1980s. Since 1985, its former land has been filled by a governmental building (first called the State of Illinois Center, now better known as the James R. Thompson Center).


Photos (1-3): A still and two postcards, all three of them showcasing the façade of the Hotel Sherman, over the years. The exact date of the first image is unknown to me, though I believe it to be from the early 1900s. Dating from 1943, the second image shows the general look of the establishment shortly after a garage had been added to the hotel. (Another garage would be added in 1967.) The third image, a postcard photo, was taken in either the 1950s or the early 1960s. (4) A 1912 ad. Notice the emphasis on the College Inn, boldly touted as "the world's most famous restaurant." (5-7; 9 & 11) Souvenirs of the College Inn. Images #5, #6, and #7 clarify that the kitchen of the College Inn was at the service of two dining rooms, presumably adjacent to one another: the Malaya and the Panther, within which patrons could enjoy "great swing masters" along with "flaming sword dinners." (8, 10) Caught in the act at the Panther Room, in 1940: the bands of Woody Herman (image #8) and Tommy Dorsey (image #10).


Date: August 24, 1941; Broadcast On The NBC Radio Network
Location: College Inn's Panther Room, Hotel Sherman, City Hall Square (Northwest Corner Of Randolph & Clark), Chicago, Illinois

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Skip Martin, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), John Simmons (b), Mel Powell (p), Sid Catlett (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Daddy(Bobby Troup)
unissued

Performances

1. Preservation
Unfortunately, this performance of "Daddy" was not preserved in its entirety.

2. Other Performances*
Also heard during this radio broadcast were two instrumentals by the orchestra ("Flying Home," "A S-m-o-o-t-h One") and a vocal by the band's male crooner, Tommy Taylor ("From One Love To Another"). Taylor's vocal suffered the same fate as Lee's: it is incomplete. The instrumentals were preserved in full, fortunately.

* (Generally, my notes for these Goodman dates will only make mention of the vocals by Peggy Lee. The few exceptions include this page's last live date as well as the present, earliest of the dates. As can be seen above, the non-Lee performances are being mentioned herein, chiefly for the benefit of curious readers and Goodman fans. See also November 7 and 14, 1941; July 15, 1942; August 10, 1942; and March 20, 1943.




II. TORONTO: AT THE CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION




Shortly after the conclusion of their month-long engagement at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago (August 28), The Benny Goodman Orchestra traveled out of the country. "We went on to Toronto for some kind of exposition," Peggy Lee reminisced in her autobiography. Indeed, the orchestra performed at the Canadian National Exhibition on August 30, 1941. Unfortunately, no broadcasts of the band's show are known to exist.

The Canadian National Exhibition is an annual fair set up at a district known as Exhibition Place, by the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Toronto. Dating all the way back to 1879, the fair has customarily highlighted advances in agriculture and technology while providing plenty of entertainment, food, contests, sports events, and touristic attractions. It is usually scheduled from mid-August through Labor Day (September 2), for a total of 18 days.

Most visiting bands have performed at the Exhibition's Bandshell, which is described at the National Exhibition's website as "built in 1936 ... modeled after the Hollywood Bowl [and] still known for its acoustic excellence." It would have thus been a suitable space for any concert by the Goodman orchestra, back in 1941. However, Goodman discographer Russ Connor specifies that the orchestra's concert took place at the Exhibition's Dance Pavilion, a location about which I have found no specifics. (At the present time, the fair does have a so-called International Pavilion and International Stage, which could very well be a successor to the pavilion in question.)


ONE NIGHTERS ALL OVER THE USA (AND MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION)

Drawing from an unspecified source, author Peter Richmond offers various specifics about the band's trip up North. A bus was boarded in Syracuse, with Toronto as its destination. The band members rode in it; their bandleader did not. The King of Swing left by car instead -- as he and other traveling bandleaders had long been accustomed to do. On this particular occasion, Goodman extended the courtesy to his canary: Peggy Lee rode with her boss and his other company. Unfortunately, Richmond explains, "the car broke down. Efforts to charter a plane proved futile, and Benny ended up hiring a private sleeping car to attach to a train." A very happy Lee was assigned a separate, exclusive berth. Hence the young singer's traveling experience ended up being an exceptionally comfortable one. It was her very first trek outside of the United States, and very possibly her first road trip as the band's vocalist, too. Ensuing trips would prove far less comfortable.

As was the case for any vocalist hired by a nationally famous big band, traveling became a significant part of Peggy Lee's job with The Benny Goodman Orchestra. "They would just tell me when the bus was leaving," Lee explained in her autobiography, "and I would pack my laundry -- damp or dry -- and hope I wouldn't catch a cold because of my wet hair ..." Traveling was often undertaken overnight, sleep during the day. The means of transportation varied. "We rode in buses and trains and occasionally planes;" she reminisced in 1974; "oh, I would've rather walked." In the bus, "Mel Powell and I would ride together ... and sing," she further wrote in her autobiography. "[H]e'd do the brass parts sometimes and I'd sing the reeds, or vice-versa, to things like Down South Camp Meetin' and Stealin' Apples. I knew the parts from listening on the stand every night."

Peggy Lee remembered the period following the engagement at the Hotel Sherman as one in which she and the band were "going on one-nighters in all kinds of weather." If her recollection was accurate, then the trip to Canada must have started off the period in question. On their way back, the band might have played at various local venues along the road. Unfortunately, there is no documentation about any such one nighters. We only know that, in early September, Goodman performed as a guest soloist with the Dayton Symphony Orchestra. It could be speculated that the full band was in town as well, and that they did some one nighters in Dayton and other Ohio cities. Dates in neighboring states, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, would not be out of the question -- and neither would be states farther away. If booked, the band would do the necessary traveling by train, bus, or plane.

(The 1993 Columbia Music VHS/DVD Benny Goodman; Adventures In The Kingdom Of Swing contains a few seconds of what I originally assumed to be footage from this traveling period. Sid Catlett, Peggy Lee, Vido Musso, Mel Powell, Cootie Williams, and a few other bandmembers are caught on reel, laughing, eating, and cavorting by a wooded area. The narration of the documentary Adventures In The Kingdom Of Swing gives no specifics or explanation of the footage; instead, it makes silent use of its visuals to exemplify the band's traveling travails. To my mind, the scenario suggested that the band, on their way from or to a gig, had made a brief stop on the road, primarily to eat. The combined presence of Catlett and Lee made clear to me that its date had to be circumscribed to somewhere between the second half of August and the middle of October 1941. Thanks to Goodman expert David Jessup, I know now that the footage indeed dates from September 1941, but the scenery is a housewarming party at Pound Ridge. Goodman had just bought a house in New Canaan, and thankfully Vido Musso preserved the memories of the housewarming by filming parts of it in two 16 mm home movie reels. In conclusion, the footage does not catch the band during one of their road trips, as I had assumed, but it does roughly fall within the period under discussion.)

In her autobiography, Peggy Lee does refer to a second traveling period, too: "[a]fter the first New Yorker engagement [i.e., after March 12, 1942], the band went out for a string of one-nighters, Mel Powell and I again singing brass and reed parts on the bus, this time to Clarinet a la King." As will be shown in another section below, this second span of traveling is well documented. Among the additional recollections that fall within the same time frame, there is the following anecdote, told by Lee: "[One] night Benny and I took the plane to our next stop, a bumpy prop flight. Everyone on the plane (except Benny and I) was sick to our stomachs. Lots of those bags passed around. At one point Benny leaned over to me and said, you okay, kid? and I, tightlipped, nodded that I was. What a liar! When we finally landed, there was a limo waiting, but neither Benny nor I knew where we were going. Fortunately, the driver remembered seeing an advertisement about where we were playing. Benny was always preoccupied, but there was something lovable about him, a little like the absent-minded professor ..."

Quoted at length in Lee's autobiography, pianist Mel Powell similarly makes mention of a time in which "we were doing all-nighters all over the country." He adds: "The band was very successful, and we chartered trains to travel around ... [Once] we were in Pittsburgh -- next stop St. Louis. We had finished the date early. It was about eleven o'clock [A.M.], and we had the luxury of a little time, because we weren't due to leave until 2:00 A.M. ..." The pianist was almost certainly writing about the band's spring 1942 tour, which would have been Peggy Lee's second traveling period with the ensemble. (They are known to have played in Pittsburgh on January 10, 1942, and again on May 15, 1942.)

The travails undergone by traveling bands are vividly pictured by Lee biographer Peter Richmond (whose description seems to be drawn mostly from the aforementioned VHS/DVD): "In April 1942, the band hit the road -- and the road hit back. Even by the standards of the time, their wanderings were astounding and exhausting ... By one account, they slept under a total of seventy-three different roofs in the next four months. It wasn't unusual for Benny's outfit to ride the bus hundreds of miles overnight ... [Peggy Lee] was one of the boys. She carried her own bags and relieved herself in the woods ... A typical three-day jaunt might take them from a club in Jersey to Rock Mount, North Carolina, and back to Pottstown, Pennsylvania, on a third leg for a show the very next night. They drove all night after each gig, checking in to hotels in the morning, checking out that same day ... "

Of course, it was not all traveling all the time. Generally, bands of the swing era held on to a seasonal schedule: they tended to accept long-term bookings at metropolitan hotels or ballrooms during the wintry months, waiting until the summery days to go out on one nighters all over the country. As the New Jersey and New York City engagements to be discussed below will amply demonstrate, The Benny Goodman Orchestra indeed remained stationed at certain venues for extended periods of non-summer time. (That having been said, we must also qualify the extent to which a nationally known orchestra such as the Goodman orchestra ever remained "stationary." If there was financially remunerative demand, bandleaders and their managers were probably more than willing to book the bands most everywhere at any time of the year. Within the the two periods that Peggy Lee spent with the orchestra in New York City, there are a few indicators of concurrent dates performed in relatively faraway locations, such as Bridgeport, Connecticut.)


Photos: (3) A view of the 2012 Canadian National Exhibition and (1) a 1940 postcard showing the aforementioned bandshell. (2) Front cover of the VHS/DVD release Benny Goodman; Adventures In The Kingdom Of Swing, which features footage of the band on the road, during the period under discussion. Peggy Lee's vocals of "Where Or When" and "Why Don't You Do Right?" are also heard -- the former as audio introducing the documentary, the latter in footage from the 1943 movie Stage Door Canteen.





III. NEW JERSEY: AT FRANK DAILEY'S MEADOWBROOK








Benny Goodman's next engagement took his orchestra to Newark, New Jersey. Therein, they took residence at Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook for about a month -- from September 11 (or, otherwise, earlier in September) to October 8, 1941. About 20 Meadowbrook dates are extant. Number of Peggy Lee vocals that are part of the 20 dates: 10.

Located about 10 miles from New York, The Meadowbrook was a nationally famous hot spot for the big bands of the swing era. Back in the 1920s, the 10 acres of property that the Meadowbrook would eventually occupy had been turned into a a supper club called The Castle Terrace. The club closed and subsequently reopened as the Royal Pavilion, a Chinese restaurant, only to close again. In 1931, the premises were purchased by various members of The Meadowbrook Syncopators, a regional band that had grown tired of traveling. For any music enthusiast, the appeal of the physical property would have stemmed from the one hundred by forty feet of dance floor, capable of accommodating up to fourteen hundred dancers -- not to say anything of the additional outdoor facilities. Once it came into the possession of The Meadowbrook Syncopators, the property was promptly re-named after the group, whose leader was Frank Dailey, and it continued to serve as both restaurant and ballroom. Around 1935, Dailey bought out the other partners, proceeded to remodel the place, and pointedly altered the venue's name to Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook.

In his book Lonesome Roads And Streets of Dreams: Place, Mobility, And Race In Jazz Of The 1930s And 40's, Andrew S. Berish points to the setup of a "dedicated, glassed-in state-of-the-art radio remote and recording studio" as key to Dailey's success. "It made the Meadowbrook" Berish continues, "economically competitive with the big New York hotels that offered similarly long engagements with radio remotes." It soon became clear that the place met the approval of radio networks and touring big bands. As its many on-site remotes kept being broadcast from coast to coast, the Meadowbrook became a fabled, legendary spot among swing dancers all over the nation. Such broadcasts naturally started with the master of ceremonies' announcement, which still remains memorable to big band fans of a certain age: "Coming to you from Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook on Route 23, just off the Pompton Turnpike in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, we present ..." The broadcasts' popularity even led to the creation of a hit tune, "Pompton Turnpike," named in honor of the roadway nearby. (Claims that The Meadowbrook was the first venue to broadcast dance music nationwide seem to be off the mark, however.)

For the duration of the swing era, the Meadowbrook remained very popular with dance audiences; afterwards, its decline in popularity led to Dailey's bankruptcy and to the hall's closure in 1949. A 1953 attempt at transitioning from radio sensation to televised smash --Music At The Meadowbrook, on ABC-- met no lasting success. (Anecdotal comments on the web, bestowing on this show the honor of having been "the first national telecast of dance music" might be off the mark -- as is more certainly the case with a parallel claim, made in the previous paragraph.) Subsequently, The Meadowbrook transformed itself with the times, serving as a banquet hall in the 1950s, a dinner theater starting in 1959, and afterwards a disco, rock, and big band nostalgia venue. It closed in 1984. In more recent times, the building became the property of a Macedonian Orthodox church, as indicated in the captions below.

Photos: (1) A postcard from around 1935, showing Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook as it looked in its heyday and (2) a photo from around 2008, after the current owner, the Saints Kiril and Medotij Macedonian Orthodox Church, renovated the exterior. Reports about the interior are a bit conflicting; the famous hall might or might have not changed much. (3) The hall, in an undated photo and (4) as it looked around 1959, when it became a banquet room. (5) Frank Dailey, back when he was a regional bandleader and his orchestra was actively recording for various national labels. (6) A page from a menu, announcing The Benny Goodman Orchestra's return to the premises -- without Peggy Lee, by that time. (8) A souvenir from The Meadowbrook, autographed by Louis Prima, one of the many famous acts that it featured over the years. (7 & 9) The bands of Tommy Dorsey and Stan Kenton, caught in the act of playing at Dailey's Meadowbrook, the former in 1939, the latter in or around July 1942.



Date: September 11, 1941; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, 1050 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Skip Martin, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Marty Blitz (b), Mel Powell (p), Sid Catlett (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show When The Sun Comes Out - 3:56(Ted Koehler, Harold Arlen) / arr: Eddie Sauter
Vintage Jazz Classics Collectors' Label CDVjc 1032 — [Benny Goodman] "Roll 'Em!"   (1991)
Honeysuckle Rose Collectors' Label LPHr 5004/5005 — [Benny Goodman] Benny And Sid "Roll 'Em"   

Performance

1. "When The Sun Comes Out"
"When The Sun Comes Out" had been recorded by The Benny Goodman Orchestra on June 4, 1941 -- two months before Peggy Lee joined the ensemble. At that earlier time, the vocal had been sung by Helen Forrest, with an arrangement that Eddie Sauter had tailored for her. Four months later, Peggy Lee had to face the expectations of her boss and the band's audience: she learned and sang the number in Forrest's key.


Date: September 13, 1941; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, 1050 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Skip Martin, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Marty Blitz (b), Mel Powell (p), Sid Catlett (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show It's So Peaceful In The Country(Alec Wilder)
unissued

Audio Source

1. Matinee At The Meadowbrook
This performance of "It's So Peaceful In The Country" survives as part of an hour-long CBS radio show called Matinee At The Meadowbrook. The show was broadcast on Saturdays, live from the titular country club venue. From its inception in January 18, 1941 until March 22 of the same year, Matinee At The Meadowbrook aired at 4:00 p.m. It moved to 5:00 p.m. during its second installment, which began on May 24 and concluded on December 1, 1941. (It was back to 4:00 p.m. in 1942.) The Meadowbrook was a very popular hangout, and probably no more so than on Saturdays, when dance audiences reaching 2,000 individuals are estimated to have attended.

This Saturday, September 13, 1941 date marked the first appearance of The Benny Goodman Orchestra on Matinee At The Meadowbrook. (For another number that Peggy Lee might have performed on the same date, see next entry.) According to Benny Goodman bio-discographer Russ Connor, the shows included comedy (Eddie Mayhoff, among others), sports (Mel Allen, others) and, of course, the band then in residence. (As time went by, solo-billed vocalists became main attractions, too.) During the May through December 1941 period, John Tillman served as the main host and Art Carney as the in-house comedian.

After 1942, Matinee At The Meadowbrook seems to have had a more sporadic broadcasting history, coming and going off the air repeatedly. The full history of the show is not fully clear to me; some sources point to episodes broadcast as late as 1946. In the early 1950s, an attempt at a TV edition did not prove long-lasting.


Date: September 13 or 20, 1941; Possibly Broadcast By CBS
Location: Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, 1050 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Skip Martin, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Marty Blitz (b), Mel Powell (p), Sid Catlett (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire(Bennie Benjamin, Eddie Durham, Eddie Seiler, Sol Marcus)
unissued

Dating And Audio Source

1. Matinee At The Meadowbrook
2. September 11 Or September 20, 1941
This version of "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" is among various live Benny Goodman numbers for which both the performing date and the broadcasting source remain in doubt. The two main possible dates are September the 13th and September the 20th, both being Saturdays on which CBS aired its regularly scheduled Matinee At The Meadowbrook shows. The reason for doubt: these numbers were originally preserved on lacquers that apparently list the date as September 13/20, 1941. Goodman discographer Russ Connor leans toward September the 13th as the likelier date for these performances. He does not discard, however, other logical alternatives: these acetates could contain numbers from both dates, or even from dates between the 13th and the 20th. (Note that Matinee At The Meadowbrook aired on Saturdays. If it turns out that these performances fall between the two dates, then Matinee At The Meadowbrook would not be their broadcast source.)

Separately from "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" and the other (non-Lee) performances whose date is in doubt, there are also songs which are known to definitely date from September 11, and songs that are known to definitely date from September 20. As already shown above, the September 13 batch includes "It's So Peaceful In The Country," and also various instrumentals. As will be shown below, the September 20 batch includes a different performance of "It's So Peaceful In The Country," along with a Tommy Taylor vocal and various instrumentals.


Date: September 16, 1941; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, 1050 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Skip Martin, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Marty Blitz (b), Mel Powell (p), Sid Catlett (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - 3:52(Otto Harbach, Jerome Kern) / arr: Eddie Sauter
Honeysuckle Rose Collectors' Label LPHr 5004/5005 — [Benny Goodman] Benny And Sid "Roll 'Em"   
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Let's Do It(Cole Porter) / arr: Mel Powell
unissued

Performances

1. Preservation
This date's version of "Let's Do It" was not preserved in its entirety.


Date: September 17, 1941; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, 1050 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Skip Martin, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Marty Blitz (b), Mel Powell (p), Sid Catlett (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I See A Million People(Una Mae Carlisle, Robert Sour) / arr: Eddie Sauter
unissued



Date: September 20, 1941; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, 1050 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Skip Martin, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Marty Blitz (b), Mel Powell (p), Sid Catlett (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show It's So Peaceful In The Country(Alec Wilder)
Joyce Record Club Collectors' Label LP1056 — [Benny Goodman] One Night Stand With Benny Goodman   
Joyce Record Club Collectors' Label LP1097 — [Benny Goodman] One Night Stand With Benny Goodman At The Meadowbrook   

Audio Sources

1. Matinee At The Meadowbrook
This performance of "It's So Peaceful In The Country" was preserved as part of a Matinee At The Meadowbook radio broadcast. For general commentary about the show, see notes under the September 13, 1941 note. See also note that follows it, under the date labeled September 13 or 20, 1941.


Date: September 27, 1941; Partially Broadcast On CBS Radio Network
Location: Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, 1050 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Skip Martin, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Morty Stuhlmaker (b), Mel Powell (p), Sid Catlett (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show That's The Way It Goes(Sid Robin, Alec Wilder) / arr: Eddie Sauter
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good(Duke Ellington, Paul Francis Webster) / arr: Eddie Sauter
Both titles unissued.

Audio Source

1. Matinee At The Meadowbrook
2. Sustaining Broadcast
Although Peggy Lee sang this entry's two numbers on the same day and the same venue, each has survived on a separate broadcast. This performance of "That's The Way It Goes" was preserved as part of a Matinee At The Meadowbook episode on CBS. The performance of "I Got It Bad" is extant as part of a sustaining broadcast; it is not known which network aired it.


Performances

1. Preservation
Unfortunately, this date's version of "That's The Way It Goes" was not preserved in its entirety.

2. Preservation: "I Got It Bad" (September 28, 1941)
Various instrumental numbers performed on Sunday the 28th (the date that follows the one under discussion) have survived, but none of Peggy Lee's vocals. Among the survivors are a few bars of "I Got It Bad." Were more than those few bars extant, a vocalization by Peggy Lee would have probably been heard, too.


Date: October 4, 1941; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, 1050 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Skip Martin, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Morty Stuhlmaker (b), Mel Powell (p), Sid Catlett (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Soft As Spring(Alec Wilder) / arr: Eddie Sauter
Sunbeam Collectors' Label LPSb 158 — [Benny Goodman] Benny Goodman And His Orchestra, 1941-42   (1984)

Audio Sources

1. Matinee At The Meadowbook
This performance of "Soft As Spring" was preserved as part of a broadcast of the radio show Matinee At The Meadowbook.




IV. NEW YORK: AT THE NEW YORKER'S TERRACE ROOM






Having finished their month-long engagement at Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook on October 8, 1941, The Benny Goodman Orchestra moved on to their next set of appearances, at the New Yorker Hotel in the Big Apple. According to biographer Ross Firestone, "the Hotel New Yorker was an especially important engagement for Benny ... [T]his was his first extended appearance in New York since he had re-formed the band exactly one year earlier. Though he had done well at the Sherman in Chicago and the Meadowbrook in New Jersey, the real test of his current drawing power would be what happened when he returned to Manhattan. The prospects were not all that encouraging. Swing bands were not normally booked into the hotel's Terrace Room. Its patrons were more accustomed to straight commercial dance orchestras ..."

Initially, the press was not particularly enthused. Reviewing one of the earliest appearances, Variety voiced excepticism and some degree of disappointment: "Benny Goodman located in the New Yorker's Terrace Room is an unusual booking. Terrace niche is not exactly a swing band hangout normally ... its patronage largely leans toward sweeter rhythms ... This date, then, is a test for Goodman, who hasn't located in New York for a couple years. It bolls down to whether he can softpedal his usual style enough so as not to make an evening at the spot an ear-drum risk. Though the band was using gentler rhythms when caught they were not properly played. Ballads had an undercurrent of definite rhythm that made them sound like hop pieces toned down. Only when the beat section is erased almost entirely and Goodman gets off on sensitive, tasty, soft clarinet solos 'is there any real smoothness ..." The band was acknowledged as being "solid" but "not comparable" to those which Goodman had led earlier. And, while Tommy Taylor's singing was rated as "fine," the warbling of "new vocalist" Peggy Lee was unequivocally dismissed with the curt comment that she didn't "belong." (October 15, 1942 issue). Similarly, Billboard's reviewer Humphrey would find fault with the band's vocal roster. In a general review of the band that was published in the magazine's November 8 issue (but which might be referring to one or more concerts attended in October, at or near the start of the engagement), the reviewer declares that "Tommy Taylor has an okay voice, but doesn't do too much with it when he pipes." As for Lee's singing during the night(s) that he attended, it was Humprey's opinion that she "has just one style of treatment for her songs -- a slow, dreamy delivery which fits some of the ballads better than others."

At a much later time (1971), reviewer George Simon reminisced about Lee's demeanor during her early days at the New Yorker: "I can still see Peggy on the stand, casting nervous glances at Benny, to make sure she was doing right. Lovely lass ... vague and sensitive and very bright." (Simon would date Lee for a brief while.) The young singer was also awestruck at the sight of the place where she was now finding herself working. Her autobiography conveys this sense of awe. She describes the hotel as luxurious and busy, with "people whipping and whirling around through the revolving doors ... The [Terrace] room was full of stars ... Franchot Tone danced by with Joan Crawford. Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne chatted at their table with Katharine Cornell. Gary Cooper was joking with Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and Cole Porter. Every night the room was charged with electricity."

Firestone voices a generally held opinion about Lee's progress from the time she started with the band at the Sherman to her arrival at the New Yorker. While at the Sherman and the Meadowbrook (brand new to the band, nervous, and working with material tailored for her predecessor), Lee had sounded "strained and uncentered and very unsure of herself." At that time, she was brand new to the band, terminally nervous, and working with material tailored for her predecessor. But, asserts Firestone, "not too long after Benny opened at the New Yorker she began to settle down."

Not too long after the opening at the New Yorker, something else also began to happen: Lee, Goodman, and the band started to beat their naysayers' objections, bringing even the harshest critics to their side. Talent and reputation doubtlessly contributed to the band's lasting success at the posh, upscale venue. Then there was the overtly enthusiastic response from the paying audience. The gig's success amidst the target clientele could not be denied, and must have accelerated the critics' change of tune. "Business started out strong and continued that way week after week," Firestone declares in his biography of Goodman. "T]he five months Benny spent there certainly confirmed that he was still very much a musical force to be reckoned with and put an end to the speculation that both he and the sort of music he played were on the way out."

The bandleader's ability to be musically adaptable must have played a major role in the critical turnaround. After initial write-ups such as the one quoted above, critics noticed a change of musical approach on the part of the bandleader and his company. Witness, for instance, George T. Simon's review of the dates that he attended in November and December of 1941. Simon expressed approval and also a bit of surprise at the band's production of "wonderful, soft, mellow" moods," as opposed to the hot swing beat for which it had been celebrated in earlier periods. Showing his willingness to stay current, a sly Goodman had furthermore embraced what Firestone and other fans of the big band era have classified, somewhat dismissively, as "the growing taste for pop singers doing current commercial tunes of no particular distinction." A fair share of the tunes that were assigned to canary Peggy Lee and newly recruited crooner Art London could indeed be said to fall under such category.

Concurrently, the press began to point out a noticeable improvement on Lee's vocals, both live and on record, and continued to express the same opinion for months on end. George Simon is worth quoting in this regard as well. While he was but one of the various press reviewers who expressed their approval, this critic was the one who best summarized the singer's progress: "Benny's ballad stock is further enhanced by two fine vocalists. Peggy Lee, who wasn't too impressive till she got over the shock of finding herself with Benny's band, is slowly turning into one of the great singers in the field. The lass has a grand flair for phrasing -- listen to her on those last sets at night, when the band's just noodling behind her (at which time, thanks to Benny's and McGarity's solos, it creates its most mellow moods) and when there aren't any complicated backgrounds to sing against, and you'll get the idea. That she gets a fine beat, that she sings in tune, and that she's awfully good-looking are more self-evident."

Peggy Lee thus deserves her share of credit for the high success of Goodman's momentous engagement in the Big Apple. Both vocally and visually, she radiated softness and mellowness -- traits that perfectly suited the atmosphere of these dates high on the Terrace Room of the New Yorker Hotel. Insofar as it further attracted the crowds, her incipient popularity must also be factored in. She went on to score three hits during the period that the orchestra played at the New Yorker, including a chart-topper. The latter was "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place," which was being performed at the New Yorker by the second month of the engagement, and would chart during the engagement's last days.

A bona fide success with the venue's clientele, Goodman and company wounded up playing at the mid-town Manhattan hotel for an unusually long period: five months (from October 21 to March 12). During this extended stay in the city, the bandmembers rented rooms at the Forrest Hotel (224 West 49th Street), Peggy Lee at the more proper yet also more distant Victoria Hotel (Fifth Avenue and 27th Street). The bandleader's residence of choice is not known to me, but according to Ross Firestone (who was in turn quoting Mel Powell), the bandleader's wealthy fiancée, Alice Hammond, "was always at the New Yorker, and they were staying together."

A relatively large number of broadcasts from this engagement have survived: well over 50, with a total of 34 Peggy Lee performances amidst them. (As will be discussed further down in this page, the band would come back to this venue in October of 1943, staying for another extended period. From that second period, about 10 additional broadcasts are extant, and there are 15 Peggy Lee vocals amidst them. Hence her output of extant performances from the New Yorker comes to a total of nearly 50.)


Photos: (1 & 2) The New Yorker Hotel seen as part of the Manhattan skyline, in undated pictures that are likely to be from the 1990s or early 2000s. Clearly visible is the famous New Yorker sign or banner, said to be the largest of its kind and the highest off the ground in North America. It was actually installed in the same year in which Peggy Lee made her first appearances there -- i.e., 1941. For most of its existence, the banner's letters have been lighted red, but from 1967 to around 2005, the sign went dark, as shown in these photos. In images #4, #5, and #6, the Terrace Room's role as a place for dining and dancing is on display. Images #4 and #5 should make apparent the stage's location, at the very end of the long hall.

This hotel was barely a decade old when Peggy Lee performed at its Terrace Room. After its opening in 1930, the New Yorker claimed the crown as Manhattan's tallest and most prestigious hotel. It remained a prestigious location from the 1930s though part of the 1950s, frequented or inhabited as it was not only by the resident bands and singers of note but also by a wide variety of personalities, from Muhammad Ali and Joan Crawford to Joe DiMaggio and Fidel Castro.

Interestingly, early advertisements made a point of highlighting the radio broadcasting amenities at the hotel. A four-station radio was said to be available in every room of the hotel's 43 floors. Such promotional literature would be considerably amplified by 1938: "a quarter of a million-dollar radio system gives you entertainment and diversion in your room at the turn of a dial. The elaborate receiving apparatus, containing seventy-two tubes, gives you a choice of four programs. Special apparatus enables us to bring you programs from foreign countries. Twenty-five miles of wires carry the programs to the 2500 loudspeakers in the rooms and to the amplifiers in the ballrooms, private dining salons and other public rooms. The volume of sound from the speakers is automatically controlled to prevent guests from being annoyed by noise."

Easy access to music and radio programming must have been among the clientele's paramount expectations. The same 1938 brochure enthuses that "world-famous orchestras interpret the syncopated rhythms of today nightly through the dinner hour and during supper in the Terrace Restaurant, except Sunday when there is dancing only at dinner. There is no cover at dinner; after ten o'clock at night it is one dollar except on Saturdays and holidays when it is two. A concert orchestra plays during luncheon." Continues the brochure: "the season is the only limit on your appetite in the Terrace Restaurant, known in millions of homes throughout the United States through the four-nights-a-week broadcasts over the nation-wide chains of the National Broadcasting Company. Its simple elegance makes it outstanding among dining salons ..."

Three decades after its foundation, the hotel still enjoyed fame and cache. Its convenient location right across the Pennsylvania Station could not be beat (not at least until 1963, when the station was demolished), and even afterwards it still had plenty of additional reasons to brag about. Case in point: the New Yorker had its own hospital, with operating rooms located inside the building.

But, already in the 1950s, competition and a depressed economy had begun to send the hotel's ownership into a downward spiral, which would continue until its closure in 1972. The likes of the Waldorf-Astoria (opening: 1961) and the New York Hilton Midtown (opening: 1963) would displace it, appropriating for themselves the superlative claims that it had once held (e.g., tallest hotel, most prestigious hotel). Bought by the Unification Church Of The United States in 1976, the building now serves as that congregation's national headquarters. At the church's behest, a large portion of the facility has actually been functioning as a hotel since 1994.


Photos (continued): The undated souvenir seen in image #3 suggests that, for some of the hotel's patrons, The Benny Goodman Orchestra had to take a backseat to an even more popular attraction: iceskating spectacles. Such spectacles would lead to a slight alteration of the venue's name, from the Terrace Room to the Ice Terrace Room. In her autobiography, Peggy Lee conjures "the magic of walking into the Terrace Room when the sparkling Ice Show was finished and sitting on the same stage with Benny Goodman." Back then, ice skating spectacles were actually in vogue in many hotels across the nation, including the aforementioned Hotel Sherman. For an extensive and excellent account of theatrical skating, consult Roy Blakey's IceStage Archive, which is the source of the following quote: "Ice stages for hotel and nightclub shows, known as tanks, were generally only 20 ft. X 20 ft.. ... The 45 to 60 minute performances, sometimes four a day, featured lively solos and romantic pair skating routines, 4 to 6 pretty chorus girls, a wacky comedian, and perhaps a skating juggler or magician. Everyone filled the small rink to swirl, spin, and dance in a colorful grand finale. After the performance a dance floor electronically moved out over the ice (or the rink disappeared under the bandstand) and the live show band - sometimes Benny Goodman or Woody Herman - played for the elegantly dressed audience to dance." In its review of the fall of 1941 bill, Variety identifies the show's iceskating stars as Adele Inge, Ronny Roberts, and the pair of Bill and Betty Wade. Master of ceremonies Bob Russell also contributed his own vocals to the proceedings. During the following fall, when the Goodman orchestra returned to the hotel along with Lee, Variety makes approving mention of icekaters Audrey Miller. Ronny Roberts, George Banyas, Bisselle and Farley. Singled out for praise is producer Don Arden, who had re-devised the ice show as an Arabian Nights extravaganza, enlisting Russell as the rubber of the show's lamp.


Date: October 22, 1941; Broadcast On The NBC Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Jules "Julie" Schwartz (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I See A Million People(Una Mae Carlisle, Robert Sour) / arr: Eddie Sauter
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire(Bennie Benjamin, Eddie Durham, Eddie Seiler, Sol Marcus)
Both titles on: Jazz Heritage Society/Amerco CD5262997 — [Benny Goodman] NBC Broadcast Recordings, 1936-1943 (The Yale University Music Library Series, Volumes 11 & 12)   (2007)
Nimbus Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 2734/2735 — [Benny Goodman] NBC Broadcast Recordings, 1936-1943 (Yale University Archives, Volume 5)   (2010)




Photos

Three pictures of Peggy Lee, all of them dating from 1941. The second is actually a photocopy from a newspaper published on December 26, 1941. It advertises the Goodman Orchestra's ongoing engagement at the New Yorker.


Date: October 26, 1941; Broadcast On The NBC Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Jules "Julie" Schwartz (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show The Shrine Of St. Cecilia(Carroll Loveday, Nils Johan Perne aka Jokern) / arr: Eddie Sauter
Sunbeam Collectors' Label LPSb 158 — [Benny Goodman] Benny Goodman And His Orchestra, 1941-42   (1984)

Audio Sources

1. Fitch Bandwagon
This performance of "The Shrine of St. Cecilia" was preserved as part of an episode of Fitch Bandwagon. Airing on NBC every Sunday at 7:30 p.m., that radio show had the advantage of being sandwiched between programs by the immensely popular Jack Benny and the also popular Ed Bergen. Fitch Bandwagon was primarily a musical variety show, though with an emphasis on the big bands. During its last four years, however, comedy sketches became as prevalent as the music, and the musical guests were no longer orchestras exclusively, but also, and often, solo singers. Fitch Bandwagon aired for ten years (1938 to 1948).


Date: October 27, 1941; Broadcast On Radio, Network Unknown
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Jules "Julie" Schwartz (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show The Man I Love(George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) / arr: Eddie Sauter
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good(Duke Ellington, Paul Francis Webster) / arr: Eddie Sauter
Both titles unissued.



Date: November 1, 1941; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Jules "Julie" Schwartz (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show That Did It, Marie(Irene Higginbotham, Fred Meadows) / arr: Mel Powell
Sunbeam Collectors' Label LPSb 158 — [Benny Goodman] Benny Goodman And His Orchestra, 1941-42   (1984)



Date: November 7, 1941; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Jules "Julie" Schwartz (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show More Than You Know(Billy Rose, Edward Eliscu, Vincent Youmans) / arr: Eddie Sauter
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Why Don't We Do This More Often?(Charles Newman, Allie Wrubel)
Both titles unissued.

Performances

1. Preservation: "Why Don't We Do This More Often?"
Unfortunately, Peggy Lee's only extant rendition of this slightly suggestive number has not survived in its entirety.

2. Extant Repertoire By The Orchestra
Curious readers might want to know more about the selections heard in the remotes under scrutiny. From this date's extant broadcast, the surviving set of performances runs as follows:

"More That You Know" - vocal by Peggy Lee
"If I Had You" - instrumental by the Goodman Sextet
"Sing, Sing, Sing" - instrumental by the Goodman Orchestra
"Why Don't You Do This More Often?" - vocal by Peggy Lee
"A S-m-o-o-t-h One" - instrumental by the Goodman Orchestra


Date: November 13, 1941; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Jules "Julie" Schwartz (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Somebody Else Is Taking My Place(Bob Ellsworth, Dick Howard, Russ Morgan) / arr: Mel Powell
unissued

Crossreferences

1. Recording Session
On this day (November 13, 1941), the Benny Goodman not only performed at the Terrace Room but also went into Liederkranz Hall (at 58th street) to do a full session of Peggy Lee vocals. The songs recorded in the studio were "That Did It, Marie," "How Long Has This Been Going On?," "Somebody Nobody Loves," and their soon-to-be top hit "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place," which is also extant in its version from this broadcast.


Date: November 14, 1941; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Jules "Julie" Schwartz (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Let's Do It(Cole Porter) / arr: Mel Powell
unissued

Sources

1. Spotlight Bands
A radio show sponsored by Coca Cola, Spotlight Bands made its debut on November 3, 1941. It was more formally known as The Victory Parade Of Spotlight Bands. "Tonight and every night, Monday through Saturday," the show's announcer would often declare in his opening bid, "the Coca Cola company sends America's favorite bands to our fighters and workers all over the country. Every night we play for the men and women who work and fight for victory every day -- the men and women who speed victory on its way." Each show lasted 15 minutes, except for the Saturday editions, during which 30 minutes were spent on the so-called Band of the Week. Reputed to have been the most popular big band music program ever, Spotlight Bands had a five-year run and was re-broadcast by the Armed Forces Radio.

Every single episode was exclusively dedicated to one band. According to discographer Russ Connor, the show cast its spotlight on Benny Goodman And His Orchestra 24 times. Their first appearance, on November 14, 1941, aired merely 11 days after the program's debut date, and included the above-entered Peggy Lee vocal on "Let's Do It," which was heard right after the band's opening theme ("Let's Dance"). The other numbers played by the band were "One O'Clock Jump" and Goodman's closing theme ("Goodbye").


Date: November 22, 1941; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Jules "Julie" Schwartz (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee, Art London aka Art Lund (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Winter Weather(Ted Shapiro) / arr: Mel Powell
unissued



Photos

Images of The Benny Goodman Orchestra, performing at a venue which, though unidentified in my sources, corresponds with the stage of the New Yorker Hotel's Terrace Room. The same photo is actually seen in both images. The second image has been cropped to highlight the presence of vocalists Peggy Lee and Art London, blissfully sitting in front of Mel Powell's piano. The other two gentlemen seen in the cropped version may be the master of ceremonies and/or the CBS engineer(s) who were in charge of the radio broadcast.

The back of this photograph bears the date December 1, 1942. Judging from the personnel on sight, the photo's actual date is likelier to fall between November 16 and November 26. For one, there is Art London, sitting, as already indicated, next to Lee. According to discographer Russ Connor, "[p]recisely when Art London joined the band is not known, but program logs prior to the 16th do not include him, and [an extant November 16] broadcast ... may mark his very first day." My November 26 cut date relies on the presence of both Billy Butterfield (second of the three trumpet players) and Julie Schwartz (fourth of the sax players) and the absence of Sol Kane. Saxophonist Kane's first known appearance with the band was on Goodman's November 27 recording session. As for Butterfield and Schwartz, they had been present for the orchestra's October sessions, and might be presumed to have been around until mid-November. But neither is listed in the aforementioned November 27 date, nor in subsequent (December, January) recording sessions.


Date: November 29, 1941; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, Joe Ferrante, James "Jimmy" Maxwell (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Ev'rything I Love(Cole Porter) / arr: Eddie Sauter
unissued



Date: December 2, 1941; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, Joe Ferrante, James "Jimmy" Maxwell (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show How Long Has This Been Going On?(George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) / arr: Mel Powell
unissued

Performances

1. Preservation: "I See A Million People"
A few bars from "I See A Million People" were also picked up at the outset of this sustaining broadcast.


Date: December 5, 1941; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, Joe Ferrante, James "Jimmy" Maxwell (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Ev'rything I Love(Cole Porter) / arr: Eddie Sauter
unissued

Audio Sources

1. Spotlight Bands
As with the above-listed performance from November 14, 1941, this version of "Ev'rything I Love" has survived thanks to its broadcasting in an episode of Spotlight Bands, on the Mutual network. Unfortunately, the performance was not preserved in its entirety.


Date: December 6, 1941; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, Joe Ferrante, James "Jimmy" Maxwell (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Ev'rything I Love(Cole Porter) / arr: Eddie Sauter
unissued

Performances

1. "Ev'rything I Love"
This date's version of "Ev'rtything I Love" was not preserved in its entirety.


Historical Notes: World War II

1. December 7, 1941
In her autobiography, Peggy Lee writes the following: "We were sitting in a cafe in Passaic, New Jersey, on Sunday, December 7. Well, you all know what we heard from President Roosevelt. We are at war. A shudder went through everyone, and it was really hard to go back to the theather and carry on as though everything were normal." This recollection conveys the highly charged atmosphere that such grave news elicited. For the specific purposes of this discography, the recollection also happens to add to the list of reported concert dates. On December 7, The Benny Goodman Orchestra and Peggy Lee must have been playing at a town theater in New Jersey (perhaps Passaic's Center Theatre, where they would come back to perform on April 2, 1942).

2. War Bond Shows And Benefits
Lee's autobiography also makes reference to bond shows whose exact dates remain unknown, but which obviously dated from no earlier than December 1941: "We did begin doing bond show after bond show - mostly in Times Square between regular shows, and things became more and more hectic." In a March 4, 1942 letter sent to a friend (quoted by Peggy Lee biographer Peter Richmond), she also writes about "lots of benefits and concerts, in addition to our regular shows." Presumably, the so-called regular shows were the ones done at the Hotel New Yorker. Lee also makes passing mention of performances at hospitals during this wartime period.


Date: December 9, 1941; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, Joe Ferrante, James "Jimmy" Maxwell (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Somebody Else Is Taking My Place(Bob Ellsworth, Dick Howard, Russ Morgan) / arr: Mel Powell
unissued



Date: Possibly December 1941; Broadcast On Two Networks
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra, The Benny Goodman Sextet (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee, Art London aka Art Lund (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Winter Weather(Ted Shapiro) / arr: Mel Powell
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show On The Sunny Side Of The Street(Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHugh, possibly Andy Razaf, possibly Thomas 'Fats' Waller) / arr: Mel Powell
Both titles unissued.

Audio Source

1. Airing Networks
"Winter Weather" is part of a batch of performances that were broadcast by the CBS radio network. "On The Sunny Side Of The Street" is, on the other hand, from a batch which was broadcast by the Mutual network. (Naturally, these batches' other numbers are instrumentals and vocals by the band's crooner, Art London.)


Dating

Although Goodman discographer Russ Connor gives a collective November/December 1941 to the performances under discussion, in the case of "On The Sunny Side Of The Street" it could be tentatively assumed that it dates from late December, because Lee and the band made a studio recording on December 24, 1941. "Winter Weather" (recorded on November 27, 1941) might date from December as well.


Personnel

1. "On The Sunny Side Of The Street"
"On The Sunny Side Of The Street" was performed as a sextet number, probably featuring clarinet, piano, bass, drum, guitar, trombone, and vocal. Along with a November 7 instrumental version of "It Had To Be You," this is one of the earliest surviving sextet numbers from these concert dates at the New Yorker. According to both discographer Russ Connor and biographer Ross Firestone, audiences at this venue were more accustomed to the playing of dance bands, a preference that might have led Goodman to forego of sextet features until the holiday period. Pianist Mel Powell told Firestone that "Benny did form a new sextet in October, but I think he used the group primarily for recordings." Indeed, the earliest sextet recording session from this period bears an October 28, 1941 date.

2. "Where On When"
Two sextet versions of "Where Or When" from these November/December 1941 broadcasts are also extant and listed by Connor in his bio-discography, but they seem to have been performed as instrumentals. (In other words, Connor's work does not given any indication that a vocal was part of these renditions.)

2. Bernie Privin
3. Joe Ferrante
The presence of Bernie Privin on trumpet should be deemed tentative. Knowing the exact date of these performances could make the identification less tentative. By December 10, Privin had replaced Joe Ferrante in the trumpet section.

4. Art London
Male vocalist Art London duets with Peggy Lee on "Winter Weather" only.


Date: January 1, 1942; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: New York, Venue Unknown

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall (tb), Lou McGarity (tb, v), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Blues In The Night(Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) / arr: Eddie Sauter
Sunbeam Collectors' Label LPSb 158 — [Benny Goodman] Benny Goodman And His Orchestra, 1941-42   (1984)

Personnel

1. Lou McGarity
The vocal for which trombonist Lou McGarity is co-credited consists, in his case, of yodeling only.


An Interlude

After this date, Goodman set out to do a solo concert tour that lasted until at least January 12. There is a small chance that the orchestra and the vocalists enjoyed some days off. If so, their vacation was short-lived (by no means lasting two weeks). The concert to be discussed next proves that they were present on at least one of the tour dates (January 6).

On January 15, the band went to the recording studio, and by January 17, they were back to performing live at the New Yorker.


Date: January 6, 1942
Location: Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin, Cootie Williams (t), Cutty Cutshall (tb), Lou McGarity (tb, v), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)


Occasion

As mentioned in the preceding notes, and further elaborated by premier bio-discographer Russ Connor, "Benny went on a solo tour the first two weeks of the new year, appearing as guest clarinetist with municipal symphony orchestras in cities in the eastern United States. He began in Cleveland, Ohio, on the 4th, with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Arthur Rodzinski conducting. Following were Pittsburgh, Pa. (6th), Youngstown, Ohio (7th), Toledo, Ohio (8th), Cincinnati, Ohio (9th), Washington (10th), and Dayton, Ohio (11th). he then returned to New York to resume his interrupted engagement in the Hotel New Yorker.

The January 6th concert was said to be in benefit of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The first half consisted of classical pieces performed by the symphony orchestra with Goodman as soloist. The second half featured Goodman's regular repertoire of swing and ballads, performed by the clarinetist with his own orchestra. I am not aware of any extant audio.


Personnel

I do not have full personnel for this Pittsburgh date. The names that are mentioned in the extant data (a trade review) are Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee, Mel Powell, and Cootie Williams. The rest of the personnel I listed should be deemed tentative, since I have merely transferred it from the preceding January 1, 1942 date.

Also, note that Cootie Williams is not listed as participating in any other Goodman concert date from early 1942. His presence on this Pittsburgh date is postulated by a Billboard reviewer, who claims that the trumpet played "Concert For Cootie" and "Deep River."

In Russ Connor's bio-discography Benny Goodman: Listen To His Legacy, the author states that Cootie Williams' year-long contract with Goodman had expired on October 31, 1941. Between November 1942 and January 1943, Connor's book does not list Williams on any of of Goodman's own concert dates & record sessions. Of course, Williams could have still been present, unbeknownst to Connor, especially if he was sitting in or playing on just a few days. It is equally possible the reviewer misidentified Williams, though his above-mentioned pinpointing of numbers played by Williams suggests otherwise to me.

Cootie Williams is listed as part of the two contemporaneous Metronome All-Star sessions on which Goodman took part (December 31, 1941, January 16, 1942). We can thus establish close proximity between the band leader and the trumpet player within the month in question. Their close proximity allows in turn for the possibility that Goodman or his manager asked and successfully recruited Williams to participate on some of Goodman's road dates.


Songs

In the words of the aforementioned Billboard reviewer: "Peggy Lee's singing , altho considered by some of the $3.30 customers as a breathing period for the band, revealed a chantress with audience understanding and a smile worth a fortune. Her Where Or When was plaintive, huskily dramatic. She managed to make innuendo suitable for both fraternity row and family-type houses with her version of Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Love."


Date: January 20, 1942; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall (tb), Lou McGarity (tb, v), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Blues In The Night(Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) / arr: Eddie Sauter
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show How Do You Do Without Me?(Joe Bushkin, John De Vries) / arr: Eddie Sauter
Both titles unissued.



Personnel

1. Lou McGarity
Trombonist Lou McGarity's vocal contribution to the band's arrangement of "Blues In The Night" is circumscribed to an extended, memorable yodel, heard in the middle of the number.


Photo

The Benny Goodman Orchestra and their canary Peggy Lee perform for the dancing patrons at the Hotel New Yorker, probably in 1942. A song request card from one of the patrons, with no requests but with the signatures of both Goodman and Lee.


Date: January 24, 1942; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall (tb), Lou McGarity (tb, v), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Blues In The Night(Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) / arr: Eddie Sauter
unissued

Personnel

1. Lou McGarity
The vocal for which trombonist Lou McGarity is co-credited consists, in his case, of yodeling only.


Date: February 3, 1942; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Somebody Nobody Loves(Seymour Miller) / arr: Eddie Sauter
unissued



Date: February 6, 1942; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Art Ralston (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show My Little Cousin(Eli Basse, Sam Braverman, Cy Coben, Happy Lewis) / arr: Mel Powell
unissued



Date: February 14, 1942; Broadcast On Two Radio Networks
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Art Ralston (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall (tb), Lou McGarity (tb, v), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Blues In The Night(Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) / arr: Eddie Sauter
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show How Long Has This Been Going On?(George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) / arr: Mel Powell
Both titles unissued.

Audio Source

1. Airing Networks
Along with the instrumental "Sing, Sing, Sing," this date's vocal for "Blues In The Night" was heard during a sustaining broadcast on the CBS radio network. A sustaining broadcast over the Mutual network is, on the other hand, the extant source of "How Long Has This Going On" (as well as various instrumentals).


Personnel

1. Lou McGarity
The vocal for which trombonist Lou McGarity is co-credited consists, in his case, of yodeling only.


Date: February 17, 1942; Broadcasting Network Unknown
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Art Ralston (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Skylark(Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer)
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Ev'rything I Love(Cole Porter) / arr: Eddie Sauter
Both titles unissued.



Audio Source

1. Spotlight Bands?
In his bio-discographical book Benny Goodman: Listen To His Legacy, Russ Connor expressed some hesitation as to the broadcasting source for this date's extant performances (two instrumentals and the two vocals mentioned above). The "overall ambience," as heard on the preserved lacquer disc, led him to believe that the radio source was a sustaining broadcast. (Connor's access and consultation of Goodman's personal records had alerted him to the fact that Goodman had broadcast for Coca Cola on February 17, 1942. Hence, if not a sustaining broadcast, the alternative source for this date's performances would have been an episode of the Coca Cola-sponsored show Spotlight Bands.)


Songs

1. "Skylark"
In her autobiography, Peggy Lee tells a long, amusing anecdote about a botched attempt at singing this tune. "We were playing at a theatre in Bridgeport, Connecticut," Lee offers as a manner of introduction, "and I was to meet Frank (my fiancé, by now) in New York the next day." The rendezvous did not happen: Frank, a pilot, calls Lee to let her know that he has to leave right away on a war-related mission. A distressed Lee drinks a bottle of gin that saxophonist Joe Rushton hands her ... with disastrous -- yet hilarious -- consequences for her next appearance onstage. The full anecdote can be read on page 17 of the autobiography's hardback edition, published by Donald I. Fine. (The exact date of the Connecticut date is unclear, but the mention of Rushton circumscribes the story to no earlier than December of 1942.)


Photo

Benny Goodman plays his clarinet while a smiling Peggy Lee remains safely ensconced near her own instrument, the microphone. The band's drums can be seen, too, amidst the background's darkness. Date and location unknown.


Date: March 2, 1942; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Art Ralston (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show We'll Meet Again(Ross Parker Clarke, Hugh Charles) / arr: Mel Powell
unissued

Audio Sources

1. Spotlight Bands
As with two other entries listed above (November 14, 1941; December 5, 1941), this date's performance of "We'll Meet Again" has survived thanks to its broadcasting in an episode of the show Spotlight Bands, on the Mutual network.


Date: March 5, 1942; Broadcasting Network Unknown
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Art Ralston (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show My Little Cousin(Eli Basse, Sam Braverman, Cy Coben, Happy Lewis) / arr: Mel Powell
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show The Lamp Of Memory (Incertidumbre)(Gonzalo Curiel, Al Stillman) / arr: Eddie Sauter
Both titles unissued.

Performances

1. Preservation
Unfortunately, neither of the Peggy Lee vocals from this date has been preserved in its entirety.

2. "Mandy Is Two" (March 5, 1942)
In the book Benny Goodman: Listen To His Legacy, Donald Russell Connor lists this date's performance of "Mandy Is Two" as sung by Peggy Lee. The attribution is erroneous: Art London is the singer. The error has been corrected both by Connor himself (on his tape detail sheets, which are now in the possession of Institute of Jazz Studies, at Rutgers University) and by David Jessup in his book Benny Goodman: A Discographical Supplement.


Date: Between January 1 and March 12, 1942
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Clint Neagley (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Art Ralston (bar), Al Davis, James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall (tb), Lou McGarity (tb, v), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Blues In The Night(Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) / arr: Eddie Sauter
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Not Mine(Johnny Mercer, Victor Schertzinger) / arr: Eddie Sauter
c. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Somebody Nobody Loves(Seymour Miller) / arr: Eddie Sauter
d. ExtantBen. Goodman Show That Did It, Marie(Irene Higginbotham, Fred Meadows) / arr: Mel Powell
All titles unissued.

Performances

1. Preservation
None of the performances listed under this entry have not been preserved in their entirety. They may all be from the same broadcast. (If so, the order in which these songs were performed remains unclear as well. I have listed them in alphabetical order -- just as Russ Connor does in his Goodman bio-discography.)


Personnel

1. Because the exact date of these performances is unknown, the listed personnel should be considered approximate rather than exact. I am offering above the names of the men who were members of the band as of February 5, 1942. A fair share of personnel changes seem to have taken place in March, most likely after the conclusion of the New Yorker dates.

2. Lou McGarity
Trombonist Lou McGarity's vocal contribution to the band's arrangement of "Blues In The Night" is circumscribed to an extended, memorable yodel, heard in the middle of the number.


Interlude

Following the closing of the New Yorker Hotel engagement on March 12, the band had a two-week vacation, as explained in more detail below.




V. THE THEATER TOUR: ATLANTIC CITY, CAMDEN, PHILADELPHIA, BOSTON, CHICAGO, BUFFALO, BROOKLYN AND MANHATTAN (PARAMOUNT)




The Benny Goodman Orchestra's engagement at the New Yorker's Terrace Room ended on Thursday, March 12, 1942. Following the conclusion of their five-month-long commitment with the hotel, a two- or three-week vacation was granted to the band's members, including the vocalists. Underlying the granting of a vacation was Goodman's need to take care of pressing domestic matters: on March 21, 1942 he married Alice Hammond in Reno, Nevada. (The musician's first and only wife, the marriage would last his lifetime.) Peggy Lee spent her vacation time back in North Dakota, with her siblings.

The orchestra was by no means done with the Terrace Room, however. That very year, they would come back to the same prestigious venue on October 9, 1942, for yet another extensive round. Between these two residences at the New Yorker, the interim six months were spent on the road, in a so-called theater tour.

Most of the band's April-to-September concert schedule can be pieced together thanks to research conducted by Goodman's premier discographer, Russ Connor, who had access to the artist's personal papers. His research, as published in his books, was the original source of nearly all of my listings below.

1. Beginning April 02, for a week: New Jersey (at the Center Theater in Passaic)
2. Beginning April 09, for a week: Pennsylvania (at the Earle Theater in Philadelphia)
3. Beginning April 15, for a week: New Jersey (at the Stanley Theater in Camden)
4. April or May - New Jersey (at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City; information based on vague oral reports)
5. Around and including April 24 - New York (at the 20th Century, in Buffalo)
6. Around and including May 15 and May 16 - Pennsylvania (at the Sunnybrook Ballroom in Pottstown and, on the 15th, at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh)
7. From May 27 to June 25: New York (at the Paramount Theater in Manhattan)
8. From July 16 to July 22 - Massachusetts (at the Metropolitan Theater in Boston)
9. June 26 - Fox Theatre, Detroit, Michigan
9. For just one night, on July 23 - New Hampshire (at Canobie Lake Park in Lake Canobie)
10. August, including August 7, for an unknown amount of days - Illinois (at the Chicago Theater in Chicago; also performing at one or more outdoor venues)
11. September, for an unknown amount of days - California (filming the movie The Powers Girls in Hollywood)


Some of the listed theater dates were reviewed in Billboard. One them (Buffalo) will be discussed in a separate section below (April 24, 1942). The other (Phildelphia) will be covered in the next paragraph. Both in Buffalo and Philadelphia, the same two secondary acts were featured (The Ambassadorettes, Shea and Raymond), thereby suggesting that all three acts were touring together, as a package.

The magazine's April 18, 1942 issue lets us know how Goodman and company fared on the afternoon of April 10 at the Earle. Named as company members are Mel Powell, Vido Musso, Rube McGarrity [sic?; Lou McGarity], and Art London. On the one female member, the reviewer reports as follows: "Peggy Lee, band's blond canary and looker, is plenty tall on the singing. There was no letting her get away until she delivered Skylark, My Little Cousin, Somebody Else Is Taking My Place and Blues In The Night." A follow-up article in the April 25 issue lets us know about the dates' overall success: "[i]t was a royal holiday at the Earle (capacity, 3,000; house average for straight picture booking, $14,000) with Swing King Benny Goodman on stage for his first local stand in three years ... Putting in five and six shows a day to take care of the overflowing crowds ... with $34,500, less than $2,000 short of topping the high mark set by Glenn Miller, who had the added advantage of a holiday during his week ... Bill ... had Peggy Lee, Art London and the Goodman Sextet from the band for added billing. Screen Juke Box Jenny strictly a stage wait. New bill opened Friday (17) has the house down to more normal levels with Connee Boswell, John (Scat) Davis and Cliff Nazarro splitting the top honors ... about $18,000."

The months of April and May were presumably filled with many additional dates, not documented above. Logical venues would include not only theaters from the New York - New Jersey - Pennsylvania area but also locations farther away. In Peggy Lee's autobiography, a passing reference is made to dates in St Louis and --as already mentioned-- Pittsburgh. (The references do not come with an attached date, but Mel Powell's involvement and the surrounding anecdotal commentary points to the likelihood that they happened within this time period -- i.e., April to September 1942.)

Residence in or proximity to the Big Apple can be inferred by May 14, when the orchestra went into a Manhattan recording studio. At some time between that day and mid-June (the date of the next recording session), the band must have made at least one appearance in Detroit, Michigan: Peggy Lee remembers hearing new recruit David Barbour's guitar there, for the very first time, right after she had sung "These Foolish Things."

Unfortunately, only five remotes from this six-month period have survived. As shown below, Peggy Lee is heard in three of them. (Also from this period is Lee's and the band's recording activity for the soundtrack of the movie The Powers Girls. Details will be given in the still-to-be-opened film pages of this discography.)

Non-surviving but partially documented dates can at least be listed. My research of the periodical Variety has retrieved the following ones:

a) April 24, 1942; 20th Century Theatre, Buffalo, New York. According to a Variety reviewer, "[h]usky-voiced Peggy Lee laid 'em low with Sky Lark [sic], Somebody Else [Is Taking My Place] and encored with Let's Fall In Love and a unique reading of My Little Cousin. Referring to both Lee's and Art London's work at the date, the reviewer added that "[i]n its vocalists, as in every other department, the outfit registers by means of those added ingredients of personality and talent as always."

b) May 15, 1942; Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In a bill with the movie Always In My Heart. Citing a request from the draft board to appear in New York, Goodman was absent on this date. (Goodman was scheduled to be back and in action at this venue on the next day, May the 16th). The playing was still "typically Goodmanesque and okay for the swingers, who could not get enough of anything" reported a Variety reviewer. He added that Art London had to be brought "back for five numbers and Peggy Lee for four, and the two vocalists cleaned out the books, down through Tangerine, Heart Of Texas, Blue Skies, Don't Want To Walk, Zoot Suit, Skylark, Somebody Else [Is Taking My Place] and Let's Fall In Love." The reviewer seems to have listed these numbers in the order in which they were performed: London is likely to have sung the first four, Lee the last three. In between, there is "A Zoot Suit (For My Sunday Gal)," a 1942 hit tune co-written by L. Wolfe Gilbert and Bob O'Brien that Goodman recorded with London on vocals. Given the reviewer's reference to a total of four vocals by Peggy Lee, "A Zoot Suit" might have been performed as a duet between her and London.

c) between May 27 and June 2, 1942; Paramount Theatre, New York City, New York. "Practically everything in Goodman's present repertoire is quite familiar to his fans," observed the Variety reviewer. "He has his best foot forward at all times. That even goes for his two vocal aides, the pretty-pretty Peggy Lee and the matinee-idolish Dick Haymes. Miss Lee gets in her most telling effects with All I Need Is You and Somebody Else Is Taking My Place, while Haymes is at his crooning best with Tangerine and Embraceable You. Both singers raised howls of approval."

d) June 26, 1942; Fox Theatre, Detroit, Michigan. The Variety reviewer states that Lee did "a quartet of numbers" and opines that she needed "a little more animation" while singing the tunes. "She "seems at he best," continued the reviewer in the more rollicking numbers as she drawls through Baby All I Need Is You, My Little Cousin, We Met Before, and Somebody Else [Is Taking My Place]." The title (mis)identified as We Met Before is likely to be Where Or When.

e) August 7, 1942; Chicago location, probably The Chicago Theater. "Peggy Lee, blonde vocalist, is a song stylist of merit," remarked the reviewer. "Outstanding are her Knock Me A Kiss, delivered in jitterbug style, and a slow-motion rendition of Where Or When, painstakingly enunciated with slowed-up band accompaniment, curiously effective."


Photos: Images of three of the eleven venues in which The Benny Goodman Orchestra is known to have performed between March 13 and October 9, 1942. All of them theaters, the above-seen venues are the Stanley in Camden, NJ (#1), the Earle in Philadelphia, Pa (#2 & #3), and the Metropolitan in Boston, Massachusetts (#4). Also viewable, further down this page, are images of two more of these eleven venues -- specifically, the Paramount Theatre and the Chicago Theatre.


Date: April 24, 1942; Broadcast On The Mutual Radio Network
Location: Unknown, Buffalo, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Bud Shiffman (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Art Ralston (bar), James "Jimmy" Maxwell, John Napton, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee, Art London aka Art Lund (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show If You Build A Better Mousetrap(Victor Schertzinger, Johnny Mercer) / arr: Eddie Sauter
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Somebody Else Is Taking My Place(Bob Ellsworth, Dick Howard, Russ Morgan) / arr: Mel Powell
Both titles unissued.

Audio Sources

1. Spotlight Bands
As is also the case with three previously listed entries (November 14, 1941; December 5, 1941; March 2, 1942), this date's performances have survived in the form of an episode from the Mutual network show Spotlight Bands.


Performances

1. Preservation
Unfortunately, this date's version of "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place" was not preserved in its entirety.


Review

This date is reviewed on the May 2, 1942 issue of Billboard magazine. The band is described as having consisted of two trombones, five trumpets, five saxophones, and a four-person rhythm section. If so, one trumpet player is missing from the personnel listed above. (Bear in mind the aforementioned case of Cootie Williams, not listed in my primary sources but claimed to be present at an earlier concert date.) Goodman, Mel Powell, Ginny [sic; Jimmy] Maxwell, Red McGarrity [sic?; Lou McGarity] are the singled out players.

The reviewer seems to favor's the "mellow baritone" with which Art London sings ballads. Of the other singer, (s)he says: "Miss Lee, an attractive blonde, has a good set of pipes and does okay on Somebody Else Is Taking My Place, Skylark, My Little Cousin and Let's Do It, displaying plenty of versatility with these selections. She clicked handily." Note that "If You Build A Better Mousetrap" is not mentioned.

Overall, this Buffalo date is rated "solid," aside from one flaw: "[c]ontinuity and running of show was impaired on night caught, however, because of a Spotlight Band broadcast for Coca-Cola, which scrambled the act line-up."


Date: May 11, 1942; Broadcasting Network Unknown
Location: Unknown

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Sol Kane, Bud Shiffman (as), George Berg, Vido Musso (ts), Art Ralston (bar), James "Jimmy" Maxwell, John Napton, Bernie Privin (t), Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity (tb), Tom "Tommy" Morgan (g), Sid Weiss (b), Mel Powell (p), Ralph Collier (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show We'll Meet Again(Ross Parker Clarke, Hugh Charles) / arr: Mel Powell
unissued



Performances

1. Preservation
This date's version of "We'll Meet Again" was not preserved in its entirety.


Photo

Peggy Lee and The Benny Goodman Orchestra, further details unknown. Benny Goodman experts are inclined to circumscribe the qualifying date to the period between mid-May and July 1942. It might also be worth noting that the band appears to be collectively dressed in white, which could (or could not) be a clue to a special occasion. In her autobiography, Lee casually mentions that during war time the band played at bond rallies and hospitals. Perhaps one of such occasions prompted the band to wear white, thereby letting go of their usually dark attire. (Of further note in the same regard is a concert appearance known to have happened at the Seamen's Church Institute, in Brooklyn, NY, on December 25, 1942. In his book Benny Goodman: A Discographical Supplement, David Jessup refers to the "very enthusiastic sailor audience" that is heard during an extant segment of that concert, which was broadcast as part of a swing band marathon called Uncle Sam's Christmas Tree. Peggy Lee is presumed to have been present and active at the Brooklyn institute, although she not featured in the extant segment.


Date: July 15, 1942, 8:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Location: Park Shell, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York


Extant Data

Although no performances from Goodman's 1942 Prospect Park concerts survive, Peggy Lee's worthwhile comments about them have compelled me to open this special entry. Writes Lee, in her autobiography: "We were playing in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, surrounded by metal bars because the crowds would push up and practically impale themselves. Benny and I had a huge recording at the time, Somebody Else Is Taking My Place, and the crowd sort of went wild when I sang it. It, of course, was right in the mood of the war, and people could especially identify with its theme. They loved hearing Benny do Clarinet Ala King and became even more demonstrative when we performed [numbers] such as The Way You Look Tonight, Don't Get Around Much Anymore and Where Or When. After one show, my gown was ripped off, as Dick Haymes, the male vocalist, and I ran to escape in the subway. A Navy pilot helped us get away, I'm convinced we never would have made it without him." It is assumed though not fully clear that Prospect Park was the location of the specific anecdote involving Dick Haymes. Haymes was with the band only during June and July of 1942.

According to The Brooklyn Daily Eagle's report of the July 15 concert, "[a]pproximately 40,000 jitterbugs and hep cats jumped and jived to the swing tempo of Benny Goodman's Orchestra ... to set a record in the history of the city parks. Though the dancing was scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m., there were about 7,000 in the shell at 8 o'clock and the attendance hit its peak by 9. A short time later the dancing was stopped as a precautionary measure due to the size of the crowd but the band played until 10 p.m. Park Department officials said that the largest previous dance attendance at the park was 12,000 ... The program was given under the auspices of the Department of Parks and the consolidated Edison Company." In addition to the aforementioned numbers, Don't Be That Way and One O'clock Jump were also among the songs that Goodman played.


Photo

Benny Goodman And His Orchestra, photographed while performing at the Shell in Brooklyn's Prospect Park (New York) on July 15, 1942.




Date: August 10, 1942; Broadcast On Radio Station WGN
Location: Northwest Corner Of Michigan Avenue And Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Leonard Sims, Jon Walton (ts), Robert "Bob" Poland (bar), Tony Faso (aka Joseph Fasulo), James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Lawrence Stearns, aka Alfred Sculco (t), Charlie Castaldo, Lou McGarity (tb), Dave Barbour (g), Cliff Hill (b), Bill Clifton (p), Howard "Hud" Davies (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show These Foolish Things(Harry Link, Eric Maschwitz aka Holt Marvell, Jack Strachey)
Aircheck Collectors' Label LP16 — [Benny Goodman] Benny Goodman And His Orchestra; The King Of Swing "On The Air"   

Audio Source, Issues And Venue

1. Bond Wagon Drive
2. The King Of Swing "On The Air" [LP]
3. Chicago Theatre
This date's vocal version of "These Foolish Things" survived as part of an episode of the wartime radio show Bond Wagon Drive, broadcast on the Chicago station WGN. Ditto for four of the date's instrumentals: "Idaho," "After You've Gone," "Jersey Bounce," and the band's theme, "Let's Dance." (During the broadcast, equivocal wording used by the master of ceremonies leads to the impression that Goodman plays in the show's rendition of "Jersey Bounce." Not so. Only a trio called The Coast Guard Cutters is heard.)

In addition to the Lee vocal, the above-listed LP The King Of Swing "On The Air" also includes all the Goodman instrumentals but the theme.

Moreover, the LP gives the location as the Chicago Theatre; discographer Russ Connor disagrees, however. In the discographer's own words: "[t]he band was playing in the Chicago Theater, but this War Bonds program was broadcast from outdoors." Having recently listened to the actual broadcast as archived by Chicago-based broadcaster Chuck Schaden in his website, I can not only corroborate that the location was outdoors, but can also pinpoint a specific address. WGN radio personality and master of ceremonies Bill Anson announces that they are broadcasting from "the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive." The occasion was the induction of about 60 men into the Coast Guard service.




VI. BACK TO MANHATTAN: AT THE PARAMOUNT AND THE NEW YORKER HOTEL, ONCE MORE









Next, Benny Goodman And His Orchestra left Hollywood for another extended residence at the New Yorker Hotel. This return engagement started on October 9, 1942 and concluded at some point in January of 1943. An opening night review (published on the October 14, 1942 issue of Variety) praises the band for its "solid" playing and greater flexibility, in comparison to their previous engagement at the hotel. In the reviewer's estimation, Goodman was offering, at last, "softer projections" which were "true to what the public expect[ed]." The only band members who were not yet meeting such expectations were those in the trumpet section. As for the band's vocalists, he points out that "Peggy Lee, after several throat operations, is also in improved voice" and that new acquisition Gary McRae was let go after just two days. The reference to throat operations would seem to suggest that Lee had undergone surgery in September (presumably after the September filming of her singing scene in the Hollywood movie The Powers Girl) or in early October (which could mean that the procedure was done in New York rather than California).

Fifteen of Peggy Lee's vocals from this second period at the New Yorker are extant. Comprehensive in their reach, they happen to date from each of the relevant months of the engagement -- i.e., October, November, and December of 1942. There are also some undated performances that could be from no later than closing night, on January 9, 1943. (It should be clarified that Lee's last performances with Goodman at The New Yorker took place on that evening. It is true that, later in the year, Goodman and his band come back for yet another round at the hotel -- opening on Thursday, October 7. However, Peggy Lee was no longer a member of the ensemble by that time.)

At the end of 1942, after nearly three months of daily playing at the New Yorker, Benny Goodman And His Orchestra doubled their regular schedule: they were booked as the main musical attraction at the city's famous Paramount Theatre, right in Times Square (on 43rd Street and Broadway, or nine blocks away from the hotel). As suggested by its name, this theatre had been part and parcel of Paramount Pictures since its very opening in 1926. In December of 1935, it had added musical appearances to its repertoire, beginning with an engagement by Glen Gray And His Orchestra. (After the theatre's sale and its demolition in 1966, the premises were fully converted, over time, into a variety of retail and business offices. In 2005, the erstwhile theatrical site became a Hard Rock Café.)

Goodman's opening date at the Paramount (Wednesday, December 30, 1942) has become legendary in the annals of American music history as emblematic of the start of the vocalist era and, conversely, as signaling the decline of the big band era. The reason for the alleged decline lied in the company that Goodman, the main attraction, had to keep. Among the other artists in the bill at the Paramount was a so-called "extra-added attraction" by the name of Frank Sinatra. On this date, the vocalist was making his first major appearance as a solo act. And major it was: the bobby soxers came in droves to see him (and him alone), while the press naturally declared him a national phenomenon. His engagement at the venue was extended from two weeks to two months. From then on to the late 1940s, Sinatra would become popular music's main attraction.

As for the top-billed orchestra, Goodman and company had been hired for a month-long engagement. They honored the full month of appearances despite the significant challenge posed by playing daily on two venues, one of which demanded six or seven shows per day. (Or more. According to Sinatra chronicler Richard Havers, "[t]he run at the Paramount was grueling. There were six or seven shows a day and 11 on Saturdays. shows started in the morning, some even before 9:00 a.m.") Peggy Lee encapsulates her own experience as follows: "In New York, besides the Paramount Theatre, we were playing a set in the Terrace Room at the New Yorker ... [The Paramount] played only newsreels between shows, which didn't leave much time for casual dining, especially for a lady with makeup and hair and all. We worked seven days a week and after several weeks were like those Swiss toys in a cuckoo clock ... I would find a bench in the restroom and take a little catnap waiting through all the other [numbers] to my own Why Don't You Do Right? -- which was the very last one." (A contemporaneous review suggests that she might have actually sung three songs on each of these daily shows.)

Regrettably, there are no surviving broadcasts from the month-long engagement. Press reviews from the time reveal some of the numbers that were performed, including those sung by Peggy Lee: "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Why Don't You Do Right," "I Lost My Sugar In Salt Lake City," and "Where Or When" -- the latter with Goodman's sextet. The reporter from Variety deemed her singing "able" and observed that "[a]udience could have taken more of her, but Goodman cut into applause with a band number." (For additional details, consult this discography overview of the Benny Goodman Period, section XII.) In any case, the combined presence of Sinatra and Goodman clearly drew both younger and older crowds; Variety magazine reported a $78,000 draw in just the first 4 days.


Photos: Postcards showing the New Yorker Hotel as it looked around 1925 (#1) and around 1940 (#4). The New Yorker marquee (#2) proudly announces the return of The Benny Goodman Orchestra to its Terrace Room in the fall of 1943. Also from that fall engagement, images #3, #5, and #6 show the band in action at the Terrace Room. In photo #3, most of the view is occupied by dancers in action -- some soldiers included -- but the upper part of the photo does catch, at the distance, the stage and the performing bandmembers. Despite the blurriness of image #5, drummer Gene Krupa is easily identifiable; the also visible bassist should be Sid Weiss. Barely seen on the right side of image #6, clasping hands while sitting in front of the piano, is the band's presumed vocalist. This dark-haired canary is likely to be Carol Kaye. (As mentioned in the first paragraph above, by the time of this New Yorker engagement in the fall of 1943, Lee was no longer part of Goodman's ensemble.) The last row of photos features 43rd Street's Paramount Theater, specifically its entrance and proscenium, as it looked during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.


Date: Early October 1942; Broadcasting Network Unknown
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Al Klink, Jon Walton (ts), Robert "Bob" Poland (bar), Tony Faso (aka Joseph Fasulo), James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Lawrence Stearns, aka Alfred Sculco (t), Charlie Castaldo (tb), Lou McGarity (tb, v), Dave Barbour (g), Cliff Hill (b), James "Jimmy" Rowles (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Blues In The Night(Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) / arr: Eddie Sauter
unissued

Personnel

1. Lou McGarity
Trombonist Lou McGarity's vocal contribution to the band's arrangement of "Blues In The Night" is circumscribed to an extended, memorable yodel, heard in the middle of the number.


Date: Mid-October 1942; Broadcasting Network Unknown
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Conrad Gozzo, Jon Walton (ts), Robert "Bob" Poland (bar), Tony Faso (aka Joseph Fasulo), James "Jimmy" Maxwell, Lawrence Stearns, aka Alfred Sculco (t), Charlie Castaldo, Earl LeFave (tb), Dave Barbour (g), Cliff Hill (b), James "Jimmy" Rowles (p), Louis Bellson, Howard "Hud" Davies (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Cow Cow Boogie(Benny Carter, Gene DePaul, Don Raye)
unissued

Personnel

1. Conrad Gozzo
2. Earl LeFave
Due to the lack of a precise date, the presence of both Conrad Gozzo on trumpet and Earl Lefave on trombone should be deemed likely, but by no means certain. If they were not present, then their predecessors (Lawrence Stearns, Lou McGarity) are likely to have occupied the chairs in question.


Date: October 19, 1942; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Al Klink, Jon Walton (ts), Robert "Bob" Poland (bar), Tony Faso (aka Joseph Fasulo), Conrad Gozzo, James "Jimmy" Maxwell (t), Charlie Castaldo, Earl LeFave (tb), Dave Barbour (g), Cliff Hill (b), James "Jimmy" Rowles (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Cow Cow Boogie(Benny Carter, Gene DePaul, Don Raye)
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition(Frank Loesser)
Both titles on: Jazz Society Collectors' Label LP(Sweden) Aa 510 — [Benny Goodman] The War Years   



Photo

The Benny Goodman Orchestra, with Peggy Lee on the microphone, performing at an unidentified outdoor location, reportedly in 1942.


Date: November 12, 1942; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Al Klink, Jon Walton (ts), Robert "Bob" Poland (bar), Tony Faso (aka Joseph Fasulo), Conrad Gozzo, James "Jimmy" Maxwell (t), Charlie Castaldo, Earl LeFave (tb), Dave Barbour (g), Cliff Hill (b), James "Jimmy" Rowles (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Mister Five By Five - 3:32(Don Raye, Gene DePaul)
Jazz Society Collectors' Label LP(Sweden) Aa 510 — [Benny Goodman] The War Years   
Musicdisc Collectors' Label LP(France) 30 Ja 5226 — [Benny Goodman] The War Years 1943/1944/1945   
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Had The Craziest Dream(Mack Gordon, Harry Warren)
unissued




Date: December 3, 1942, 11:15-11:30 Eastern; CBS Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Al Klink, Jon Walton (ts), Ted Goddard (bar), Conrad Gozzo, Carl Poole, Steve Steck (t), Charlie Castaldo, Jack Jenney (tb), Dave Barbour (g), Cliff Hill (b), Jess Stacy (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Why Don't You Do Right?(Joe McCoy) / arr: Mel Powell
unissued

Performances

1. Preservation
This date's version of "Why Don't You Do Right?" was not preserved in its entirety.


Audio Sources

1. Airing Network
The identification of CBS as this broadcast's network of origination should be deemed tentative.


Date: December 4, 1942; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Al Klink, Jon Walton (ts), Ted Goddard (bar), Conrad Gozzo, Carl Poole, Steve Steck (t), Charlie Castaldo, Jack Jenney (tb), Dave Barbour (g), Cliff Hill (b), Jess Stacy (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Roll 'em(Mary Lou Williams)
unissued

Performances

1. "Roll 'Em"
For more than one reason, this vocalization of a well-known instrumental by the King of Swing qualifies as a noteworthy curiosity in Peggy Lee's canon of early songs. The vocal's existence remained publicly unknown for nearly 70 years, until Benny Goodman discographer David Jessup disclosed it in his 2010 book. The vigorous, fast-paced interpretation is aptly described by Jessup as "a true eyebrow-raiser," in which "Peggy Lee's bluesy vocal is echoed by Benny's subsequent solo."


Date: December 26, 1942; Broadcast On The Blue Radio Network
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Ted Goddard or Joe Rushton (sax), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Al Klink, Jon Walton (ts), Conrad Gozzo, Carl Poole, Steve Steck (t), Charlie Castaldo, Jack Jenney (tb), Dave Barbour (g), Cliff Hill (b), Jess Stacy (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Why Don't You Do Right? - 3:31(Joe McCoy)
unissued

Audio Sources

1. Over Here (December 26, 1942)
Airing on the Blue network during the wartime period and dedicated to the sale of war bonds, the radio show Over Here billed itself as "a musical letter from home to the boys on the war fronts." Each hour-long episode featured a motley variety of performers, from actors and musicians to comedians and personalities. Research conducted by Goodman discographer David Jessup retrieved data for a total of eight episodes, broadcast each Saturday from November 28, 1942 to January 16, 1942. Radio engineer J. David Goldin lists five of these episodes as extant in his indexed collection of broadcasts (aka the RadioGoldinIndex), albeit none of them in complete form. Commercial sites in the internet also claim to have copies of the same five episodes.

The December 26, 1942 episode of the show aired at 7:00 p.m. Listed as appearing during the full hour were Janet Blair, The Benny Goodman Orchestra, Sam Hearn, Herbert Marshall (reading a message from John Dewey), Frank McHugh, Jack Benny, Dennis Day, Peggy Lee, Mary Livingston, Don Wilson, and announcer Jimmy Wallington. In addition to the above-entered Peggy Lee vocal, two instrumental performances by Goodman and his orchestra were heard ("Let's Dance," "Clarinet A La King"). Only about 25 of the show's 60 minutes are known to be extant; fortunately, all three Goodman performances are part of the preserved segments.

Russ Connor's extensive bio-discography of Benny Goodman does not make mention of Over Here. However, this December 26 version of "Why Don't You Do Right?" could be among those that Connor classifies as undated. See session immediately below.

2. Over Here (December 19, 1942)
The RadioGoldinIndex tentatively suggests that Peggy Lee might have also appeared in the December 19, 1942 episode of Over Here. She did not. The confusion stems from the participation of the similarly named Penny Lee, singing with Joe Reichman's Orchestra in that episode. My thanks to David Jessup, whose research cleared up this confusion.

3. Over Here: Treasury Department War Bond Shows
Also uncovered by David Jessup's research in The New York Times' radio log were matching entries for the two above-mentioned episodes of Over Here. In the interest of fans or researchers wanting to consult that resource, I should further clarify that the New York Time's log does not identify either of the two episodes by the name of Over Here. Instead, the December 26, 1942 installment is merely called a War Bond Show from the New Yorker Hotel, and the December 19 episode is described as a Treasury Department War Bond Show, broadcast on WJZ from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

4. Miscellanea: Spotlight Bands [Non-extant]
Furthermore, I have learned about two December 1942 episodes of Victory Parade Of Spotlight Bands in which The Benny Goodman Orchestra and Peggy Lee were featured. Both aired on that show's regular slot (9:30 p.m.) on the Mutual network. One dates from December the 11th, the other from December the 19th. The earliest of the two episodes was advertised as a "salute [to] soldiers at Fort Totten" (in New York's Queens Borough). No further details about it are available to me.

The December 19 episode (to which I was alerted by Jessup) was actually broadcast right after the end of the War Bond program already mentioned above (point #3). In addition to three instrumentals by Goodman and his band ("The Count," "Velvet Moon," "Bugle Call Rag"), a Peggy Lee vocal was heard. She sang about "That Soldier Of Mine." Unfortunately, neither of these Spotlight Bands installments appear to have survived the test of time.


Personnel

1. Joe Rushton
2. Ted Goddard
Bass saxophonist Joe Rushton is believed to have replaced baritone saxophonist Ted Goddard on a yet-to-be-determined day within the month of December, 1942. Because Rushton is seen playing in the December 1942 movie Stage Door Canteen, and because the present broadcast bears a very late date within that month (December 26), I find it likelier that Rushton is present, Goddard absent. However, I do not count with confirmation for this bit of speculation.


Date: Late November 1942 To Early 1943; Broadcast On CBS, Etc.
Location: Terrace Room, Hotel New Yorker, 481 8th Avenue (And 34th St.), Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Ted Goddard or Joe Rushton (sax), Benny Goodman (cl), Henry J. "Heinie" Beau, Hank D'Amico, Clint Neagley, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Al Klink, Zoot Sims, Robert "Bob" Taylor, Jon Walton (ts), Lee Castle, Conrad Gozzo, Sol LaPerche, Yank Lawson, Carl Poole, Steve Steck (t), Charlie Castaldo, Jack Jenney, Miff Mole (tb), Dave Barbour (g), Sid Weiss (b), Jess Stacy (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Why Don't You Do Right?(Joe McCoy) / arr: Mel Powell
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Don't Get Around Much Anymore(Duke Ellington, Bob Russell)
c. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Why Don't You Do Right?(Joe McCoy) / arr: Mel Powell
d. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Why Don't You Do Right?(Joe McCoy) / arr: Mel Powell
e. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Lost My Sugar In Salt Lake City(Johhny Lange, Leon Rene) / arr: Mel Powell
f. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Lost My Sugar In Salt Lake City(Johhny Lange, Leon Rene)
g. ExtantBen. Goodman Show That Soldier Of Mine(Matt Dennis, Paul Herrick)
All titles unissued.

Audio Sources

1. Airing Networks
All the above-listed performances were heard in sustaining broadcasts whose networks remain unknown. The exceptions are the first two titles listed ("Why Don't You Do Right?" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"), which are known to have been broadcast by CBS.


Personnel

1. Collective Personnel
2. Louis Bellson, Kenny Unwin
3. Charlie Castaldo, Lee Castle
4. Ted Goddard, Joe Rushton
Due in part to the lack of exact dates, the present 'session' uses a collective personnel, proposed by Goodman discographer Russ Connor. Especially uncertain are the identities of two players, one in the brass section and the other on drums. The drummer could be the man shown in the collective personnel (Louis Bellson) or it could instead be Kenny Unwin. As for the brass section player, Lee Castle could be present, functioning as a then-brand new addition to the band's trumpet players, or it could instead be Charlie Castaldo (listed above) playing trumpet in some numbers, trombone in others. I should also make mention of the case involving baritone saxophonist Ted Goddard and bass saxophonist Joe Rushton: the latter replaced the former at a yet-to-be-determined date within the month of December, 1942.


Performances

1. Preservation
Of the above-listed performances, one version of "Why Don't You Do Right?" and one version of "I Lost My Sugar In Salt Lake City" have not survived in its entirety. The same fate applies to "That Soldier Of Mine."

2. "Deep In The Heart Of Texas" (Late 1942)
Versions of "Deep In The Heart Of Texas" by Alvino Rey, Ted Weems (with Perry Como), Bing Crosby, and others entered the music charts in early 1943, after having being initially recorded mostly in November and December of 1942. The Benny Goodman Orchestra and its vocalists did not make a recording of it (they were not recording at the time, due to a music union ban), but Peggy Lee seems to have sung the tune while it was in vogue. A column published by The Valley City Times-Record in the early 1940s makes the claim. Lee is said to have sung the ditty at an unidentified New York location, "to the delight of a contingent of navy officers."




VII. BACK TO THE WINDY CITY: AT THE CHICAGO THEATRE, THE CHICAGO AUDITORIUM, THE ARAGON & TRIANON BALLROOMS




As previously mentioned, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra had played at the Chicago Theatre in August 1942. The band returned to this venue in January 1943 -- some time after the 10th of that month. No remotes are known to be extant from this later engagement, which lasted at least until mid-February.

Still in operation today, this venue dates back to 1921, when it opened under the name Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre. It became known for its inner lavishness and (neo-Baroque) grandeur. The original owners had had business ties to Paramount Pictures -- as was also the case for a few of the other theaters mentioned in the present page. Jazz-oriented orchestras and big bands began to perform at the venue in the early 1920s, with continued sales success. After repeatedly changing ownership over the decades and undergoing a respectfully undertaken renovation in the 1980s (by the Chicago Theatre Preservation Group), this theatre remains among Chicago's best-known historical landmarks.





In addition to the Chicago Theatre, the orchestra is known to have made appearances at another Windy City venue, from which two or three broadcasts have survived. Goodman discographer Russ Connor explains that this venue was "a facility reserved for military personnel, called Servicemen's Center No. 2." As the captions below will further clarify, this location is known nowadays as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Currently housing that university college, the full 18-story building actually goes all the way back to 1889, when it was designed as a compound slated to combine not only the theatre but also business offices and hotel facilities. Closed during the Depression, the theater itself served as Servicemen's Center No. 2 from 1941 to 1946, at which time Roosevelt University took over.

This and other Chicago servicemen centers operated during the war period only. The USO of Illinois website refers to two such historic locations in Chicago, the first opening on May 27, 1942 on 131 South Wabash, the second in the summer of 1942 on Fullerton Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, in Lincoln Park. (Other sources refer to a total of two Chicago servicemen centers, too. Nonetheless, one of the postcards pictured above clearly list more than two.)

As previously mentioned, there are no extant Goodman Orchestra remotes from the gig at the Chicago Theatre gig -- let alone any Peggy Lee vocals. Ditto for the dates that the band is known to have played on Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14, at two of Chicago's most prestigious dance halls: the Aragon & Trianon Ballrooms. We are more fortunate on the matter of the dates that were held at the Servicemen's Center: at least one program broadcast from that location is extant, and it includes a Peggy Lee vocal.

Photos (located at the top of this section): Four images of the Chicago Theatre, a well-known historical landmark in the Windy City. The entrance is seen in the first two images, first as it looked in early years (ca. 1930) and then as it has looked in recent times (2009). The other images (#3, #4) offer a view of the stage, the seating rows, and the surrounding splendor.

Photos (located in the middle of this section): Two postcards featuring Chicago's Servicemen Centers (#5 & #6). Center No. 2 was located at the Auditorium Theater (displayed on image #8, in a photo taken around 1967). The theater was in turn part of the Auditorium building (image #7, which shows how it looked back in 1893). The auditorium's stage is seen in the last picture (#9).

Photos (located at the end of this section): Pictures of Chicago's Aragon and Trianon ballrooms, both highly ornate dance halls opened in the 1920s by the Karzas brothers (restaurant-owning Greek immigrants who had also found success as local movie theater and nickelodeon impresarios), the Trianon in the the South Side (Cottage Grove and East 62nd-63rd), the Aragon in the Uptown district (1106 West Lawrence Avenue). As suggested by its name, the Aragon (1926) was fashioned after a Spanish/Arabic style, with the overall appearance of a Moorish castle and an octagonally-shaped maple ballroom floor that looked like a huge colonial courtyard. Neo-classical in style, the Trianon (1922) was even more renowned, thanks in no small part to its ostentatious decor and oval-shaped, colorfully palatial interior.  However, once the glory days of the big band era were gone, both spacious ballrooms faced difficulties. The Trianon closed twice (1954, 1958) and, after undergoing a third ownership (1963) as well as a name change (to El-Sid), ended up being demolished in 1967.  The Aragon also closed in 1958 (though only for a few months, due to a fire), and stopped scheduling regular dance functions in 1964. Afterwards, it went through various rounds of ownership, transitioning along the way into an arena for big or flashy spectacles (roller skating, disco dancing, wrestling events, rock marathons, big-and-loud-crowd concerts). Under the name of the Aragon Entertainment Center, it remains in place to date. Below, the original Aragon is shown first (exterior and ballroom), the Trianon second (also exterior and ballroom).






Date: February 13, 1943; Broadcast On The Blue Network
Location: Service Men Center No. 2, 430 S. Michigan Av., Chicago, Illinois

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Henry J. "Heinie" Beau, Hank D'Amico, Clint Neagley, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Al Klink, Zoot Sims, Robert "Bob" Taylor, Jon Walton (ts), Joe Rushton (bsx), Lee Castle, Conrad Gozzo, Sol LaPerche, Yank Lawson, Carl Poole, Steve Steck (t), Charlie Castaldo, Jack Jenney, Miff Mole (tb), Dave Barbour (g), Sid Weiss (b), Jess Stacy (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show As Time Goes By(Herman Hupfeld)
unissued



Photo

This press picture of Peggy Lee onstage was taken while she was performing in Chicago's Service Men Center No. 2, on this very date (February 13). The back of the photo includes what presumably was the recommended caption for the periodical(s) slated to publish the picture: "Peggy Lee, the reason many of the Service Men went into a frenzy ... She sings with Benny Goodman, and they broadcast from the service men's Center with the Spot-light Band ..."


Audio Source

1. Spotlight Bands
As with four other entries listed above (November 14, 1941; December 5, 1941; March 2, 1942; April 24, 1942), this date has survived thanks to the fact that it was broadcast in an episode of the show Spotlight Bands, which used to air in the long-defunct Mutual network. The episode was, fortunately, recorded by a fan.


Performances

1. Preservation
This date's performance of "That Soldier Of Mine" has not survived in its entirety.

2. "I Had The Craziest Dream"
The broadcast under discussion includes an incomplete version of "I Had The Craziest Dream." Usually, bands would perform this number with its vocal, which had been famously introduced by Helen Forrest while she was the vocalist with The Harry James Orchestra (and, more specifically, during a scene from the 1942 version of the film Springtime In The Rockies). Given the popularity of Forrest's vocal at that time, the complete Goodman version might have included a Peggy Lee vocal as well.


Personnel

1. Louis Bellson or Kenny Unwin
To judge from Russ Connor's personnel listings in his bio-discography of Benny Goodman, Kenny Unwin replaced or temporarily substituted for Louis Bellson on drums. The substitution period appears to have started in mid- or late December of 1942. Bellson was back on his regular post by early February; he could have actually returned a lot earlier, within the first two weeks of January, but the matter is unclear.


VIII. CALIFORNIA: AT THE HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM






Founded by the man who served as publisher of The Los Angeles Times at the time (Norman Chandler), the Hollywood Palladium opened on October 9, 1940. Playing at the inaugural concert date were Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra, featuring Frank Sinatra. Counting with the allure of a legendary location (formerly the lot of Paramount Pictures) and ample space (amounting to 11,200 square foot, with a capacity to hold 4,000 dancers) the Palladium was justly touted as an ideal venue for dancers, orchestras, awards shows, large political events and, in later times, rock and latin concerts. Nevertheless, complaints about the quality of the site's acoustics were frequently voiced over the years. Turning into an increasingly unkempt place as the decades went by, threats of demolition began to pop up during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Although both its interior and exterior underwent an overhaul in 2007, the long-term benefits of such a renovation might not prove significant in the long term. In 2012, a sale was under way, with an apartment-and-condominium developer as the prospective buyer. However, as of this writing (2014), the venue remains in place, with scheduled concerts in its near future.

The Benny Goodman Orchestra opened at the Palladium on February 23, 1943, and stayed in residence for six weeks.  The final date took place on either April 4 or April 5, 1943.  (On its April 17, 1943 issue, Billboard gives the closing date as April 4, adding in passing that Glen Gray And His Casa Loma Orchestra were expected next, on April 6, 1943.  For his part, Goodman discographer Russ Connor gives April 5 as the date of the last known CBS broadcast from the Palladium.  He does acknowledge that the closing date for the engagement is unknown to him.  The correct closing date seems to be Sunday, April the 4th.  Goodman and company were scheduled to play six days a week.  They were off on Monday, when the venue was still pen, with another band playing instead.) 
 
The aforementioned Billboard entry is actually an article called Names Doing Phenom Coast Biz, One-nighter Nets James 5Gs, TD terrific, BG colossal.  Its writer  reports that Benny Goodman And His Orchestra had sold 70,000 tickets during their first five weeks at the Palladium, and asserts that ticket sales "continued strong with 34,000 being clocked for the week" (the week in question presumably being the one that started on Monday, March the 29th).  Even more notably, the anonymous news writer states that Goodman's second week had set a record as the venue's "largest weekly business with $37,500."  Music critics such as Metronome's and Esquire's Leonard Feather actually raved about the engagement:  "Benny's done it again.  Coming out of a period of decline which ...  had critics wondering whether Goodman was at the beginning of the end, he's emerged with flying colors"   (as quoted by Ross Firestone in his Goodman biography Swing, Swing, Swing).

Of the engagement's broadcasts that have been preserved, three feature a Peggy Lee vocal.  The first is from February 28 and the final one from March 20.  Extant broadcasts from the last two weeks feature another female vocalist, Frances Hunt.  (The earliest of such Hunt broadcasts dates from March 24, and the final one from April 5.)  From an article published on the March 27, 1943 issue of Billboard magazine (with a March 20 byline), we also learn that "Helen Forrest, one of Goodman's former trushes, sat in for a couple of sets with the band at the Palladium one night this week, but it was only for old time's sake." Hunt, too, had previously served as Goodman's canary (1937). The reason for Forrest's one-night and Hunt's weeks-long stands with the band was probably one and the same: Peggy Lee had served Benny Goodman with a three weeks' notice.   


Photos: A poster announcing the appearance of Tommy Dorsey, with his orchestra and vocalist Frank Sinatra, at the 1940 opening of the Hollywood Palladium (image #1). The Palladium's entrance in images both recent and old (#2, #3, #4). The spacious dance hall and stage are on display in the last two images (#5, #6).


Date: February 28, 1943; Broadcasting Network Unknown
Location: Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Leonard Kaye, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Robert "Bob" Taylor, Jon Walton (ts), Joe Rushton (bsx), Lee Castle, Robert "Bobby" Guyer, Ray Linn (t), Charlie Castaldo, Miff Mole (tb), Bart Roth (g), Gus Van Camp (b), Jess Stacy (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Love A Piano(Irving Berlin)
unissued

Personnel

1. Jimmy Puppa
According to Goodman discographer Russ Connor, some of the February and March 1943 performances at the Hollywood Paladium feature trumpet player Jimmy Puppa. The exact days are not known. Connor believes that Puppa had been hired by Goodman for just a portion of this gig, as a temporary substitute.


Date: March 13, 1943; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Leonard Kaye, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Robert "Bob" Taylor, Jon Walton (ts), Joe Rushton (bsx), Lee Castle, Robert "Bobby" Guyer, Ray Linn (t), Charlie Castaldo, Miff Mole (tb), Bart Roth (g), Gus Van Camp (b), Jess Stacy (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Don't Get Around Much Anymore(Duke Ellington, Bob Russell)
unissued




Photo

The above-listed personnel (except for the canary), playing one of their 1943 concerts at the Palladium. During other parts of the concert, Peggy Lee might have occupied the seat that is visible near the piano.


Performance

1. Preservation
This date's performance of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" has not survived in its entirety.


Date: March 20, 1943; Broadcast On The CBS Radio Network
Location: Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Leonard Kaye, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Robert "Bob" Taylor, Jon Walton (ts), Joe Rushton (bsx), Lee Castle, Robert "Bobby" Guyer, Ray Linn (t), Charlie Castaldo, Miff Mole (tb), Bart Roth (g), Gus Van Camp (b), Jess Stacy (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Slender, Tender And Tall(Mike Jackson, Hughie Prince)
unissued




Performances

1. "Slender, Tender And Tall"
This March 20 date contains Peggy Lee's last surviving concert performance as vocalist with The Benny Goodman Orchestra. Ensuing extant performances from the Palladium (starting with one from March 24) feature Frances Hunt as, apparently, a temporary replacement. (Lee returned to the Goodman fold for some later engagements within the first half of 1943, but none of her return performances are known to have survived. From the mid-1940s onwards, Lee would also participate in various musical reunions with Benny Goodman, but by then she was being primarily billed as a solo artist -- not as someone still working in her former capacity as a canary.)

2. Extant Repertoire By The Orchestra
Curious readers might want to know more about the selections heard in the remotes under scrutiny. From this date's extant broadcast, the surviving set of performances runs as follows:

"Drip, Drop" - vocal by Benny Goodman
"Slender, Tender And Tall" - vocal by Peggy Lee
"Air Mail Special" - instrumental by the Goodman Orchestra
"Goodbye" - instrumental by the Goodman Orchestra (its closing theme)

3. Other Goodman Versions Of "Slender, Tender And Tall"
Among the various other Goodman audio items from this period that are extant, there is a sustaining CBS broadcast from the Hollywood Palladium earlier this month (March 9, 1943). According to Goodman discographer David Jessup, it includes a version of "Slender, Tender And Tall" which is, in that particular case, an instrumental.


Photo

Backstage at the Hollywood Palladium, Peggy Lee with an unidentified gathering of people.




IX. CALIFORNIA: THE TWILIGHT MONTHS (SANTA MONICA'S CASINO GARDENS, DOWNTOWN L.A.'S ORPHEUM THEATER, SAN FRANCISCO'S GOLDEN GATE THEATER)

After a year and a half of continuous work as Benny Goodman's canary, Peggy Lee disappeared from the bandleader's dates in mid-March of 1943.  The likely reasons for Lee's absence will be discussed at some length in this discography's overview of Lee's period with Goodman.  Herein, suffice it to give as one reason the fact that she had recently married guitarist Dave Barbour, who had been fired by Goodman not long before the wedding. 

As already mentioned, Peggy Lee's last extant vocals as the King of Swing's canary come from his band's highly successful engagement at the Hollywood Palladium.  That six-week-long run had begun on February 23 and would conclude on April 4, 1943.  The last extant broadcast to feature Lee is from March 20 -- i.e., 23 days into the 36-days-long engagement.  (n.b.:  This count does not factor in Mondays, for band and bandleader were off on that weekday.)  After March 20, all extant Palladium broadcasts feature a different singer (Frances Hunt).  

There is also no indication of Lee's presence during the Goodman Orchestra's filming of scenes for the film The Girl He Left Behind, which took place in late March and early April of 1943.  (Retitled The Gang's All Here, the movie would premiere in December of the same year.  During an interview several decades later, Lee actually mentioned that she had filmed a music segment with this movie's director, Busby Berkeley.  However, her mention points to a different film -- one that was not directed by Berkeley. Hence her recollection of Berkeley's involvement might be inaccurate.  Still, even if partially erroneous, Lee's reminiscence does raise the possibility that she could have present during the filming of The Gang's All Here.  This topic will receive more detailed coverage in this discography's film section, which is, at the moment, under construction.)

In any case,  Lee's absence from the Goodman nest was not permanent.  She was back to performing with the orchestra later in April, and she is also known to have done a couple of additional engagements in June. Some specifics will be provided right after the images shown immediately below.




 

The earliest of Lee's three documented re-appearances is an one-night stand on Saturday, April 24, 1943 at the Casino Gardens in Santa Monica's Ocean Park district.  (My source on this particular matter is a brief article published by Billboard magazine in its May 7, 1943 issue.)  One week earlier (on Saturday, April 17), Goodman had also played at the Long Beach Civic Auditorium, but I have found no details about the identity of the date's canary -- if any -- on that particular date. (Although Peggy Lee's name should certainly be included in the list of possible names, the merits of nominating her are tempered by two statements made in the aforementioned Billboard article:  (1) Lee's date with Goodman at the Casino Gardens is described as her return to the bandleader's fold, and (2) Frances Hunt is identified as someone who had hitherto "been subbing for Miss Lee.")

Peggy Lee's two other documented appearances with The Benny Goodman Orchestra were actually week-long engagements.  From Wednesday, June 2 to Tuesday, June 8, 1943, the band played at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles.  In a review of the opening night, Variety remarked that Goodman and company would be doing five shows a day instead of the "usual four appearances for names at the house." The ensemble was commended for having "less noise and more rhythm than in its swingiest days." Furthermore, an afternoon date (Wednesday, June 5, 1943) was reviewed at length by Billboard's Sam Abbott on the June 12 issue of the magazine.  He tells us that "Peggy Lee, Goodman trush, hit strong on Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Why Don't You Do Right?, Taking A Chance On Love, and On The Sunny Side Of The Street." The same tunes had been listed by the Variety reviewer, for whom Lee had "sold" the numbers "effectively." In the Billboard review,  Abbott similarly writes that "Miss Lee capitalized on her selling ability.  Applause plentiful." 

From the same issue, another article (with a Los Angeles, June 5 byline) informs us about other matters pertaining to Peggy Lee's schedule for the year:  "[t]he blonde chanteuse this week revealed she will become a mother in the fall, and after appearing with Goodman at the Golden Gate Theater, San Francisco, this week she will return here to await for the stork."  (The punctuation used in the quoted sentence may be misleading. I suspect that the comma placed after "Francisco" actually needed to be after the phrase that ensues -- "this week.") Articles from ensuing Billboard issues point to the starting date of this Golden Gate engagement as either the 9th or the 10th, with the closing date falling on either the 15th or the 16th.

It is worth adding that these Billboard reports from San Francisco find an echo in the following comment from Peggy Lee's autobiography:  "Benny had convinced David and me that I should go to the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco and play with him there for one week."  Was she referring to the same engagement? It would seem so, even though Lee does not supply a date.  However, it would be reasonable to assume instead that the dating for the Golden Gate engagement to which she refers was 1945 or 1946, because her autobiographical narrative surrounds her comment with events that are clearly from those years. ("Now the recordings began in earnest at Capitol," the preceding paragraph of her autobiography states.)  It should be pointed out, however, that Lee was evoking a gig which, at the time of her writing, had happened over 40 years ago.  For that reason, she could have easily misremembered the engagement as having happened two or three years after it actually did.  (Alternatively, Lee could have indeed joined Goodman in San Francisco in mid-1943 and then again ca. 1945, but I am finding no indication pointing to this alternative.)

One additional Billboard article points to the likelihood that Peggy Lee was no longer around the Benny Goodman band by June the 15th. The article tell us that new vocalist (E'lane) had "joined Goodman in San Francisco Tuesday (15) night" and explains that Miss Lee had had to "leave the Goodman organization due to approaching motherhood." (The reporter does not explicitly indicate, however, that E'lane sang on that night. Thus Lee could have still been at her canary post on the 15th, and she could have sung all or most of the date's numbers.) Another article explains that "Goodman began looking for a replacement for Lee during his Orpheum Theater date here" because her pregnancy prevented her from going to "New York as featured vocalist with Benny Goodman's band to open at the Hotel Astor Roof June 28."

In summary:  Lee's canary period under the wing of Benny Goodman went into its last phase between late March and June of 1943, when it fully ended.  Unfortunately, not enough is known about Goodman's performing itinerary for the months in question (April-June 1943), and the full extent of Peggy Lee's professional outings during that period is similarly nebulous.  The canary definitely rejoined The Benny Goodman Orchestra during the period, performing with them in at least three California venues (Casino Gardens in April, Orpheum Theater and Golden Gate Theater in June), with a fourth LA locale (Long Beach Civic Auditorium) as an additional but less likely possibility.

As for the intervening month of May, I have no knowledge of Goodman performances within those 31 days.  Some dates could have very well happened, especially toward the end of the month.  It is just as likely, though, that Benny Goodman remained at home for an extended period that covered all or most of May.  The reason for this admittedly uncharacteristic pattern of behavior in the bandleader's workaholic life would have been the arrival of his first-born on May 2, 1943.  Goodman discographer Russ Connor indeed believed that "in main Benny stayed with [wife] Alice and [baby] Rachel," although he added as a caveat that, according to the bandleader's own vague memories, "the band played for station personnel at various military installations, but the specifics have faded with the passing years."

For details about Goodman-Lee reunions that took place after the period covered by the bulk of this page, see both the section below and the last section of this overview.  


Photos: Images of the three Californian venues where Peggy Lee is known to have sung with The Benny Goodman Orchestra between April and June of 1943. The first image shows the exterior of Ocean Park's Casino Gardens as it looked in the 1940s, and the second features a menu from the venue's cocktail lounge.  In 1944, Tommy Dorsey had bought it in partnership with his brother Jimmy and fellow bandleader Harry James.  (Dorsey's purchase is said to have been triggered in part by a competitive spirit and by spite, after the collapse of his relationship with the Hollywood Palladium, a venue that he had inaugurated.)  One of the many dance halls located in or around the touristic Ocean Park Pier, this ballroom was estimated to be able to hold 37,000 dancers, and garnered popular attention for its policy of hosting only big-name bands.   Post-war, however, big band music began to lose its top spot in the music world, and attendance at ballrooms such as the Casino Gardens started to dwindle.  Hence, during the late 1940s, the number of operating nights were diminished from six to four to weekends only.  It essentially closed in 1950, remaining available only for private dances.  In 1951, the latest of various negotiations aiming at selling back the place to its previous owner (Bernie Cohen) failed to go through.

Photos (continued): Shown in the next couple of images is one of the six Los Angeles theaters that went by the name of the Orpheum -- though, in most cases, not simultaneously. ("Orpheum" was the name of a theatrical chain that in time became part of the Radio Keith-Orpheum corporation, otherwise known as RKO. It was also used by other companies, thereby becoming overused.) This particular theatre, located on 842 S. Broadway, remains in place to date, and has kept the"Orpheum" name. I believe it to have been the space where Peggy Lee performed, as part of Benny Goodman's group, in June of 1943. Completed in 1926, this theater initially catered to the vaudeville circuit, but by 1929 it had transitioned into a movie house, and by the 1940s had adopted the common policy of daily programs that combined a movie with live performers, including a band.  It can be seen in two of the photos above (the exterior in image #3, the interior in image #4), which date from the first half of the twentieth century. The interior has been frequently featured in Hollywood films -- e.g., Hitchcock, Ed Wood, Barton Fink.

Photos (continued): The remaining photos spotlight the Golden Gate in San Francisco (exterior and interior), as it looked at one point during the first half of the twentieth century.  Also part of the same circuit as the aforementioned Orpheum, the Golden Gate went through similar transformations in the programming that it offered, from featuring mostly vaudeville acts during the years following its opening (1922) to functioning mostly as a movie house between 1954 and its year of closure (1972). After the SHN (Shorenstein Hays Nederlander) theatrical production company acquired it in 1979, the Golden Gate Theater reshaped itself into a site well-known for its previews and presentations of Broadway shows.  In that capacity, it has survived the test of time.  
  


X. PERFORMANCES BROADCAST FROM INSIDE THE STUDIOS OF THE RADIO NETWORKS




On The Radio

So far, the numbers listed in this page have come from concerts and dance shows that were simulcast over the radio airwaves. Next up are a handful of songs that Peggy Lee and the Benny Goodman Orchestra performed expressly for two radio networks, possibly within facilities provided by such networks (AFR and NBC).

Actually, all the vocals under scrutiny (including the NBC ones) were either sung for or eventually re-broadcast by the Armed Forces Radio network. The first four come from the earliest AFRS shows known to have included original performances -- as opposed to Columbia recordings -- by Lee and by Goodman himself. ("Known" is the operative word in the preceding sentence. Before a more categorical assertion can be made, the matter will require further in-depth research.)

As for the other two vocals, they come from a mid-1940s NBC show that Benny Goodman regularly hosted, and which was rebroadcast by the AFRS network. This second broadcast thus falls outside of the 1941-1943 perimeters to which this page is circumscribed, but it is included here on account of its strong connection to the rest of the material. What's more, a sense of deja vu permeates Peggy Lee's appearance in the broadcast. Lee's first selection is a reprise of the most remembered number from her days with The Benny Goodman Orchestra. Then, for old times' sake, she is featured in a pairing with her former counterpart, Art London, the band's boy vocalist. Amidst all the nostalgia, some significant differences between "then" and "now" were very much on display, however. Back from military service, London was returning to the airwaves with an intentionally altered name (Lund instead of London). For her part, Peggy Lee had become a solo artist with various solid hits under her belt, including the self-penned composition which she and Lund performed as a duet.

Photos:  (1) Front cover of a CD that contains the 1946 AFRS Benny Goodman show in which Peggy Lee guests.  (2) A photo of Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee, and Dave Barbour together, with the bandleader finger-pointing at the man that his canary had just caged.  Published by the magazine Metronome in April 1943, this photo may have actually been taken at the March 1943 AFRS broadcast highlighted below.  (3) A publicity photo of the groom.


Date: March 6, 1943
Location: Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl), Leonard Kaye, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Robert "Bob" Taylor, Jon Walton (ts), Joe Rushton (bsx), Lee Castle, Robert "Bobby" Guyer, Ray Linn (t), Charlie Castaldo, Miff Mole (tb), Bart Roth (g), Gus Van Camp (b), Jess Stacy (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantGuest Spot (AFRS) Why Don't You Do Right?(Joe McCoy)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscProgram No. 56 — Command Performance [The Benny Goodman Orchestra, The Bombardiers, Alan Hale, Sons Of The Pioneers, Mabel Todd]   (1943)

Sources

1. Command Performance, U.S.A! [Book]
Most of my details about this entry come from Harry MacKenzie’s books, especially Command Performance, U.S.A.!: A Discography. Various online sources were consulted as well, but, on the matter of this particular episode, they contained the same details found in that text.

2. Command Performance [Radio Show]
Programs such as Command Performance and Downbeat were created so early in the history of the Armed Forces Radio Service that the organization had not even adopted that name yet. From July of 1942 to November of 1943, the AFRS was going instead by the name of the Special Services Division, aka SSD. (Even earlier, it had been known as the Morale Service Division.)

Of the shows that the division produced for the avowed purposes of "entertaining the troops and boosting their morale", Command Performance became the most popular. Originally produced by the Bureau of Public Relations, the Special Services Division took over the show on December 15, 1942. Original programming continued to be produced until episode #415 (December 20, 1949). Afterwards, and according to MacKenzie, seemingly new episodes consisted of "previously recorded material ... with an new announcer and star, to preserve continuity."

Command Performance was essentially a variety show. Most episodes featured not only bands and singers but also actors, comedians, and other entertainers. The format centered around an extended sketch in which many of the entertainers participated. (Obviously, they performed individually, too.) In the 56th episode of the series, The Benny Goodman Orchestra was among the entertainers, along with the band's vocalist, Peggy Lee. As already mentioned in a previous entry, this appearance seems to have been the earliest made by Goodman's in an SSD/AFRS program . It also seems to be Peggy Lee's earliest. (Full confirmation will require further research.)


Personnel

1. The Benny Goodman Orchestra
Aside from Goodman and Lee, the participation of the above-listed musicians should be deemed collective. (The names were culled from contemporaneous dates.)

2. The Command Performers
Compiler Harry MacKenzie lists this episode's scheduled performers as follows: “The Bombardiers, Mabel Todd, Alan Hale, Sons of the Pioneers, Peggy Lee with the Benny Goodman Orchestra and Unidentified Orchestra.” Ginny Simms was the scheduled mistress of ceremonies (a role that she frequently undertook for this show), Ken Carpenter the regular announcer.


Issues

1. Command Performance U.S.A., Program No. 56 [Transcription Disc]
I have not listened to this disc, in which the contents of the episode under discussion can be found. Besides the details gathered from MacKenzie's books, I am aware of the title of the song that Peggy Lee performed, and a few details gathered from an online photo of the disc. Notice also that Armed Forces Radio Service is an umbrella term that this discographer uses as a collective label for transcription discs produced by the AFR network. This particular disc identifies itself as a production of the War Department, Special Services division.


Venue And Date

Many episodes of Command Performance are known to have been broadcast from the Columbia Square Playhouse at 6121 Sunset Boulevard, in Hollywood. I do not know if the case applies to the program under discussion. (The earliest Command Performance shows seem to have been broadcast from different military headquarters, instead.) Even if the program was indeed broadcast from a location such as Columbia Square Playhouse, there is always the possibility that its Goodman portion was a remote. Similarly, the known recording date (March 6, 1943) could apply to only some of the performers, rather than all of them. (To reiterate, I have not listened to this episode, and an thus only speculate on a number of matters pertaining to its contents.)


Date: Between March 9 And March 23, 1943
Location: Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Benny Goodman (ldr), The Benny Goodman Orchestra (acc), Benny Goodman (cl, v), Leonard Kaye, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Robert "Bob" Taylor, Jon Walton (ts), Joe Rushton (bsx), Lee Castle, Robert "Bobby" Guyer, Ray Linn (t), Charlie Castaldo, Miff Mole (tb), Bart Roth (g), Gus Van Camp (b), Jess Stacy (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Don't Believe In Rumors - 3:35(Harry Glick, Jimmy Lambert)
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Love A Piano(Irving Berlin)
Swing House Collectors' Label CS/LP(United Kingdom) Cswk/Swh 46 — [Benny Goodman] "Command Performance"   (1984)
Magic/Submarine Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Dawe 102 — Why Don't You Do Right?; 1943-1947   (2001)
Sounds Of Yesteryear Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Dsoy 636 — [Benny Goodman] "Command Performance"   (2004)
c. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Why Don't You Do Right?(Joe McCoy) / arr: Mel Powell
Swing House Collectors' Label CS/LP(United Kingdom) Cswk/Swh 46 — [Benny Goodman] "Command Performance"   (1984)
Magic/Submarine Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Dawe 102 — Why Don't You Do Right?; 1943-1947   (2001)
Sounds Of Yesteryear Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Dsoy 636 — [Benny Goodman] "Command Performance"   (2004)
All titles on: Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscProgram No. 25 — Downbeat   (1943)

Audio Sources

1. Downbeat
Programs such as Downbeat and Command Performance were created so early in the history of the Armed Forces Radio Service that the organization did not even have that name yet. Before November 1943, the AFRS went by the name of the Special Services Division. Downbeat was among the first music programs that the division produced, for the avowed purposes of entertaining the troops and boosting their morale. Having debuted its Downbeat installments on September 23, 1942, the Service continued to run the show until 1950 (or, according to another source, 1948), totaling about 255 episodes. In the 25th episode of the series, The Benny Goodman Orchestra was featured, along with their vocalist, Peggy Lee.


Dating

None of the documentation at my reach reveals the exact date on which this show was recorded. However, a helpful clue is supplied by the show itself. During the broadcast, Benny Goodman makes mention of Peggy Lee's then-recent marriage to Dave Barbour. That comment allowed Goodman discographer Russ Connor to assign an approximate date: either February or March 1943. I can further circumscribe that qualifying period. Since I know the Barbour-Lee marriage to have taken place on March 8, 1943, and since Goodman had begun to use another female vocalist by March 24, 1943, we can reduce the qualifying period from two months to less than two weeks. (The closing date is, naturally, more tentative than the starting date.)


Personnel

1. Benny Goodman
Bandleader Benny Goodman shares vocal duties with Peggy Lee on "I Love A Piano" only.


Issues

1. Downbeat, Program No. 25 [Transcription Disc]
Although this discography's database identifies the Armed Forces Radio Service as the label of the transcription disc under discussion, I should restate that, at this early time in its history, the AFRS did not have such a name yet. As already mentioned, it was instead known as the Special Services Division. Hence, judging from other contemporaneous discs that I have seen, this transcription disc's label is likely to read as follows: "War Department, Special Services Division, Information Branch, Radio-Phono, Downbeat." I do know that one side of the disc identifies itself as part I of the show, the other as part II. Of the above-listed numbers, I Don't Believe In Rumors is the only one on the first side.


Date: August 26, 1946
Location: Manhattan, New York

Benny Goodman (ldr), Benny Goodman (cl), Larry Molinelle, Herman "Hymie" Sche[r]tzer (as), Lester Clark, Cliff Strickland (ts), Al Klink (bar), John Best, Nate Kazebier, Dick Mains, Dale "Mickey" McMickle (t), Leon Cox, Cutty Cutshall (tb), Addison Collins (frh), Mike Bryan (g), Bernard aka Barney Spieler (b), Joe Bushkin (p), Louis Bellson (d), Peggy Lee, Art London aka Art Lund (v)

a. ExtantBen. Goodman Show Why Don't You Do Right? - 2:44(Joe McCoy) / arr: Mel Powell
b. ExtantBen. Goodman Show I Don't Know Enough About You - 1:45(Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee)
Magic/Submarine Collectors' Label CS/LP(United Kingdom) Cawe/Awe 23 — [Benny Goodman] The Benny Goodman Memorial Album   (1986)
Sounds Of Yesteryear Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Dsoy 731 — [Benny Goodman] Remember   (2007)
Both titles on: Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscProgram 9 — [Benny Goodman] The Benny Goodman Show   (1946)
Sounds Of Yesteryear Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Dsoy 840 — [Benny Goodman] The Complete AFRS Benny Goodman Shows (#9 & #10), Volume Five   (2011)





Audio Sources

1. The Victor Borge Show, Starring Benny Goodman
2. The Mobilgas Program
3. The Benny Goodman Show
The Benny Goodman Show was broadcast by NBC on Monday evenings at 9:30 p.m. (or according to less reliable sources, at either 7:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.), then re-broadcast or 'transcribed' by the Armed Forces Radio network. Due to its sponsorship, the half-an-hour show was also known as The Mobilgas Program. It lasted for a full season, from June 1946 to June 1947, reaching a total of 50 episodes. Peggy Lee appeared in the season's ninth installment, and sang the above-listed numbers. (After the 10th episode, the show underwent an overhaul. It moved from New York to Hollywood, acquired comedian Victor Borge, and changed its name to The Victor Borge Show, Starring Benny Goodman.)

4. Benny Goodman Music Festival
On this same date (August 26, 1946) at 9:30 p.m., NBC's New York radio station WEAF broadcast a program that contemporaraneous newspaper and magazine radio schedules listed under the name of Benny Goodman Music Festival, and which featured Peggy Lee as its guest. No additional information about this program is available to me. Despite the different name, I am assuming that this is actually the same episode of The Benny Goodman Show that I am discussing under this entry.


Personnel

1. Art Lund
Art Lund shares vocal duties with Peggy Lee on "I Don't Know Enough About You" only.

2. Musicians
Aside from the bandleader and the vocalists, the above-listed personnel should be deemed tentative.


Photos

Above: Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee in 1946. He was shot during a rehearsal for The Victor Borge Show, Starring Benny Goodman. Her Metronome front cover appeared in that magazine's August issue -- i.e., the same month as the guest episode under discussion. Below: The date of the photo seen below is unknown to me, and so are the location and context under which it was taken. Judging from Peggy Lee's looks, I believe it to date from 1946, with 1947 and 1945 as secondary possibilities. I also find it likely that the occasion was the rehearsal for or even the broadcasting of this episode, but I count with no evidence on the matter.






General Notes And Song Index



Song Index

The following index lists all the performances that have been covered in this page, along with the date on which each was performed.

1. As Time Goes By (February 13, 1943)
2. Blues In The Night (January 1, 1942)
3. Blues In The Night (January 20, 1942)
4. Blues In The Night (January 24, 1942)
5. Blues In The Night (February 14, 1942)
6. Blues In The Night (Between January 1 And March 12, 1942)
7. Blues In The Night (Early October 1942)
8. Cow Cow Boogie (Mid-October 1942)
9. Cow Cow Boogie (October 19, 1942)
10. Daddy (August 24, 1941)
11. Don't Get Around Much Anymore (Between Late November 1942 And Early 1943)
12. Don't Get Around Much Anymore (March 13, 1943)
13. Ev'rything I Love (November 29, 1941)
14. Ev'rything I Love (December 5, 1941)
15. Ev'rything I Love (December 6, 1941)
16. Ev'rything I Love (February 17, 1942)
17. How Do You Do Without Me? (January 20, 1942)
18. How Long Has This Been Going On? (December 2, 1941)
19. How Long Has This Been Going On? (February 14, 1942)
20. I Don't Believe In Rumors (Between March 9 And March 23, 1943)
21. I Don't Know Enough About You (August 26, 1946)
22. I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire (September 13 Or 20, 1941)
23. I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire (October 22, 1941)
24. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good (September 27, 1941)
25. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good (October 27, 1941)
26. I Had The Craziest Dream (November 12, 1942)
27. I Lost My Sugar In Salt Lake City (Between Late November 1942 And Early 1943)
28. I Lost My Sugar In Salt Lake City (Between Late November 1942 And Early 1943)
29. I Love A Piano (February 28, 1943)
30. I Love A Piano (Between March 9 And March 23, 1943)
31. I See A Million People (September 17, 1941)
32. I See A Million People (October 22, 1941)
33. If You Build A Better Mousetrap (April 24, 1942)
34. It's So Peaceful In The Country (September 13, 1941)
35. It's So Peaceful In The Country (September 20, 1941)
36. Lamp Of Memory, The (March 5, 1942)
37. Let's Do It (September 16, 1941)
38. Let's Do It (November 14, 1941)
39. Man I Love, The (October 27, 1941)
40. Mister Five By Five (November 12, 1942)
41. More Than You Know (November 7, 1941)
42. My Little Cousin (February 6, 1942)
43. My Little Cousin (March 5, 1942)
44. Not Mine (Between January 1 And March 12, 1942)
45. On The Sunny Side Of The Street (Possibly December 1941)
46. Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition (October 19, 1942)
47. Roll 'Em (December 4, 1942)
48. Shrine Of St. Cecilia, The (October 26, 1941)
49. Skylark (February 17, 1942)
50. Slender, Tender And Tall (March 20, 1943)
51. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (September 16, 1941)
52. Soft As Spring (October 4, 1941)
53. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place (November 13, 1941)
54. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place (December 9, 1941)
55. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place (April 24, 1942)
56. Somebody Nobody Loves (February 3, 1942)
57. Somebody Nobody Loves (Between January 1 And March 12, 1942)
58. That Did It, Marie (November 1, 1941)
59. That Did It, Marie (Between January 1 And March 12, 1942)
60. That Soldier Of Mine (Between Late November 1942 And Early 1943)
61. That's The Way It Goes (September 27, 1941)
62. These Foolish Things (August 10, 1942)
63. We'll Meet Again (March 2, 1942)
64. We'll Meet Again (May 11, 1942)
65. When The Sun Comes Out (September 11, 1941)
66. Why Don't We Do This More Often? (November 7, 1941)
67. Why Don't You Do Right? (December 3, 1942)
68. Why Don't You Do Right? (December 26, 1942)
69. Why Don't You Do Right? (Between Late November 1942 And Early 1943)
70. Why Don't You Do Right? (Between Late November 1942 And Early 1943)
71. Why Don't You Do Right? (Between Late November 1942 And Early 1943)
72. Why Don't You Do Right? (on or around March 6, 1943)
73. Why Don't You Do Right? (Between March 9 And March 23, 1943)
74. Why Don't You Do Right? (August 26, 1946)
75. Winter Weather (November 22, 1941)
76. Winter Weather (Possibly December 1941)


The following numbers were probably sung by Lee with The Benny Goodman Orchestra, but no traces of preserved performances have been found so far:

(77). Knock Me A Kiss
(78). Let's Fall In Love
(79.) Taking A Chance On Love
(80). A Zoot Suit (For My Sunday Gal)


Preservation Of The Sources

As has been made amply evident throughout this page, radio broadcasting was partially responsible for the preservation of the above-listed live performances. During the 1941-43 period under consideration, all 69 surviving vocals were preserved as part of so-called remotes, or live broadcasts. To make transmission possible, the networks' engineers would go to the venue where the band was performing, and would set up the equipment necessary for broadcasting the ongoing performances from the given location.

It should also be noted that many of the broadcasts in question fall within the sustaining category; relatively few were sponsored. From the perspective of radio stations, sustaining broadcasts were time fillers. The radio network would catch up with the performing orchestra just for the minutes that the stations need to fill; then the signal would be cut, even when a performance was in progress. Taking into account the degree of randomness at play, we can consider ourselves fortunate for the fair number of Lee vocals that sustaining broadcasts happened to pick up.

A more direct factor in the preservation of these big band performances was the commercial availability of disc recorders for home use, starting around 1940. Following their purchase of a home recorder, affluent music fans were able to record their favorite acts' performances off the radio, if and when so inclined.

Fan enthusiasm was, of course, a key element as well. Extant recordings made by radio stations, or airchecks commissioned by participants and other parties, seem to be comparatively rare within the period under discussion -- not just for Goodman and his band, but for all orchestras in currency back then.

Home recorders made use of lacquer or "acetate" discs. Commonly, acetates for home use ran at 78 rpm and were able to hold from two to five minutes of music. The relatively short duration of each side of a given disc accounts for the incompleteness of many extant performances. (A few home recorders offered a 33.3 rpm option, thereby allowing for a longer recording span, but causing, in the process, further decrease in sound fidelity.) Another reason for truncated broadcasts was that -- as already mentioned at the outset of this page -- networks were wont to cut the transmission signal as soon as the station was ready to go back to its regularly scheduled programming.

The Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies is the current repository of most of Goodman's private collection of music materials, including many of the numbers discussed herein. Nowadays, these Benny Goodman performances survive chiefly on tape transfers and digital sources. Curious fans might have noticed that many of them have never been issued, and might want to know about the prospects of a release. The prospects seem almost null. Bearing in mind the truly 'remote' quality of the original physical sources (i.e., acetates of live dates, transmitted on and recorded off the radio), the fact that most surviving performances are deemed unsuitable for commercial release should not come as a surprise.


Photos

Above: Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee in performance, location unknown, year likely to be 1942 or 1943. Below: Goodman and Lee together again, location again unknown, year likely to be 1965, when the pair did a series of reunion concerts.




Sessions Reported: 51

Performances Reported: 76

Unique Songs Reported: 44

Unique Issues Reported: 19