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

by Iván Santiago-Mercado

Page generated on Jun 8, 2018




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 Engagement's Schedule & Preservation

Benny Goodman And His Orchestra performed in Chicago's Sherman House Hotel from July 25 to August 28, 1941. From those five weeks, there are still over a dozen extant airchecks. (Back then, engagements by name bands were commonly broadcasted by the radio networks across the nation, and the broadcast have been preserved because of recordings made of them, on lacquer or "acetate" discs. Naturally, a band's engagement at a club would run for hours. The radio networks were contracted to keep their lines open for only short periods of time, however. Hence the resulting airchecks capture only segments of the full engagements. Moreover, the lacquer disc had space for only so many songs, and not everybody who recorded on disc was diligent about the process. I have noticed an average of three to five songs per aircheck, but finding some with a little as just one tune is by no means rare. (For commentary on the above-shown photos, scroll down to the end of this section.)


Preservation Of The Music

The earliest aircheck to have been preserved from this 1941 Goodman engagement bears a July 31 date. The last sone preserved eems to have taken place during the final, August the 28th evening. (Incidentally, club engagements could run or even start past midnight. Hence, strictly speaking, August the 29th could be the factual last date of the gig we are discussing.)

Not surprisingly, airchecks are prone to feature instrumentals more frequently than vocals. In the particular case of these dates at the Sherman Hotel, we must also bear in mind that (as will be explained shortly) Peggy Lee joined it weeks after it had already started.

The upshot of all the above-mentioned circumstances is that, out of the approximate dozen, Peggy Lee is heard in just one extant aircheck, on only one performance. Details about that performance will be given below, after the conclusion of my general comments about this Goodman engagement, his hiring of Peggy Lee, and the venue on which they first performed together in concert.


Attendance Numbers

Published on the September 6, 1941 issue of Billboard, a short article titled "Goodman Shatters Chi Sherman Record," reported 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." Variety had actually reported the number of patrons for each of Goodman's weeks at : 5700 (first week), 5800 (second week), 5900 (third week, when Lee might have joined), 6100 (fourth week by which time Lee was definitely performing) and about 3800 (five-day week, with no weekend performing). At this 700-seat room, Goodman had been preceded by Jimmy Dorsey, whose numbers had also been good (e.g., $5,800 for his final week). On Saturday, August the 29th, Lionel Hampton would become the next act to open at the Panther Room, which required an $1.00 to $2.00 cover minimum.

back on Sunday, August 19, a free concert at Grant Park's bandshell had served as further evidence of Goodman's popularity. Widely reviewed by the local press, that open-air appearance attracted a crowd of 50,000 people, who came in and stayed despite a heavy rainstorm. Goodman's previous canary, Helen Forrest, was part of this ensemble; Peggy Lee is not mentioned in any of the reports that I have located.


Peggy Lee: The Hiring

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. (The most commonly cited date is August the 1st.)

Variety broke the news nationwide, with a short paragraph published on its August 6, 1941 issue. "Helen forrest handed quitting notice to Benny Goodman last week at The Sherman Hotel, Chicago," the periodical simply stated, adding only that "[s]he has no immediate plans."

Peggy Lee was Helen Forrest's 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 ..." (As we will see shortly, the alleged date of departure should not be taken to mean that Lee started around July the 22nd. In her autobiography, Forrest stated that she had to share the stage with Lee for a while, before Goodman allowed her to leave.)


Peggy Lee: An Attempt At Pinpointing The Date Of Her Sherman Debut

"I started singing with the Goodman band in the middle of their College Inn engagement in Chicago," asserts Peggy Lee in her own autobiography. She must have thus joined the orchestra in mid-August 1941. The exact day is unknown, though educated guesses can be made. An extant broadcast proves that Forrest was still serving as Goodman's singer at the Panther Room 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 could 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 Buttery 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 Sunday, August 17, 1941, she sang with Goodman and his orchestra at a special, oven-field concert in Chicago. (I have not listened to this remote, but I do count with corroboration for its happening: a Variety article and a reference made in print bt Goodman's premiere discographer, Russ Connor. Further details can be found under the Attendance sub-section below.)

In any case, the presence of Helen Forrest on the August 17 special concert should not be taken to mean that Peggy Lee was yet to join Goodman's orchestra. 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; throat illness was given as an excuse.

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 two remotes from the first half of August of 1941 do feature vocals sung by Forrest.


Peggy Lee: An Assessment Of Her Dates At The Sherman

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.

Viewers still interested in the last two sub-topics at hand should also consult my more general write-up about Lee's years with Goodman, in which the main points made above receive reprisal and additional elaboration.


A Short History Of 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 -- on the eighth image above -- and Tommy Dorsey -- on the tenth image above. (11) Seen below is The Benny Goodman Orchestra at the Sherman Hotel in 1941, exact date unknown -- but presumed to fall within the July 25-August 29 engagement, halfway through which Lee was hired. This particular version of the photo was see as the front and back covers of a CD booklet titled Roll 'em!.





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. Performances By Other Acts
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"). The instrumentals were broadcast in full, and have been preserved. Taylor's vocal suffered, on the other hand, the same fate as Lee's "Daddy": both are incomplete.

As a general clarification, I should add that this broadcast is one of only two on which I have intentionally incorporated commentary about non-Lee performances. The last of the broadcasts listed (March 20, 1943) is the other one. Such non-Lee details are outside of my areas of interest, but I have wanted to selectively include them as a concession to any curious fans of
swing and Goodman. (Non-Lee material also managed to sneak itself amidst the notes for the broadcasts dated November 7 and 14, 1941; July 15, 1942; and August 10, 1942.)


II. THE CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION AND OTHER ONE-NIGHTERS





Itinerary

Immediately after the conclusion of their month-long engagement at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago, 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. (The closing of the Chicago engagement is variously listed as August 28 or August 29. Most likely, its last performance was on the evening of the 28th, running past midnight.) Unfortunately, no broadcasts of the band's show are known to exist.

The Toronto Event

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 of the visiting bands 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.)


The One-Nighter Life (A Mostly Anecdotal Account)

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









Schedule

Benny Goodman's next engagement took him and his orchestra to Newark, New Jersey. Therein, they took residence at Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook for three weeks, from September 11 to October 8, 1941. About 20 resulting broadcasts are extant; collectively, they offer a total of 10 Peggy Lee vocals. (Incidentally, September the 11th is the correct date. After prematurely announcing that the opening would take place on September 15, Variety later amended the day to the 11th.)


Preservation

About 20 broadcasts from this Goodman visit to New Jersey's Cedar Grove have been preserved. Unlike those from the Sherman Hotel, this batch often offers more than five performances per broadcast. Peggy Lee is served well, with a total of 10 performances in the batch. Those are itemized below, following my general comments about the engagement and the venue.


Attendance Numbers

At the Meadowbook, "Goodman drew about 1,000 opening night (Thursday) and a few short of 1,700 Saturday (13)," Variety reported on its September 17, 1941 issue. Up until that time, that last figure ranked as "the highest number of patrons that ever has been packed into the spot," added the magazine. (The previous records had been set by Sammy Kaye a few months earlier. Kaye had in turn bested the records held in earlier years by Glen Miller and The Dorseys.)


The Venue

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 LP1097 — [Benny Goodman] One Night Stand With Benny Goodman At The Meadowbrook   
Joyce Record Club Collectors' Label LP1056 — [Benny Goodman] One Night Stand With Benny Goodman   

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)
Acrobat Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Addcd 3216 — Peggy Lee With The Benny Goodman Orchestra, 1941-47   (2017)

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







Schedule (Part I)

With their three-week engagement at Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook over on October 8, 1941, The Benny Goodman Orchestra moved on to their next set of appearances, scheduled to start the very next day (the 9th) at the New Yorker Hotel in the Big Apple. On its October 15, 1941 issue, a Variety review announced the engagement and its personnel as follows: "Terrace Room, N. Y. (Hotel New Yorker) Benny Goodman Orch. with Pegqy Lee, Tommy Taylor; Ice Show with Adele Inge, Bill & Betty Wade, Ronny Roberts, Ice Ballet (6), Bob Russell: 75c cover weekdays, $1 weekends."  Later Variety issues included notices listing essentially the same participants: "Hotel New Yorker. Benny Goodman O. Cottie Williams. Peggy Lee. Tommy Taylor. Adele Inge. B & B Wade. Ronny Roberts. Ice Ballet" (November 5, 1941 issue).


Historical Relevance (In The Annals Of Goodman's And Lee's Careers)

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."

As the weeks passed, however, the band's reputation took a turn for the better. Slowly but surely, Lee, Goodman, and the band started to beat their naysayers' objections, bringing even the harshest critics to their side. They could not help but notice the overtly enthusiastic response from the paying audience at the posh, upscale venue. "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 gig's success amidst the target clientele could not be denied. Neither could the display of talent onstage, or the bandleader's musical reputation. All those reasons probably factored into the assessments of professional critics, who then began to change their tune.

The bandleader's ability to be musically adaptable must have played a major role in the critical turnaround, too. After initial write-ups such as the one quoted above, Goodman and his orchestra apparently made changes to their musical approach. Or so critics sensed. 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 proceeded to point out a noticeable improvement on Lee's vocals, both live and on record. George Simon is worth quoting in this regard as well. One of several press reviewers who expressed growing 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." And the November 19, 1941 Variety review of Columbia single no. 36421 ("I Got It Bad" / "Pound Ridge") started as follows: "Goodman is making a lot of guys eat words; few gave Lee a chance to stick, but she sounds better every record.

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, the canary 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 into the band's success at the venue. 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.


Schedule (Part II)

Having established themselves as a bona fide success with the venue's clientele, Goodman and company wounded up playing at the mid-town Manhattan hotel for a fairly long period: five months (from October 9, 1941 to March 12, 1942). The original arrangement between Goodman and The New Yorker had actually consisted of about a dozen weeks (closing on January 2, 1942), but the engagement's success had compelled the hotel to negotiate a two month-long extension -- not counting the first half of January.

For most of those first two weeks of January, Goodman was busy on a short tour dedicated to classical music dates. The tour started in Cleveland (Ohio) on January 4, 1942 and concluded in Dayton (also Ohio) on January 12, 1942. Goodman's first discographer (Donald Russell Connor) refers to that tour as a "solo" one, in which the clarinetist guested for a series of municipal symphony bands. In this instance, the personal Goodman papers at his reach slightly misled him: we have evidence of hid band playing at one of these concerts. (See session below, dated January 6, 1942.) Goodman must have played not only classical but also swing dates in some of the cities which he visited (Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Toledo, Cincinnati, Washington, Dayton). To judge from a somewhat confusing report published by Variety on its December 10, 1941 issue, the band might have been asked to travel from New York to join Goodman on selected dates. In the words of the Variety reporter, Goodman was set to "fulfill one [date] at Cleveland Jan. 4, another at Pittsburgh Jan. 6, both with his full band. First is a Sunday, second will demand a replacement band at hotel the one night. Leader will also play Dayton, Jan. 12, but alone."

Earlier (late November of 1941), Variety had also reported Goodman's absence from the New Yorker for just two days (Monday the 17th and Tuesday the 18th). According to the journalist (who might or might have not been well informed), the bandleader "hasn't been well lately." A two-week rest period in Miami was scheduled for the second half of January of 1942. Since a slew of broadcasts from those weeks are extant, that particular vacation might have not happened. The cancellation is likely to have stemmed from the already mentioned extension of this engagement,.

During their lengthy stay in New York 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."


Preservation (Extant Airchecks)

A relatively large number of broadcasts from this engagement has survived: well over 50, with a total of 34 Peggy Lee performances amidst them. Actually, Peggy Lee's own full output of extant performances from the New Yorker is higher than 34 -- closer to 50. The source of her other 15 or so extant performances is the band's return engagement ar the venue, in October of 1943. (That engagement will be eventually discussed later in this chronologically organized page.)


The Venue

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: (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.

The undated souvenir seen in image #3 serves as a reminder of a time when iceskating spectacles were in vogue across the nation's poshest hotels, including the Sherman and the New Yorker. They seem to have exerted considerable drawing power. For the duration of such alluring spectacles, the New Yorker' Terrace Room would even rename itself the Ice Terrace Room. In her autobiography, Peggy Lee conjures up "the magic of walking into the Terrace Room when the sparkling Ice Show was finished and sitting on the same stage with Benny Goodman."

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)
Acrobat Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Addcd 3216 — Peggy Lee With The Benny Goodman Orchestra, 1941-47   (2017)

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)
Acrobat Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Addcd 3216 — Peggy Lee With The Benny Goodman Orchestra, 1941-47   (2017)



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)
Acrobat Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Addcd 3216 — Peggy Lee With The Benny Goodman Orchestra, 1941-47   (2017)

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 January 4, 1942, 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 (January 11, 1942). Goodman 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)





Schedule

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 that hotel, a three-week vacation was granted to the band's members, including the vocalists.

Underlying the granting of such 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.) For her past, Peggy Lee spent the vacation time back in native North Dakota, with her siblings.

The orchestra was by no means done with the Terrace Room, however. They would come back to the prestigious venue on October 9, 1942, for yet another extensive round (to be discussed down below, on a different section).

Between these two residences at the New Yorker, the interim six months were spent on the road. Those road dates are the focus of the present section. The band toured from New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Chicago and California, sometimes staying for just one day at a given venue. (More commonly, they performed for a week, or on a weekend. The only exception seems to have been a four-week stationing in New York, sandwiched between the most shorter stopovers under scrutiny.) This so-called theater tour spanned from April 2, 1942 to an unknown date in August or September 1942.


Tour's Itinerary

1. Starting April 2, 1942, for a week: New Jersey (at the Center Theater in Passaic)
2. April 9, 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. Around and including April 24 - New York (at the 20th Century, in Buffalo)
5. Around or on April 29, no further details known: Connecticut (at the State Theater, Hartford)
6. From May 8 to 10: Rhode Island (at the Metropolitan Theater, in Providence)
0. May 14: New York recording session.
7. From May 15 to 17 (or later): Pennsylvania (at the Stanley Theater, in Pittsburgh)
8. May 23: Pennsylvania (at the Sunnybrook Ballroom, in Pottstown)
9. May 27 (or 29, according to a second source) to June 23: New York (at the Paramount Theater in Manhattan) [Also, June 17, 194: New York recording session.]
10. June 25: Ontario, Canada (Port Stanley, Elgin)
11. June 26 to July 2, 1942: Michigan (at the Fox Theater, Detroit)
12. June 29: New York (Times Square, New York City)
13. July 3: Pennsylvania (Kennywood Park, Pittsburgh)
14. July 4 and 5: New Jersey (at the Steel Pier, in Atlantic City)
15. July 15: New York (at Prospect Park's Shell, Brooklyn)
16. July 16 to July 22: Massachusetts (at the Metropolitan Theater in Boston)
17. July 23 (evening): New Hampshire (at Canobie Lake Park, in Lake Canobie) [one of Goodman's four one-night stands within New England during this week, according to the July 15, 1942 issue of Variety]
18. August 7 till possibly August 12: Illinois (at the Chicago Theater, Chicago)
19. On August 10: Illinois (Outdoors at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and wackier Drive, Chicago) also performing at one or more outdoor venues)
20. Late September: Army camp dates
21. Additional dates must have taken place in August and September, but I have found no concert data for the period in question. Passing allusion to unspecified Chicago outdoor dates, such as the one previously listed, is made in the sources. The only other specified event is Goodman and company's filming of their scenes for the movie The Powers Girl, shot in California's Hollywood. The movie started shooting on August, but Goodman and company might have not need to come into the set until September.

Piecing together the above-shown itinerary has required pouring over trade issues (Billboard, Variety). I have also relied on the research conducted by Goodman's premier discographer, Russ Connor, who had access to the artist's personal papers. Naturally, this itinerary has gaps, which can only be filled is more information is ever forthcoming.

When it comes to any attempts at trying to fill such gaps, the venues on which The Benny Goodman Orchestra could have performed are far and wide-ranging. The bandleader and his management were not averse to booking back-to-back dates in different coordinates of the country.

In her autobiography, Peggy Lee makes a passing reference to tour dates in St Louis and Pittsburgh. The listings above show that the band did make a stop in Pittsburgh, but they do not offer any data on St. Louis. (Since Lee's autobiographical references do not come with an attached date, there is obviously the possibility that the St. Louis date happened during a different period of her years with Goodman. However, some of the details and persons that she connects to that St. Louis date lead me to suspect that it did take place within the six months under consideration.)


Concert Data

Local newspapers and trade periodicals such as Variety contain brief information about many of the above-listed tour dates. Some of them were reviewed on Billboard, too. Below I have gathered most of the data which I have culled from such sources. (More research can still be carried out. It might be, as time permits, in the distant future.)

Only five remotes from this six-month period are definitely known to have survived. Peggy Lee is heard in three of them. Namely: April 24 (Buffalo), May 10 (location unknown), and August 10 (Chicago). For those three dates, I have opened individual sessions, which can be found right after the conclusion of the present section. On the basis of its merits, I have also opened a session for July 15 (Brooklyn), despite no evidence of an extant aircheck. Details on all other dates has been kept within this section.


April 9 to April 16, 1942
Earle Theater, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to a report published in the April 15, 1942 issue of Variety this Benny Goodman visit broke one of Earle Theater's records: with $8,000, the highest grossing ever on one single day (Saturday, April 11).

Billboard had reviewed the band's performance on the afternoon of April 10. In the process, the review would corroborate the presence of the following players at the date: Mel Powell, Vido Musso, Rube McGarrity [sic?; Lou McGarity], and Art London. The reviewer also made some remarks about the female vocalist on stage: "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." (Billboard April 18 issue)

A subsequent magazine issue would give an appraisal of the week. "It 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." (Billboard, April 25, 1942)


April 10 to , 1942
Earle Theater, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Movie on the bill: Jukebox Jenny. "If anyone has the idea that Benny Goodman is slipping in popularity with the young generation, they'd better forget it ... They had to call out a riot squad on his owning day (Friday) and double it when this reviewer caught the show (Saturday evening) ... Blonde Peggy Lee ... sets the customers off with her elegant chanting of Skylark, My Little Cousin, Somebody Taking My Place [sic], and Blues In The Night. [Art] London also clicks with a bang ..." (Variety)

May 8 to 10, 1942
Metropolitan Theater, Providence, Rhode Island. This 3,200-seat theater made $7,000 during the three days in which Goodman and company performed there. Variety considered these weekend sale numbers "fairly good," and attributed them "entirely on the band's draw," not the motion picture playing at the time (Broadway Big Shot). On the previous weekend, the combination of Les Brown And His Band with another picture had generated $6,000.


May 15 to at least May 17, 1942
Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Movie on the bill: Always In My Heart. Citing a request from the draft board to appear at Governor's Island (New York), Goodman had left town at some point before opening day. According to the theater's management, "a plan ha[d] been set up whereby Goodman would take a 11:00 a.m. plane out of NY if he was deferred, and arrive at the theatre about 2:20 p.m., in time for the first show which would be held." For their part, Goodman's manager claimed that the physical had taken longer than expected, and Goodman had taken the train because the flying plane(s) had no available sets.

Hence, on May 15, the musicians, the canary, and the crooners performed all four shows sans their leader. In the estimation of the Variety reviewer ("Cohen") who attended one of them, the proceedings were still "typically Goodmanesque and okay for the swingers, who could not get enough of anything ... Hysteria ... from the jukebox jivers couldn't have been more pronounced ... Mob [had] yelled, screamed and whistled all thru Always In My Heart, impatient for the picture to get over with and the stage show to show up." The reviewer continued his picturesque account by adding 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." Cohen seems to have listed these numbers in the order in which they were performed: the first four are likely to have been sung by London, the last three by Lee. Given the reviewer's reference to a total of four vocals by Peggy Lee, he possibly skipped listing one of the Lee numbers. (A less likely alternative is that the list's middle number was performed as a duet between her and London. "A Zoot Suit (For My Sunday Gal)" was a 1942 hit tune co-written by L. Wolfe Gilbert and Bob O'Brien that Goodman recorded with London on vocals. Reviews from other tour stops do mention this number among London's solo performances.)

At this 3,800-seat theater, the earnings for this weekend were estimated to approach $22,000, with "credit going exclusively to" the Goodman orchestra and its vocalists. Even on opening day, reviewer Cohen had noted that "b]z" did not look "bad," despite the "empty pews in rear balcony" which he attributed to public awareness of Goodman's absence. Deemed "several grand better than recent average," the eventual $22,000 estimate was certainly a vast improvement over the previous weekend ($14,000), which had featured Dick Stabile. As for any significant draw from the picture (Always In My Heart), it was to be "discounted almost entirely," Variety declared. Goodman's final return numbers were in the end determined to be above $22,500, although the bandleader's own earnings would turn out to be somewhat less than normal: the theater's management did not pay him for the day on which he was absent. (The following week, the combination of Gene Krupa and a picture with good word of mouth generated $20,000.)


May 23, 1942
Sunnybrook Ballroom, Pottstown, Pennsylvania. According to Variety, "[f]loods nearby and gas rationing [were] responsible for Goodman's below par $1,800 or so at $1.25."


May 29 to June 23, 1942
Paramount Theatre, New York City, New York. Movie on the bill: Take A Letter. "Practically everything on this show is fortissimo and action; ... Practically everything in Goodman's present repertoire is quite familiar to his fans," observed reviewer "Odec" in one of Variety's accounts of the month-long engagement. "Goodman and his doughty 14 instrumentalists stirs the jivesters with plenty abandon ... 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." Dick Haymes had joined the band at the start of this engagement. Former crooner Art Lund had just been drafted. (Russ Connor gives the last day as June 25; Variety commented that a new bill, featuring Vaughn Monroe And His Orchestra, began on the morning of June the 24th. I have use the periodical's dating.)

The orchestra wounded up with what Variety "a profitable four-week run" at this 3,664-seat venue. In their first week, they "smacked through" $58,000. Then there was a "robust" $45,000 on the second week (later amended to $43,000), $36,000 for the third week (later amended to $36,500), and an "okay" $34,000 from the last week.


June 26 to July 2, 1942
Fox Theatre, Detroit, Michigan. Movie: It Happened In Flatbush. The July 1 issue of Variety tells of the vicissitudes endured by Goodman and his management as they traveled from one gig to another: "[w]ith his orchestra running on a close schedule in making a hop from Port Stanley, Ontario, in to Detroit, Mich., for an engagement at the Fox Theater, Benny Goodman shot his brother ahead with the bad's instruments following the close of the Canadian date [on the night of the 25th]. Instruments arrived at the Detroit customs at 8:30 a.m. and by the time the inspectors were satisfied on their check-up two hours had been consumed. The band, coming on later, arrived in Detroit at 12:50 p.m. Friday with only 39 minutes to go to their first show at the theatre at 1:29 p.m. If the band had been carrying its own instruments the two hour custom clearance would have resulted in the opening show being nearly an hour and a half late. Border spots are being particularly vigilant these days because of the Canadian ban on musical instruments."

"House was packed at the evening show," reported a Variety reviewer who went by the handling of "Pool." He calls Dick Haymes' singing of four tunes ("Tangerine," "One Dozen Roses," "My Melancholy Baby," "Embraceable You") just "a fine job" and described Mel Powell's piano as "flashy" (seemingly rather than definitely using the adjective as a compliment). As for Lee, he tells us that the canary did "a quartet of numbers" in what he considers a "method of deadpanning tunes," and thus opines that "a little more animation" was needed. "She "seems at her best," Pool continued, "in the more rollicking numbers as she drawls through Baby All I Need Is You [sic], My Little Cousin, We Met Before, and Somebody Else [Is Taking My Place]." The title (mis)identified as We Met Before is likely to have been Where Or When.

The end result at the 5000-seat venue was a "smash" $38,000 (a major improvement on the $19,000 of the preceding week, when the theater had played a double movie bill). On her ver own, the band's canary would experience another smash -- of a different brand. It was during this engagement that Peggy Lee met Dave Barbour. Goodman had nabbed both the guitarist and a saxophonist (John Walton) from the house crew of Pittsburgh's Stanley Theater (where the band had played in mid-May). Decades later, Lee would reminisce about having first consciously heard here, at the Fox, the sounds emanating from the new recruit's guitar, right after she had sung "These Foolish Things." She would add that she had fallen in love with his playing even before seeing the musician, and finding him very handsome.


June 29, 1942
Times Square, New York City, New York. 90-minute war bond rally, bringing a crowd of 25,000. Sponsored by the film industry's War Activities Committee, the rally counted with executives from the Loew's chain of movie theaters as the biggest donors. Final numbers: $500,000 in purchased bonds. In addition to Goodman, the other musical performers were Jimmy Dorsey, Don Albert, and a couple of dixieland jazz bands, left unidentified in my source. Burgess Meredith served as master of ceremonies.


July 4 and 5, 1942
Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey. I do not have further specifics about this gig. This note only aims at stating, for the record, my source for its dating: Variety (June 24, 1942 issue, page 42). For his part, Russ Connor had had the following to say about it (in his book Benny Goodman: Listen To His Legacy, page 136): "Out of the New Yorker, Benny gave the boys a two-week vacation ... But, back to April. A report that the band's first post-hiatus biking was in atlantic City at the Stee Pier seems on reflection dubious, for normally the Pier began its 'season' -- save for the Easter weekend -- the end of May, the Memorial Day holiday."


July 16 to July 22, 1942
Metropolitan Theater in Boston, Massachusetts. Movie on the bill: Gun For Hire. A "socko" $38,000. (The previous week, a double-movie bill at this 4,367-seat theater had generated a "so-so" $20,000.)


August 7, 1942
Chicago Theater, Chicago, Illinois. Movie on the bill: I Kissed The Bride. $55,000, which Variety deemed a terrific, mammoth amount. "Benny Goodmans's tremendous ovation at the Chicago's opening show revealed the still intense popularity of this former Windy City citizen ... 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: 20th Century Theatre, 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 & Performers

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

2. Secondary Acts
In addition to The Benny Goodman Orchestra, this bill featured a couple of minor acts, one identified as The Ambassadorettes (a trio of female acrobats), the other as Shea and Raymond (a duo of dancing comedians). These same acts are listed on an earlier bill (Earle Theater, Philadelphia, April 10 onwards). They could have all been touring together, as part of a touring circuit, or it might have simply been a matter of coincidence. (They do not seem to have been local acts; the Earle review points out that this was "their third appearance here in a little more than a year.") While Raymond and Shea, are not listed in the bills that followed this one from Buffalo, The Ambasadorettes were still appearing with Goodman several months later.


Review

This date was reviewed on both the April 29, 1942 issue of Variety and the May 2, 1942 issue of Billboard. 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 Billboard reviewer seems to favor the "mellow baritone" with which Art London sings ballads. Of the other singer, 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.

The Variety reviewer ("Burton") also singled out the singers. He is more even-handed on its bestowal of praise: "[i]n its vocalists, as in every other department, the outfit registers by means of those added ingredients of personality and talent as always." He further tells us that "[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. As for London, the "[c]ombo of [his] potent physique and smooth baritone made for a sock reception" of his vocals.

The Billboard reviewer rated the Buffalo date as "solid" overall, pointing out just one adverse 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." The appraisal of the Variety reviewer was more expansively enthusiastic: "Goodman outfits looks and sounds equal to any assemblage which the maestro has shown here, and on current performance it more than justifies a top-rung rating which s universally accorded. It is sleek and slick, with plenty of eye and ear appeal, and its impeccable rhythmic delivery marks it outstandingly."


Sales Figures

According to the sales reports collected by Variety, Goodman had a good evening at this theatrical venue, which at the time held 3,000 seats and charged from 35 to 55 cents per customer. A "lush," "outstanding" $17,000 total was estimated. (The previous week's act had made $12,000.) The movie running at the time was Sleepytime Gal, which Variety rated "on the soggy side," giving full credits for the returns to Goodman et al instead.


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.

According to Variety, this one-night stand was "one of 54 park dance programs sponsored by Consolidated Edison in collaboration with the city for civilian morale."


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"   

Personnel

Recent additions to the band's personnel included, as already mentioned, Dave Barbour and Jon Walton, both hired in late June. More recent hires (ca. early August) included bass player Cliff Hill, drummer Hud Davies, and two saxophonists, Bob Poland and Lenny Simms. Recently departed were a rarely credited Goodman arranger who would go on to much greater fame (Henry Mancini) and Dick Haymes. (As for Mancini, he was only 18 years old at the time. Goodman had recruited him after the youngster had been commended by his music tutor Max Adkins, and the bandleader had liked well enough some of his arrangements, one of which he did use. However, and in Mancini's own words, "it didn't take long for both Benny and me to find out I wasn't ready for such an ambitious assignment." The press reported that Mancini was leaving to join Vaughn Monroe's ensemble at this time. At some point this year, he had or would enroll at Julliard, only to be drafted not long afterwards.)

By this date, Haymes' replacement Buzz Aston was supposed to be already in place. However, a September 29, 1942 article in Variety states that "at last minute [he] decided to pass up ... to remain in Pittsburgh," where he had just been signed for a radio show.


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










Schedule

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 continued until around January 2, 1943. (That was the projected final date, as given by Variety, a month in advance. There is a small chance that the band stayed a bit longer -- anywhere between one day and a week. As will be explained shortly, the New Yorker's band bookings were in a bit of a flux at the time.)

Before their departure from the New Yorker, Goodman and company actually doubled on their regular schedule. Harry James And His Orchestra, who were then playing at the Lincoln Hotel (NY), were booked to appear at the Paramount Theater (NY) during the holidays. However, James had had to cancel and leave town, in order to appear on a Hollywood film. Goodman's management was asked to come to the rescue. The King of Swing and his entourage were booked for four weeks at the Paramount Theater, beginning on December 30, 1942 and concluding on January 26, 1943).

The bandleader's acceptance of the Paramount offer posed must have disappointed the New Yorker, which was must have been hoping for Goodman to prolong his residence at the hotel. Booked to succeed Goodman, Woody Herman had canceled. Offers made to several other bands, including Stan Kenton's and Gene Krupa's, had been rejected, too. (It was no longer a secret that hotel engagements could be money losers for bandleaders, due in part to policies that often paid no better than scale. With the additional burden of the ongoing AFM ban, which curtailed potential earning through recordings, bandleaders were more intent than ever to work where money could be invariably earned -- mainly, theater dates, and films. Since goodman kept returning to the New Yorker for long residences, perhaps he was being offered special, sweeter deals.) At last, in late November, GAC booked Sonny Dunham And His Orchestra to open on December 31, for a month-long stay.

That was not the end of the situation, however. The December 2, 1942 issue of Variety modified the previous announcement: "Benny Goodman does not leave the New Yorker Hotel, N.Y., until Jan. 2, being replaced by Sonny Dunham on the 4th." Although I have not found any additional confirmation for the January period under consideration, I do believe that this was the only modification to the Goodman-New Yorker schedule. Indeed, Variety's last New Yorker bill listing for Goodman was on its January 6 issue, the first for Dunham on the January 13 issue (which specified that it covered the previous week, starting with Monday, january 4).

Goodman and his ensemble thus performed at the two venues for about a week, including New Year's eve. The movie on the bill was Star Spangled Rhythm, which was proving popular -- but not half as popular as a young crooner by the name of Frank Sinatra, who had just gone solo. The enormous success of this engagement let to its extension for a second month. Sinatra and Star Spangled Rhythm remained on the bill, but Goodman and his performers departed. The Paramount thus enlisted Johnny Long And His Orchestra, to take over Goodman's former duties at the theater.

(The presumable reason for Goodman's leaving of the Paramount engagement was a series of bookings arranged well in advance, although I am aware of only one. (Namely, soundtrack vocalization of a scene for the movie Stage Door Canteen. The scene itself might have been filmed back in December 1942. Recording for the soundtrack appears to have happened during the second week of February 1943.) He would be back at the Paramount in August, with new vocalists. (Carol Kaye's numbers, which would have beee presumably sung by Peggy Lee, had she stayed, were "People Will Say We're In Love," "Embraceable You," and "Put Your Arms Around Me." Ray Dorey's numbers, some of which could have conceivably been assigned to a staying Lee, were "My Melancholy Baby," "Sunday, Monday Or Always," and "Russia Is Her Name.")


The Venues

A historical overview of the New Yorker Hotel has already been presented (section IV above). My brief commentary will thus concentrate on the other venue of interprets: Times Square's Paramount theater. Located on 43rd Street and Broadway, it was 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. By 1943, it had a 3,664 seat capacity and charged between 35 cents and one dollar plus ten cents per ticket, depending on the feature and the weekday.

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.


Critical Reception

Published on the October 14, 1942 issue, a Variety review of the opening night at the New Yorker praised 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 pointed 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 ca. 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).

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, including a first week that posed a challenge: they were still playing at the New Yorker as well. The Paramount alone 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.)

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.)






Box Office Draw

As expected, Goodman and company did good business at the New Yorker's 400-seat Terrace Room. Just three days into their engagement, the cover charge number were at $1525. Here is how they measured up against competing Manhattan hotels.

For 2 days:
$1,000 - Emil Coleman at the Waldorf ($1.00 to $1.50; 550 seats)
For 3 days:
$1,125 - Benny Goodman at the New Yorker ($75¢ to $1.50; 400 seats)
$1,100 - Guy Lombardo at the Roosevelt ($1.00 to $1.50; 400 seats)
For a week:
$2,775 - Les Brown at the Astor ($75¢ to $1.00; 1000 seats)
$1975 - Vaughn Monroe at the Commodore ($1.00 to $1.50; 500 seats)
$1900 - Bob Allen at the Pennsylvania ($75¢ to $1.50; 500 seats)
$1700 - Lani McIntyre at the Lexington ($75¢ to $1.50; 300 seats)
$1500 - Harry James at the Lincoln ($1.50 to $2.00; 225 seats)
$700 - Ray Heatherton at the Biltmore ($1.00 to $1.50; 300 seats)

For the last week of the year, Variety reported the estimates shown immediately below.

$3250 - Charlie Spivak at the Pennsylvania
$3,100 - Jan Savitt at the Astor
$2,825 - Xavier Cugat at the Waldorf
$2650 - Benny Goodman at the New Yorker
$2250 - Vaughn Monroe at the Commodore
$1950 - Lani McIntyre at the Lexingtom
$1475 - Guy Lombardo at the Roosevelt
$900 - Ray Heatherton at the Biltmore
$700 - Mitchell Ayes at the Lincoln

The estimates shown above were for the week that preceded the "doublebooking" of Goodman's orchestra. As already explained, they performed at both the New York hotel and the Paramount Theater for several days. Variety does not seem to have published hotel figures on its 1943 New Year issue (January 6), which corresponded with that week. (The next issue covered Sonny Dunham's first week at the New Yorker. From January 4 to January 11, $2075 was reported. With $3, 150, Spivak at the Pennsylvania had brought the highest number, while Heatherton's $675 in his 37th week at the Biltmore placed him last.)

Even before the arrival of the triple treat that was Frank Sinatra's crooning, Benny Goodman's orchestra, and the Star Spangled Rhythm, the Paramount had been enjoying a great season. Woody Herman And His Orchestra had become the first act to ever play for seven consecutive weeks at the theater. Thanks to the combination of holiday vacationing, Herman's playing, and the smash hit film Road To Morocco, sales figures has impressively leapt from $40,000 on the bill's sixth week to $70,000 on the seventh.

Over the decades, fanhood and PR publicity over Sinatra's (undeniably huge) success on this bill have obliterated other facts which contributed to the bill's success. Most notably, the accompanying movie was in and of itself a major draw. Among the various celebrities appearing on Star Spangled Rhythm were all three stars of Road To Morocco (Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour), the smash hit that was just closing at the theater. Despite lack of any plot connection between the two films, many patrons doubtlessly thought of Rhythm as something of a sequel to Morocco. Paramount did strong promotion, becoming in the process (according to Variety) the first film company to ever purchase time on six different NY radio stations, in the form of a 15-minute program that aired two days before the movie's premiere. Crosby was among the five acts who sang some of the film's seven numbers on the program, and Hope contributed a comedy bit. One of the many patriotic-oriented extravaganzas of this period, the film's publicity boasted of featuring "more stars than there are in the flag."

The continued popularity of Goodman, his band and vocalists should not be downplayed -- and neither should the relentless amount of publicity (and publicity stunts) carried out by Sinatra's press agent on his behalf. The earliest bobbysoxers to famously swoon over Sinatra did so during this engagement; manager George Evans is suspected of having hired them. When news came that a big band magazine would be awarding Goodman with a poll winner's trophy onstage on the evening of January the 15th. it was probably Evans who contacted the magazine and arranged for Sinatra (also a poll winner) to simultaneously receive his own. Harry Weinstein, Goodman's manager at the time, stopped the scheme in the tracks, refusing to allow the simultaneous bestowal of both trophies.

On New Year's eve, the bill opened with a bang. Coming to $30,000, the 16-year-old Paramount reported the highest sales numbers it had ever had on a December 31. At the end of the first week, the resulting gross of $113,500 broke the house's all time record of $101,000 (for just the 1930 crime drama Roadhouse Nights, starring Helen Morgan). Similarly, the next week's gross ($81,000) broke the theater's record for second-week bills. The third week brought an addition $66,000 to the proceedings, and the fourth week nearly matched that number ($66,000 originally estimated; $65,000 ultimately established). Following the departure of Benny Goodman And His Orchestra (with Bill Long And His Orchestra as the replacement), the bill generated a solid $60,000.


Preservation

Sixteen of Peggy Lee's vocals from her second residence at the New Yorker are extant. Comprehensive in their reach, the 16-vocal batch happens to include entries from each month of the engagement -- i.e., October, November, and December of 1942, plus January of 1943. As for broadcasts from the month-long engagement at the Paramount, none seem to have survived, regrettably.

In passing, I should point out that Benny Goodman returned to the New York on October 7, 1943. Peggy Lee was no longer a member of the ensemble by that time.

Since there are no extant Paramount performances, all the entries to be itemized below originated in Goodman's concurrent dates at the New Yorker Hotel.


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 new row of photos features 43rd Street's Paramount Theater, specifically its entrance and proscenium, as it looked during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Further down below, there is a photo taken at the Paramount engagement, and a contemporaneous ad. In addition to Goodman and Sinatra, Dave Barbour and Jess Stacy are visible in the photo.


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)
Acrobat Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Addcd 3216 — Peggy Lee With The Benny Goodman Orchestra, 1941-47   (2017)
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)
Acrobat Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Addcd 3216 — Peggy Lee With The Benny Goodman Orchestra, 1941-47   (2017)
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: November 16, 1942, 11:15 Eastern; Probably Voice Of America
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 Roll 'em(Mary Lou Williams)
unissued

Performances

This is the second "Roll 'Em" performance of which I have become aware. For details about my first (including specifics pertaining to Lee's vocal), consult the entry dated December 4, 1942, below.


Audio Sources

1. Homemade Recording
Probably recorded off the radio by a listener, this performance has been preserved on a lacquer disc. Of the brand Federal Perma-Disk, it plays at 78 rpm.

2. Radio
The performance is announced by Willis Conover, the radio personality who is best known for his work at the Voice of America.


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. For nearly 70 years, there was no public knowledge of this vocal's existence, 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 Nov. 1942 To Ca. January 2 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. On Castle, see also entry below.

Yet another uncertain case involves baritone saxophonist Ted Goddard and bass saxophonist Joe Rushton: the latter replaced the former within the month of December, 1942, but the exact day is yet to be determined.

5. Sol LaPerche (Sal La Perch)
Following Russ Connor's lead, I have made this "multi-session" my very first entry for a trumpet player whom he identifies as Sol LaPerche, but Variety calls Sal La Perch. According to that periodical's November 4, 1942 issue, he was a Goodman alumnus who "has left pit orch. at Casino, Pittsburgh, burlesque house" to re-join the King of Swing. Given the issue date, this trumpeter is likely to have also played on the preceding November and December sessions. (The periodical does not specify the exact date on which he joined, however.)

6. Lee Castle
7. Jess Stacy
In its December 30, 1942 issue, Variety explained that former bandleader Lee Castle had folded his six-months-old band the previous week, taking a job as a sideman with Goodman.

The same write-up states that Jess Stacy had been (re-)hired "at the same time" as Castle, which would mean late December of 1942. However, bio-discographer Russ Connor confidently lists Stacy in broadcasts which are deemed to date from early December, and I have followed Connor's lead.


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





Schedule

As previously mentioned, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra had played at the Chicago Theatre in August 1942. The band returned to this venue in late January or early February 1943. On Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14, they performed at two of Chicago's most prestigious dance halls, too: the Aragon & Trianon Ballrooms. February 13 also served as the occasion for what probably was a series of dates on behalf of war-related establishments.


The Venues

Still in operation today, the Chicago Theater 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 business ties to Paramount Pictures. (Such 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 box office success. At the time of Goodman's engagement,, the theater held 4,000 seats. Over ensuing decades, it repeatedly changed ownership. In the 1980s, it also went through a renovation, respectfully carried out by by the Chicago Theatre Preservation Group. Today, it remains in place, ranking as one of Chicago's best-known historical landmarks.

Chicago's Aragon and Trianon ballrooms were 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). After undergoing a third ownership (1963) as well as a name change (to El-Sid), it ended up being demolished in 1967.  The Aragon also closed in 1958 -- but only for a few months, due to a fire. It 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).







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.)


Preservation

In the case of the February 1943 engagement at the Chicago Theatre, I have no evidence of aircheck survival. (Heard on the February 6 and 20 broadcasts of the show Spotlight Bands, a few extant Goodman numbers could conceivably be from this engagement. However, their exact Chicago location remains unknown, and the venue could thus be a different one. In any case, they do not include any Lee vocals.) We also lack any preserved from the Aragon & Trianon dates.

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: At the top of this section, there are 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 two images offer a view of the stage, the seating rows, and the surrounding splendor.

The middle of this section showcases two postcards, both featuring Chicago's Servicemen Centers. Three related photos have also been included. Taken around 1967, the central photo presents the façade of the Auditorium Theater, on which Servicemen Center No. 2 was located. The auditorium's stage is seen in the last photograph. The Auditorium Theater was in turn part of the Auditorium building, whose august glory was captured in the first of these three pictures (dating back to 1893).

Finally, pictures of Chicago's Aragon and Trianon ballrooms can be seen 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 a prospective caption, to be used by 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







Schedule

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 5, 1943.  (Billboard, on its April 17, 1943 issue, 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, on which the venue was still open, with Matty Malneck's band playing instead.)  Tommy Dorsey, who had close ties to the establishment, had preceded Goodman, doing eight weeks. (The final one had collected $23,000). Glen Gray's Casa Loma would follow.
 

Box Office Draw

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 reported that Benny Goodman And His Orchestra had sold 70,000 tickets during their first five weeks at the Palladium, and asserted 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).  At Variety it was clarified that the total number of tickets for the week need up being 4,900, the earnings actually $32,000.

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).

The hosannas continued for the next weeks, with the fourth turning in a fantastic $26,500 estimate (compared to about $7,000 by Louis Armstrong on his second week at the Trianon Ballroom, and not quite $3,000 by Freddy Slack in his fourth week at Casa Mañana). "Fooling the wise 'uns who said this clientele wouldn't go ga-ga for Bennah," Variety playfully remarked. "But they have -- and how." At week six, the numbers
still remained strong ($25,000), despite summer weather that was causing many patrons to stay comfortably at home.




The Venue

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.


Preservation

At least 10 airchecks from this engagement have been preserved. Three of them 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). Further down below (#7 & #8), a management ad, touting the great success of this Goodman engagement at the Hollywood Palladium.


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 (THE CASINO GARDENS, THE ORPHEUM, AND THE GOLDEN GATE)



 

A Pause

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-day-long engagement.  (A side note about the total count. At the Palladium, the band had Mondays off. Hence Mondays have not been factored into my day count.)  After March 20, all extant Palladium broadcasts feature a different singer (Frances Hunt).  

Similarly, there is no evidence of Lee's presence during the Goodman Orchestra's filming of scenes for the film The Girl He Left Behind, directed by Busky Berkeley. Eventually re-titled The Gang's All Here, that film was shot in late March and early April of 1943. It premiered in December of the same year.  During an interview conducted several decades later, Lee actually mentioned filming under Berkeley's direction, but she is clearly referring to the "Why Don't you Do Right?" clip for the film Stage Door Canteen. Lee might have actually misremembered. Busky Berkeley is not known to have had any involvement with the clip to which she refers, nor with the movie at large. However, even if her recollection was partially erroneous, Lee's mention of Berkeley raises a separate possibility: she could have been 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.)

Notwithstanding her apparent absence from the filming of The Gang's All Here, and from the latter portion of the engagement at the Palladium, Lee's absence from Goodman's performing schedule was not permanent.  She came back to the fold later in April of 1943, and she is also known to have done a couple of engagements in June of 1943. Further specifics will be provided right under the images to be shown next.


The Semi-return

The earliest of Lee's 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, 1943), 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.   First, the article makes general reference to Frances Hunt as someone who had "been subbing for Miss Lee" before the Casino Gardens date. Second, that Casino Gardens date is described as her return to the bandleader's fold. in a late-age interview, Lee would point out that Goodman kept asking her to return due to the great success with which her recording of "Why Don't You Right?" had been met. His concert audiences were presumably clamoring for performances of it, and taking for granted that Lee would be the one to sing it live.

Peggy Lee's two other documented appearances with The Benny Goodman Orchestra were actually part of a week-long engagement.  From Wednesday, June 2 to 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," and Peggy Lee for having "sold" her numbers "effectively."

The remaining on-record appearance at the Orpheum was an afternoon date (Wednesday, June 5, 1943), reviewed at length by Billboard's Sam Abbott on the June 12 issue of that magazine.  He tells us that "Peggy Lee, Goodman trush ... capitalized on her selling ability ... [She] 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 ...  Applause plentiful." The same tunes had been listed by the Variety reviewer.

All these San Francisco press sightings find echo in the following "testimony," given by Peggy Lee in 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."  No date or exact context are offered as part of this testimony. Was Lee referring to the same Golden Gate Theater engagement discussed above? It would seem so, even though Lee does not supply a date.  

Then again, it would not be unreasonable to come to a different assumption. In Lee's autobiography, the quoted sentence is surrounded by commentary about events that clearly date from 1945 or 1946. (Here is one instance, taken from the paragraph that precedes the Golden Gate comment: "[n]ow the recordings began in earnest at Capitol,"of her autobiography states.) 

So: did the week-long playing to which she refers happen in 1943, or did it happen two or three years later? In the absence of a concrete answer to this question, we must not lose sight of the fact that Lee was evoking a gig which, at the time of her writing, had happened over 40 years ago.  She could have easily misremembered the engagement as having happened two or three years after it actually did. Or she could be recalling events that indeed took place in the mid-1940s. (Yet a third alternative: Lee could have joined Goodman in San Francisco in both mid-1943 and ca. 1945.)





The Venues

Originally the property of a Bernie Cohen, the Casino Gardens Ballroom gained nation attention in 1944. That was the year in which it was purchased by Tommy Dorsey, in partnership with his brother Jimmy and fellow bandleader Harry James. Dorsey's purchase is said to have been triggered in part by his competitive spirit and festering spite, after the collapse of his relationship with the Hollywood Palladium, a venue that he had inaugurated. (Other alleged motivations include, naturally, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a calculation that his band could benefit from remaining stationary at the ballroom rather than having to put through with the vicissitudes of life on the road.)  

One of the many dance halls once located in or around Santa Monica's touristic Ocean Park Pier, this ballroom was estimated to be able to hold 37,000 dancers. Not surprisingly (given its ownership), the establishment garnered popular attention for its policy of hosting only big-name bands. Post-war, however, big bands began to lose their top spot in the music industry, and attendance at ballrooms started to dwindle.  At the Casino Gardens, the number of operating nights wounded up being diminished from six to four to weekends only.  The establishment essentially closed in 1950, remaining available only for private dances. There were various negotiations aiming at selling back the place to Cohen, the original owner. They failed.

"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 several other companies of note, thereby becoming overused. In the Los Angeles area, there have been at least six theaters that went by the name of the Orpheum -- not all of them simultaneously, however, and some of them possibly part of the same chain. Although I am not completely certain, my belief is that theatre on which Lee performed with Goodman is the one located located on 842 South Broadway. Completed in 1926, this theater initially catered to the vaudeville circuit. By 1929, it had transitioned into a movie house. By the 1940s, it had adopted the common policy of daily programs that combined a movie with live performers, including a band.  At the time of this writing, it remains in place, and has kept the "Orpheum" name. Having been renovated (in 1989) with a view to restoring the splendor of its vaudeville days, its magnificent interior has been frequently featured in Hollywood films -- e.g., Hitchcock, Ed Wood, Barton Fink. It originally had a 2,350 capacity. It had gone down to 2,200 seats by the time of the Goodman-Lee engagement, and would be further re-adjusted to 1976 for the theater's modern-day incarnation.

Part of the same circuit as the aforementioned Orpheum, the Golden Gate Theatre went through a similar transformations. Program-wise, shifted from featuring mostly vaudeville acts during the years following its opening (1922) to functioning primarily as a movie house between 1954 and its year of closure (1972). Seven years later, it was acquired by SHN (Shorenstein Hays Nederlander), the theatrical production company, which renovated it. Thenceforth, the San Francisco establishment reshaped itself into a venue known for offering worwhwhile previews of Broadway shows, and for serving as the starting ground of notable national tours, such as Hedwig And the Angry Inch.  In that reputable capacity, it has survived the test of time. Located at 1 Taylor Street, it holds 2,300 seats nowadays, but counted with 2,850 when Lee and Goodman graced it with their musical interpretations. 





Box Office Returns

At the end of Goodman's week at the Orpheum, Variety reported a "bangup $22,500" total gross. For the first week at the Golden Gate, Variety estimated that Goodman, Lee, and company had generated "a powerful $35,000." I do not have numbers for the Casino Gardens appearance.


Definitive Departure

The aforementioned June 12, 1943 Billboard issue contains a brief article about Peggy Lee. It announced that she was set on ceasing her gigs, effective immediately: "[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.") The article carried a Los Angeles, June 5 byline.

One additional Billboard article makes clear that, during the second half of June, Peggy Lee was no longer around the Benny Goodman band. The article tells us that a new vocalist (E'lane) had "joined Goodman in San Francisco Tuesday (15) night," adding that Miss Lee had had to "leave the Goodman organization due to approaching motherhood." (The reporter does not reveal if E'lane sang on that night. 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."


Itinerary: The Final (Ac)count

The last phase of Lee's residence as a canary under Benny Goodman's wing spanned the two-and-a-half-month period of late March to mid-June of 1943. Her final performance as the band's official canary probably took place no later than June 14, 1943.

The extent of Peggy Lee's professional outings during that two-and-a-half-month period is nebulous. We only know that the canary rejoined The Benny Goodman Orchestra in at least three California venues (LA's Casino Gardens in April; LA's Orpheum Theater and SF's Golden Gate Theater in June), with a fourth LA locale (Long Beach Civic Auditorium) as an additional albeit less likely possibility. (I am assuming that she did not embark on any solo work as a singer. None is mentioned in the literature at hand. Nevertheless, assumptions always have a potential to be wrong.) 

With respect to the month of May, I have no indication of onstage Goodman activity within those 31 days. It is believed that he remained mostly at home for that month.  Such an extended break in the workaholic bandleader's life has a biological explanation: the arrival of his first-born, on May 2, 1943.  "In main Benny stayed with [wife] Alice and [baby] Rachel," asserts Goodman discographer Russ Connor. As a caveat,
however, he shares the bandleader's own vague memories, to the effect that "the band played for station personnel at various military installations, but the specifics have faded with the passing years." If such was the case, it would still be unclear whether Peggy Lee rejoined the band for any of these hypothetical dates. (Having done so would mean that she performed with the orchestra on every single month through the first half of 1943.)

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: Starting at the top of the section, the first two images showcase the Casino Gardens Ballroom, one of the three Californian venues where Peggy Lee is known to have sung with The Benny Goodman Orchestra between April and June of 1943. We start off with a look at the exterior of this Santa Monica establishment as it looked in the 1940s. Next up is a a menu from the venue's cocktail lounge. The third image showcases the façade of Los Angeles' Orpheum Theater, and the fourth its interior. The same pattern (i.e., exterior, interior) applies to the next two images, which spotlight the Golden Gate in San Francisco (exterior and interior), as it looked at one point during the first half of the twentieth century.

Parenthood is an underlying topic amidst the remaining row of images. The young woman in the head profile is Frances Hunt, who substituted for Peggy Lee when the latter semi-retired from her post as Benny Goodman's canary. When Lee permanently retired due to her pregnancy, Hunt could not longer be counted as a substitute option, because she was pregnant as well. (Frances actually went on to having three children, Bob, Henry, and Judy-Lou. Since the 1930s, she had been married to another bandleader, Lou Bring. This was not her first time serving as an interim canary for Goodman. Back in 1937, she had been one of various female singers to take on that temporary role for a few months, between the departure of Goodman's very first canary, Helen Ward, and his next permanent recruit, Martha Tilton.) The result of Peggy Lee's own pregnancy was a daughter, Nicki, seen in the last photo around November of 1945, along with her father, guitarist Dave Barbour. It was Lee's only child. Not to be outdone, Benny Goodman also had to ready for parenthood in the 1940s. Rachel, the first of his two children with wife Alice, was born in May of 1943 -- i.e., a few months before Nicki, and while a pregnant Peggy had yet to fully stop working for Goodman. Benjie, his second daughter, was born in 1946, and in the middle photo above he is seen with her, nearly a year later.

  


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. That broadcast thus falls outside of the 1941-1943 perimeter to which this page is circumscribed, but it has been included 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 (November 16, 1942)
48. Roll 'Em (December 4, 1942)
49. Shrine Of St. Cecilia, The (October 26, 1941)
50. Skylark (February 17, 1942)
51. Slender, Tender And Tall (March 20, 1943)
52. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (September 16, 1941)
53. Soft As Spring (October 4, 1941)
54. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place (November 13, 1941)
55. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place (December 9, 1941)
56. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place (April 24, 1942)
57. Somebody Nobody Loves (February 3, 1942)
58. Somebody Nobody Loves (Between January 1 And March 12, 1942)
59. That Did It, Marie (November 1, 1941)
60. That Did It, Marie (Between January 1 And March 12, 1942)
61. That Soldier Of Mine (Between Late November 1942 And Early 1943)
62. That's The Way It Goes (September 27, 1941)
63. These Foolish Things (August 10, 1942)
64. We'll Meet Again (March 2, 1942)
65. We'll Meet Again (May 11, 1942)
66. When The Sun Comes Out (September 11, 1941)
67. Why Don't We Do This More Often? (November 7, 1941)
68. Why Don't You Do Right? (December 3, 1942)
69. Why Don't You Do Right? (December 26, 1942)
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? (Between Late November 1942 And Early 1943)
73. Why Don't You Do Right? (on or around March 6, 1943)
74. Why Don't You Do Right? (Between March 9 And March 23, 1943)
75. Why Don't You Do Right? (August 26, 1946)
76. Winter Weather (November 22, 1941)
77. 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:

(78). Knock Me A Kiss
(79). Let's Fall In Love
(80.) Taking A Chance On Love
(81). 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: 52

Performances Reported: 77

Unique Songs Reported: 44

Unique Issues Reported: 20