Glenn Miller: Interesting Liner Notes

Picture of Glenn Miller Live!

I love having my record collection on something that can fit in the palm of my hand.  But there is one thing I truly miss, LINER NOTES.  I really enjoy reading through those album notes on the backs and inner sleeves of those old, dusty records.  There are so many tidbits that can be found that never made it to the Web or into any books.

Here are just a few song notes I grabbed from some Glenn Miller albums that I thought were interesting.  Enjoy!

Moonlight Serenade:
Composed by Glenn originally as an assignment for the famous music theorist and tutor Joseph Schillinger, with whom Miller studied, the melody was first titled "Now I lay Me Down to Weep."  Later, Glenn named his great song "Gone with the Dawn", but in 1938, when he adopted it as his signature, he changed it to the well known title: "Moonlight Serenade". 
- Glenn Miller On The Air, Volume 3


Mutiny in the Nursery:
Tin Pan Alley had been making hay with such children's rhymes as "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" and "Three Little Fishies".  Johnny Mercer, quite possibly with tongue in cheek, produced this answer song involving Marion Hutton, Tex Beneke, Ray Eberle and the Band in the vocal.
- Glenn Miller On The Air, Volume 1


Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree:
Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (with Anyone Else But Me) was a big hit in 1942 for The Andrews Sisters, who performed it on screen in a wartime musical called "Private Buckaroo".  Their version was outsold, however, by Glenn Miller's studio recording, which reached Number 1 in July of that year ... Notice how carefully every word is enunciated.  As Beneke once pointed out, Miller was quite strict about not slurring the lyrics.  "Don't sing, 'Don-si-tunder the yapple tree'" Miller would warn.  "Sing, 'Don't sit under the apple tree.'"
- Glenn Miller Live!, Reader's Digest Collection


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Happy Birthday: Mildred Bailey

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Mildred Bailey, vocalist and known as The Queen of Swing, was born February 27, 1907.  Happy Birthday Mildred!

 - If you'd like to learn a little more about Mildred Bailey and hear a couple of her songs, then check out the Podcast Extra: 

Big Band Birthdays - February 27: Mildred Bailey


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Podcast: Episode 50

The Big Band and Swing Podcast

The Big Band and Swing Podcast - A Cheesy Powerhouse - 

Episode 50 includes songs from Raymond Scott, Artie Shaw, Ina Ray Hutton and Frank Sinatra.  Ronnaldo plays a very cheesy radio ad and we hear some great Soundies.

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast

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Happy Birthday: Cee Pee Johnson

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February 22nd is the birthday of drummer, vocalist and bandleader, Cee Pee Johnson. Cee Pee was born on Feb 22, 1915 in New Orleans.

 - If you'd like to learn a little more about Cee Pee Johnson and hear a couple of his songs, then check out the Podcast Extra: 

Big Band Birthdays - February 22: Cee Pee Johnson


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Ernst Van t'Hoff

Picture of Ernst Van t'Hoff

Ernst Van t'Hoff was a Dutch trumpeter and pianist that led a fantastic Dance band in the late 1930's and 1940's. Van t'Hoff was born in Zandvoort, Holland, in 1908.  There seems to be some multiple ways to spell his last name.  His name has appeared on recording credits and in print as: Van t'Hoff, Van 't Hoff and Van't Hoff.  I'm going with Ernst Van t'Hoff.

He played professionally in the Netherlands and Belgium from the late 1920's through the 1930's.  He spent much of that time as a sideman but by the mid 1930's he was laying down the foundations of his own band.

By the time the World War II broke out, Van t'Hoff was leading his own band full time. Holland was occupied by Nazi forces. Ernst Van t'Hoff soon found himself in a bit of trouble.  Even though the Nazis often used Swing and Jazz music for propaganda purposes, it was banned in all Nazi-occupied territories.  They considered Swing and Jazz as "unerw├╝nschte musik" (undesirable music). Let's just say they were not fans of Van t'Hoff and the music he was playing.


Listen to: "Tanz im Carlton" performed by Ernst van t`Hoff

If you listen to Van t'Hoff's sound, it was strongly influenced by jazz and swing.  He was becoming known for his versions of American tunes, his Glenn Miller covers are great.  In fact, many of Van t'Hoff's original compositions had a Miller-like sound to them.  Eventually, his musical style and performances attracted "too much" attention, and more importantly, the attention of the Gestapo.  It's rumored that Ernst Van t'Hoff was banned from Berlin and his movements restricted to the Netherlands in 1943.

After World War II, Van t'Hoff led some orchestras, but pretty much stayed in Belgium and Holland.  In 1955, Ernst Van t'Hoff died of a heart attack.  He was only 46 years old.

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History of the Song: "Minnie the Moocher"

Picture of Cab Calloway


Folks, here's the story 'bout Minnie the Moocher.  Well, it's actually about the song "Minnie the Moocher" by Cab Calloway.  This classic from the Big Band Era is known mostly for it's scat style lyrics and was first recorded back in 1931.  It's hard to imagine that this song is now 90 years old!

An interesting little fact I read while researching the song was that those famous "Hi-De-Ho" scat lyrics came about because he forgot the lyrics.  Calloway admitted in a Billboard Magazine article that the "Hi-De-Hos" weren't in the early and raw versions of the song. One night while performing a live radio remote he forgot the lyrics and started to ad-lib.  Can you even imagine the song without the legendary scat included?    

So we all love to sing all of those "Hi-De Hi-De Ho" parts, but it's easy to miss all of the drug references contained in the song. The term "kick the gong around" was slang for smoking opium.  And let's not forget that Minnie was in love with Smokey even though he was kokey.  Yea, it sounds like Smokey had a bit of a cocaine habit.

Cab Calloway would go on to mention Minnie in many of his other songs including: "Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day", "Ghost of Smoky Joe", "Kickin' the Gong Around", "Minnie's a Hepcat Now", "Mr. Paganini - Swing for Minnie", "We Go Well Together", and "Zah Zuh Zaz". 

So an obvious question you may have: Was there really a Minnie the Moocher?  There's a bit of a debate on that.  According to an article published in Jet Magazine in 1951, there was a real Minnie who had recently died and “was a familiar figure in downtown Indianapolis.” Her real name was known to be Minnie Gayton and she acquired the nickname “Moocher” by regularly begging for food. But there's a lot holes in that theory and Calloway himself never mentions that as a fact.

You can listen to "Minnie the Moocher" below.  I've also included the lyrics without the Hi-De-Hos to save space.  Enjoy!


Listen to "Minnie the Moocher" by Cab Calloway

Minnie the Moocher:
Folks, here's a story 'bout Minnie the Moocher
She was a red hot hoochie-coocher
She was the roughest, toughest frail
But Minnie had a heart as big as a whale

She messed around with a bloke named Smokey
She loved him though he was kokey
He took her down to Chinatown
And he showed her how to kick the gong around

She had a dream about the king of Sweden
He gave her things, that she was needin'
He gave her a home built of gold and steel
A diamond car, with the platinum wheels

He gave her his townhouse and his racing horses
Each meal she ate was a dozen courses
She had a million dollars worth of nickels and dimes
She sat around and counted them all a million times

Poor Min, poor Min, poor Min

Remember:  If you would like access to Bonus Content and Podcast Extras then join our Patreon and become a Hepcat.  It's a great way to support the station.  

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Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Streaming Online from King of Prussia, PA. Commercial Free!
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