More Grampa's Favorite Songs, Singers -- With 41 Music Videos
Below Are 41 Biographical Sketches With Videos of Great Singers -- Including Comedian Eddie Cantor Singing 'Makin' Whoopee'
Buddy Clark Sings 'Linda'
Buddy Clark, whose blossoming career was cut short when he died in a plane crash at age 38, was known for his big hit signature song, “Linda.” He debuted in 1934 singing with the Benny Goodman band and had a hit with “Spring Is Here.” But it wasn't until 1946 that his star shone more brightly with “Linda.” Some of his hit songs were “How Are Things in Glocca Mora,” “Peg O’ My Heart,” “Love Somebody” with Doris Day and “Dreamer’s Holiday.”
'The Street Singer' Performs 'Shake Hands With a Millionaire'
Arthur Tracy, “The Street Singer,” was an American vocalist famous in the 1930’s for performances on radio and in theater, films and recordings. His theme song was “Marta, Rambling Rose of the Wildwood.” Of Russian heritage, Tracy got his start in Yiddish theater and vaudeville. He starred with Bing Crosby in “The Big Broadcast of 1932.” His hits include “When I Grow Too Old to Dream” and “The Whistling Waltz.”
Henry Burr Sings 'My Buddy'
Henry Burr, a Canadian singer who used numerous pseudonyms, was one of the most prolific recording artists ever. He was a tenor with more than 12,000 recordings to his many names and performed as a soloist, in duets, in trios and in quartets. He performed on early radio, initially using a wooden bowl with an inverted telephone transmitter as a microphone. Among his recordings were “Abide With Me,” “Are You Going to Dance?" and "Come Unto Me."
Eddie Cantor Sings 'Makin' Whoopee'
Eddie Cantor, known as “Banjo Eyes” and called the “Apostle of Pep” for his immense energy, was a comedian, singer, dancer and actor who was well known for his popular radio show. He often rolled his eyes during his song and dance routines, which became his trademark. His movie career began with “Whoopee” in 1930 and was followed by many others, including “Roman Scandals” and “Hollywood Canteen."
'Don't Blame Me' & 'Paper Doll'
The Mills Brothers
The Mills Brothers, the first African-Americans to have a network radio show, was an American jazz and pop vocal quartet. They made more than 2,000 recordings and sold more than 50 million copies, including three dozen Gold Records. Some of their hits were “Lazy River,” “Someday You’ll Want Me to Want You,” “Organ Grinder’s Swing” and “Caravan.”
Russ Columbo: You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)
Russ Columbo, a crooner who rivaled Bing Crosby in the early 1930’s before his premature death from an accidental gunshot, was a member of the string section of Gus Arnheim’s Orchestra. He did vocals for Arnheim shortly before the Rhythm Boys began performing with him. Columbo became popular, especially with the ladies, after winning a radio contract with NBC and a recording contract with RCA Victor. His most popular song was “You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love.)"
Kate Smith: 'When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain'
Kate Smith, whose signature song was “God Bless America,” was an American singer who gained fame on radio, where she was a major star, and on television. Her recording career spanned five decades. Among her most successful tunes were “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Rose O’Day” and “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You.” She helped write the lyrics to her theme song, “When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain.”
Mildred Bailey Sings 'All of Me'
Mildred Bailey, known as “Mrs. Swing,” was an influential American jazz singer who became popular as a vocalist with Paul Whiteman’s band. She was the sister of Bing Crosby’s Rhythm Boys partner, Al Rinker. Jazz vocal collectors rate her as one of the best of the 1930’s era. Among the songs she recorded are “Where Are You,” “Thanks for the Memories,” “Bob White” and “Born to Swing.”
'Don't Worry 'Bout Me'
Louis Prima & Keely Smith
Louis Prima, who was a featured performer in Bing Crosby’s “Rhythm on the River” in 1936, was an Italian-American bandleader, singer, songwriter and trumpeter whose “shuffle” was his trademark. His band concentrated on novelty songs when Keely Smith, his fourth wife, succeeded Cathy Ricciardi as his band singer.
George Jessel Sings 'My Mother's Eyes'
George Jessel, a Bronx, N.Y., native who was known as the “Toastmaster General,” was a singer, actor, songwriter and Academy Award-winning movie producer who was famous as a multi-talented comedic entertainer. He gained success in vaudeville in the early 1920’s and quickly became a leading man on Broadway. He had his own radio show, followed by his own TV show in the ‘50’s. He was an outspoken supporter of civil rights and anti-Semitism.
Vaughn Monroe Sings 'Ghost Riders in the Sky'
Vaughn Monroe, singer and bandleader, was a baritone, a trumpeter, a songwriter and an actor who was most popular through the 1940’s and ’50s. A native of Akron, Ohio, he formed a band in Boston in 1940 and was its principal vocalist. Monroe’s popular radio show, Camel Caravan, was broadcast from Boston. He had many big hits including “Ballarina,” “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” “Someday You’ll Want Me to Want You,” “Let It Snow” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Lena Horne Sings 'Stormy Weather'
Lena Horne was a Brooklyn, N.Y., born singer, actress and dancer whose career, which began at the Cotton Club, spanned nearly seven decades. She was active in civil rights and was popular in night clubs as well as on Broadway and on television. Her record albums were also well received. “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music” ran on Broadway for more than three years.
'Dream a Little Dream of Me'
Wayne King, known as “the Waltz King,” was an American musician, songwriter, singer and bandleader who created his own band after playing saxophone with the popular Paul Whiteman Ochestra, the most influential group of its era. King was popular on radio and later on television. Among his most popular recordings were “Goodnight Sweetheart,” “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Maria Elena,” “All Alone,” and “Dancing With Tears in My Eyes.”
'It's Been a Long, Long Time'
'Misty' June Christy
Christy, known for her “sweet, velvet-smooth” vocals, won
success with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. She was best known for her debut album,
“Something Cool.” Among her hit songs were “Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy,”
"Tampico," and “How High the Moon.” She appeared on many TV shows and performed in dozens of concert tours around the world.
Johnny Mercer With Bing Crosby
Johnny Mercer, an American lyricist, singer and songwriter, recorded many of the songs he wrote, which became big hits. He wrote the lyrics to more than 1,500 songs and won four Academy Awards and 11 more nominations. His idols were Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong. He collaborated with Irving Berlin on “Lazybones," which quickly became a hit. His first big hit was “I’m an Old Cowhand From the Rio Grande,” which was performed by Crosby in “Rhythm on the Range” in 1936.
Louis Armstrong Performs 'Basin Street Blues'
Louis Armstrong, known affectionately as “Satchmo,” was a trumpeter and singer who came to prominence in the 1920’s and was a major influence on jazz and popular music throughout his long career. Despite his gravelly voice, he was an influential vocalist and a skilled scat singer. He was a huge influence on younger white singers, notably Bing Crosby who admired him greatly for his immense musical talent.
John McCormack Sings 'Jeannine, I Dream of Lilac Time'
John McCormack, who made his operatic debut in 1906, was a celebrated Irish tenor known for his repertoire of operatic and popular songs. He was renowned for his diction and breath control. By 1912 his attention turned to the concert stage. He made hundreds of recordings and broadcast regularly on radio. He also appeared on several sound films. Among his recordings were “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” and “The Wearing of the Green.”
Enrico Caruso Sings 'Over There'
Enrico Caruso, a famous Italian tenor, was arguably the greatest male operatic singer in history. His career spanned from 1895 to 1920. He made a record 863 appearances at the New York Metropolitan Opera, where he was the leading singer for 18 consecutive seasons. His singing style influenced virtually all Italian and French operatic repertoires. He embraced the use of cutting edge technology (commercial sound recording) resulting in unrivaled financial success.
Slim Whitman Sings 'Rose Marie'
Slim Whitman, “The Smiling Starduster,” is a legend of the Country and Western music industry. He is known for his yodeling ability. The American country music singer sold more than 100 million albums and his hit single “Rose Marie” held the record for the longest time at No. 1 on the UK charts for 37 years from 1955 until 1992. Among his other hits are “Indian Love Call” and “Secret Love.” He is a self-taught left-handed guitarist.
Hoagy Carmichael Sings 'Lazybones'
Hoagy Carmichael, considered by many to be the foremost American composer, was also a singer, actor and bandleader. He described his unique voice as being “the way a shaggy dog looks… I have Wabash fog and sycamore twigs in my throat.” Of his many hit songs, “Stardust” (first recorded by Bing Crosby) is no doubt his most famous. Other hit songs are “Georgia on My Mind,” “Up a Lazy River,” “Lazybones” “Small Fry” and “This Is the Army (Mr. Jones.”)
Ukulele Ike Sings 'Dinah'
Ukulele Ike (Cliff Edwards)
Ukulele Ike (Cliff Edwards) was an American singer and musician who specialized in jazzy renditions of pop standards and novelty tunes. He was popular in the 1920’s and ‘30s and had a No. 1 hit with “Singing in the Rain” in 1929. He also did animated cartoons and was best known as the voice of Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio.” He recorded in his distinctive style early examples of jazz scat singing in 1922 and was one of the most popular singers of the decade.
Anita O'Day Sings 'I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me'
Anita O’Day, known as the “Jezebel of Jazz,” was an American jazz singer who was admired for her sense of rhythm and dynamics. She shattered the image of the “girl singer” by refusing to pander to the stereotype and presenting herself as a “hip” jazz musician. She was a pioneer in bebop and cited Martha Raye as a major influence. Her first big hit was ‘Let Me Off Uptown,” a novelty duet with Roy Eldridge.
Patti Page Sings 'Let Me Call You Sweetheart'
Patti Page, a traditional pop singer whose signature song was “Tennessee Waltz,” had 12 million-selling singles from 1950 to 1965. By virtue of her blending country style into many of her most popular songs she appeared often on the country charts. Some of her hits were “With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming,” “I Went to Your Wedding,” and “(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window?”
Hank Williams Sings 'Lovesick Blues'
Hank Williams, “Luke the Drifter,” was widely considered the greatest country and western singer and songwriter of all time. He was a native of Montgomery, Alabama. He charted many hit songs, which were also hits by other artists. His repertoire included pop, gospel, blues and rock styles. He had his own band, the Drifting Cowboys. Among his many big hits were “Lovesick Blues,” “Cold, Cold Heart,” “Your Cheating Heart” and “Long Gone Lonesome Blues." He died at age 29.
Peggy Lee Sings 'Why Don't You Do Right'
Peggy Lee, an American jazz and popular music singer whose signature song was “Fever,” began her career on radio singing with the Benny Goodman band. She was a multi-faceted artist and performer who wrote music for films and created conceptual record albums encompassing poetry, jazz, chamber pop and art songs. Her career, which included acting, spanned nearly seven decades. Lee’s first hit song was “Somebody Else Is Taking My Place” in 1942. She also had a huge hit with “Why Don’t You Do Right.”
Sarah Vaughan Sings 'Whatever Lola Wants'
Sarah Vaughan, known as “The Divine One,” was an American jazz singer whose voice was described by jazz commentator Scott Yanow as having “one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th Century.” Vaughan joined the Earl Hines big band in 1943 and toured the country along with featured baritone Billy Eckstine. She joined Eckstine’s band in 1944. Some of her popular recordings were “If You Could See Me Now,” “Don’t Blame Me,” “Everything I Have Is Yours” and “Body and Soul.”
Andy Williams Sings 'Speak Softly Love'
Andy Williams, an American pop singer who sang in a quartet with his brothers, Bob, Don and Dick in the late 1930’s, got a big boost when the group performed with Bing Crosby on his hit record “Swinging on a Star” in 1944. His solo career began in 1953. He had a popular radio show from 1962 to 1971. Williams has three Platinum and 18 Gold albums. Among his hit songs are “Canadian Sunset” and “Can’t Get Used to Losing You.” His signature song is “Moon River,” which is the name of his theater in Branson, Missouri.
Vic Damone 'On the Street Where You Live'
Vic Damone, a singer, recording star and entertainer, began his career in the late 1940’s when he became a regular on the popular Arthur Godfrey show and released his final album in 2002. Frank Sinatra, who inspired his career, has been quoted as saying that Damone “has the best set of pipes in the business.” Among his hit songs are “You’re Breaking My Heart,” “Again,” “My Heart Cries for You,” “You Were Only Fooling (While I Was Falling in Love,)” and “Tzena Tzena Tzena.”
Bob Eberly and Helen O'Connell Sing 'Green Eyes'
Bob Eberly & Helen O'Connell
Bob Eberly, a big band vocalist and brother of big-band singer Ray Eberle (spelling OK), is best known for his signature song, “Green Eyes” and for his singing with Jimmy Dorsey’s band. Because of the way they sang “Green Eyes” together, according to Wikipedia, many thought Bob would end up marrying Helen O’Connell, an American singer, dancer and actress who also sang with Jimmy Dorsey’s band. Among her best selling records are “Amapola,” “Tangerine” and “Yours.” She was chosen best female singer in 1940 and 1941 by Metronome magazine.
Al Bowlly Sings 'Melancholy Baby'
Al Bowlly, whose diverse range was said to rival that of Bing Crosby, was a popular British jazz crooner during the 1930’s. He made more that 1,000 recordings between 1927 and 1941, when he was killed by a German Luftwaffe parachute mine outside his home. Among his hits were “Blue Skies,” “If I Had You,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “My Melancholy Baby.”
Judy Garland: 'The Trolley Song"
Judy Garland was an actress and singer of international stardom in musicals and dramatic roles as well as on stage. She initially appeared in Vaudeville with her sisters and in 1939 became identified in the role of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” She starred in a dozen movies with Mickey Rooney. She was named eighth among the “Greatest Female Stars of All Time” by the American Film Institute. Her songs include “The Trolley Song” and “The Man That Got Away.”
Cab Callaway Sings 'Minnie the Moocher'
Cab Calloway, a master of scat singing, was an American jazz singer and bandleader who had been hired to replace Duke Ellington’s orchestra at the Cotton Club, the country’s premier jazz venue. He had a live national radio show and appeared on the radio show of Walter Winchell and on Bing Crosby’s show at New York’s Paramount Theater, breaking the major network color barrier as a result.
Bessie Smith Sings 'Nobody Wants You When You're Down and Out'
Bessy Smith, “The Empress of the Blues,” an American, was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920’s and ‘30’s. The Chattanooga, Tennessee, native was a major influence on later jazz vocalists. Among her early hit songs were “Gulf Coast Blues” and “Downhearted Blues.” She was often accompanied by the best musicians of the day, including Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson. Her career was cut short by the Great Depression and “talkies,” which marked the dying days of vaudeville.
Helen Humes Sings 'I Cried for You'
Helen Humes was a jazz and blues singer and band vocalist with the Count Basie Band and later with Harry James’ band. She was a versatile vocalist and recorded such swing songs as “I Can Dream Can’t I,” “Song of the Wanderer,” That’s the Dreamer in Me” and “Jubilee.” In 1938 the Louisville, Ky., native replaced Billie Holiday as lead female vocalist with Count Basie. She worked with a number of bands and top singers, including Nat King Cole.
Fats Waller Sings 'This Joint Is Jumping'
Fats Waller, one of the most popular performers of his era, was a jazz pianist, organist, composer and comedic entertainer. A New York City native, Waller was also a prolific songwriter who wrote or co-wrote “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Squeeze Me” and “Ain’t Misbehaving.” Although he played with many performers, he attained great success with his own six-piece combo, “Fats Waller and His Rhythm.” His partner and collaborator, Andy Razaf, described him as “the soul of melody…a man who made the piano sing.”
Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby Sing 'I'll Capture Her Heart'
Fred Astaire was the premier Broadway stage dancer of his era as well as an actor, singer and choreographer. With a career that spanned nearly eight decades, Astaire made 31 musical films and was named the fifth greatest male star of all time. He made 10 films with Ginger Rogers with whom he was closely associated throughout his career. He starred with Bing Crosby in “Holiday Inn” (1942) and “Blue Skies” (1946.)
Eddie Arnold Sings 'Make the World Go Away'
Eddie Arnold, “TheTennessee Plowboy,” was an American country music singer whose career spanned six decades. He was credited with creating the Nashville sound in the 1950’s and had 147 songs on the Billboard country music charts. Arnold sold more than 85 million records from 1943 until his death in 2008. One of his biggest hits was “Make the World Go Away.” Other hits include “Heartaches by the Numbers,” “My World,” “Welcome to My World” and “Red Roses for a Blue Lady.”
Ray Price Sings 'Crazy Arms' & 'Heartaches by the Number'
Ray Price, known as the “Cherokee Cowboy,” is an American country and western singer, songwriter and guitarist whose best known songs include “Release Me,” “Heartaches by the Numbers,” “Crazy Arms,” “Danny Boy” and “City Lights.” The Perryville, Texas, native and former U.S. Marine took over his roommate’s band, the Drifting Cowboys, from Hank Williams when Williams died in 1953, and formed his own band, the Cherokee Cowboys.
Johnnie Ray Sings 'Cry'
Johnnie Ray, cited by critics as a major precursor of what would become rock and roll, was an American singer, songwriter and pianist who was popular throughout most of the 1950’s. He was noted for his jazz and blues-influenced music and his animated stage persona. His signature song was “Cry,” which was on the same record as “The Little White Cloud That Cried.” The record sold more than two million copies. Among his other big hits were “Whiskey and Gin,” “Please Mr. Sun,” “Walking My Baby Back Home” and “Just Walkin’ in the Rain.”
The Lennon Sisters Sing 'Tonight You Belong to Me'
The Lennon Sisters
The Lennon Sisters was a singing group made popular as regulars on the weekly Lawrence Welk TV Show. The sisters are Dianne, Peggy, Kathy, Janet and Mimi. The group’s first hit was “Tonight, You Belong to Me,” which reached No. 15 on the charts in 1956. Their 1961 single, “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” hit No. 1 and was their biggest hit. In the ‘70s the group performed regularly on the Andy Williams Show and toured with him in Las Vegas.
Chick Henderson: 'I'm Stepping Out With a Memory Tonight'
Chick Henderson was a popular English singer whose career was cut short when, as a merchant seaman, he died of schrapnel wounds in September, 1939, from a flying bomb early in World War II. He was only 31. He was a prolific recording artist and performer with dance bands (notably Harry Leader's band and Joe Loss' radio orchestra.) With his rich, powerful voice he was a favorite of the ladies. Henderson's biggest hit, which sold more than a million copies, was "Begin the Beguine."
More by this Author
My favorite vocalists reflect the fact that I was brought up in Yonkers, N.Y., in the 1940's, but the fabulous music of the '20's, '30's and '40's still ring in my ears. Enjoy the youtube videos.
Here's a compilation of some of the great songs and singers that your grandfather knew and loved a few decades ago. If you're not familiar with these artists, you have a treat in store for you.
Irish lightweight boxer Shamus O'Brien aka Michael J. Hogan, buried in an unmarked grave in 1959, now rests in Yonkers beneath a beautiful tombstone -- his dignity restored by the boxing community.