Another New Year's Eve

New Years Eve

It's New Year's Eve yet again (they seem to come quicker and quicker every year, don't they?) and we are about to begin a new decade.  I hope that everyone that is going out tonight has a blast but please, please be safe.  Don't be drinking and driving. :)

Happy New Year's Eve and Looking Forward to Playing Your Favorite Music in 2020!

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


Worldwide Love of Swing City Radio

Audience Map

It's been exciting to see Swing City Radio quickly grow into a popular Big Band and Swing radio station in the United States this year.  I'm so thankful for our listening audience.  Something that took me off guard was the growth of our international audience.  German listeners, especially in cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne, were our largest audience outside of the United States.  Spain, Switzerland, France, Argentina and Poland also showed very surprising numbers of Big Band and Swing lovers that tuned into Swing City Radio during 2019.

Let's make 2020 the Year of Swing!  It makes me so happy to know that the love of 1930's and 1940's Big Band and Swing Music still has a worldwide appeal.

Thank you for listening to Swing City Radio!

Vielen Dank für das Hören von Swing City Radio!

¡Gracias por escuchar Swing City Radio!

Merci d'avoir écouté Swing City Radio!

Ďakujeme, že ste počuli Swing City Radio!

Dziękujemy za słuchanie Swing City Radio!

Grazie per aver ascoltato Swing City Radio!

Swing City Radioをお聴きいただきありがとうございます!

I used Google Translate to write those thank you messages.  So don't be mad at me if the translation is wrong. Haha. :)

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


Big Band Jam Session

Swing City Logo

A fantastic jam session of "Honeysuckle Rose" featuring some of the icons of the Big Band Era including:  Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich, Ziggy Elman, Ed McKinney, Illinois Jacquet and Les Paul!  It was recorded live for the program "Command Performance" on September 30, 1944.


It starts off a little scattered as all of the musicians find their groove within the song, then features some nice solos.  It now showing on our Youtube Channel.  Enjoy!

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



I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo


Benny Goodman on Swing City Radio

I've Got a Gal In Kalamazoo by Benny Goodman?

Everyone remembers the Glenn Miller version of "I've Got A Gal In Kalamazoo."  And rightfully so!  The song was a mega-hit for Glenn Miller and His Orchestra and appeared in the movie "Orchestra Wives."  But did you know that Benny Goodman recorded a version of the song as well?  You can hear this version of the song right here on Swing City Radio but I've included a video below so you can enjoy it right now!


The vocals on the song are handled by Dick Haymes and was one of a handful of titles sung by  Haymes at his only  recording session with the Benny Goodman band.  Their version was recorded in June of 1942.  Enjoy!

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



Radio Sound Effects



Have you ever wondered how they did all of those great sound effects on those old radio shows in the 1930's and 1940's?  Now you have a chance to look behind the scenes at how the sound men and women created the broadcasts with sound effects. The nine minute video below, "Back of the Mike", begins with a child listening to the radio and his imagination is put on the screen. The camera then goes to a 1930's era radio sound studio where the program is originating. I started the video at the 2 minute mark to get to the good parts of the video.

This video gives you an insightful look at how those creative and life-like sounds were created.  Enjoy!


Merry Christmas 2019

Swing City Radio wishes you a Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you out there in radio land.  I trust you've been enjoying the Big Band Christmas music we've been playing over the last month.  The holidays can sometimes lead to a lot of stress, so my hopes are that some of you were able to take some time to relax, kick back and enjoy the music we play here on Swing City Radio.

2019 has been a great year for the station.  We've only been broadcasting since October and the station is picking up new listeners every day.  I personally want to thank you all for listening.  This coming year should be an exciting year for Swing City Radio.  So please spread the word about the cool Big Band / Swing radio station that you found on the internet.  Getting your friends and family listening is the greatest Christmas gift you can give to us.  :)

Thanks again! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and I hope you all have a great 2020.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today!

Benny Carter

Benny Carter

Benny Carter (1907–2003) was an important composer, arranger, and bandleader in the Swing Era. He was also a saxophonist, clarinetist and trumpeter. He was a pioneer on the alto saxophone. As an arranger, his charts for Fletcher Henderson's big band helped shape the swing style. He had an unusually long career that lasted into the 1990's. During the 1980's and 1990's, he was nominated for eight Grammy Awards, which included receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award.

In the 1920's, Benny Carter performed with likes of June Clark, Billy Paige, and Earl Hines, then toured as a member of the Wilberforce Collegians led by Horace Henderson. He appeared on record for the first time in 1927 as a member of Charlie Johnson's Paradise Ten. He returned to the Collegians and became their bandleader through 1929, including a performance at the Savoy Ballroom in New York City.

In his early 20's, Carter worked as arranger for Fletcher Henderson after that position was vacated by Don Redman. He had no formal education in arranging, so he learned by trial and error.

In 1932 he formed a band in New York City that included Chu Berry, Sid Catlett, Cozy Cole along with some other great musicians. Carter's arrangements were complex. Among the most significant were "Keep a Song in Your Soul", written for Henderson in 1930, and "Lonesome Nights" and "Symphony in Riffs" from 1933, both of which show off his writing for saxophones.

By the early 1930's, Carter and Johnny Hodges were considered the leading alto saxophonists. Carter also became a leading trumpet soloist, having rediscovered the instrument. He recorded extensively on trumpet in the 1930's. Carter's short-lived Orchestra played the Harlem Club in New York but only recorded a handful of records for Columbia, OKeh and Vocalion. The OKeh sides were issued under the name The Chocolate Dandies.

Carter died in 2003 at the ripe old age of 95.

You can hear Benny Carter's music and arrangements right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Royal Crown Revue

Royal Crown Revue

Royal Crown Revue was a Los Angeles based Swing band formed in 1989. They are credited with starting the swing revival movement of the 1990's.

The band was founded by Mark Stern, Eddie Nichols and Mando Dorame out of their love of Rockabilly, Punk, Jazz, Blues, Soul and other styles of roots music.

Hollywood has helped spread the word about Royal Crown Revue.  After filming The Mask, they began a residency at The Derby, which gained worldwide recognition due mainly to the club's inclusion in the film Swingers. Although the band's music was an instrumental part of The Derby's swing scene, a conflict in their Warner Brothers contract prevented Royal Crown Revue from appearing in the movie.

You can hear Royal Crown Revue right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Marion Hutton

Marion Hutton

Marion Hutton (1919–1987) was a singer, actress and is best known for her singing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. She was also the older sister of Betty Hutton.

Marion and Betty Hutton were raised in Battle Creek, Michigan. The sisters' father abandoned the family when they were both young forcing their mother to work a variety of jobs to support the family until she became a successful bootlegger. Marion Hutton was eventually discovered by Glenn Miller and was invited to join the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1938. She was still only 17, so Glenn and Helen Miller became her legal guardians so she would be able to sing and perform in the nightclubs where the band played.  Marion had been quoted in interviews explaining that Glenn Miller was Like a father to her because she never had a father that she had remembered.

Miller wanted Marion to appear as an all-American girl, so on her first few performances, he introduced her as "Sissy Jones." The pseudonym was not used beyond those first performances.

Hutton was an important part of the Miller band for over six years.  She remained with Miller (except for a small personal break) until the orchestra disbanded in 1942.

Marion Hutton

You can hear Marion Hutton's vocals on many of Glenn Miller's songs right here on Swing City Radio.

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

The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra

The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra

There are some great dance bands out today carrying the "torch" for the iconic Big Bands that you hear on Swing City Radio.  One band that has truly nailed down the sound of the 1930's and 40's is a talented band out of New York City, The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra!  We are currently featuring their Christmas song "Over the River and Through the Wood" in our Christmas music rotation.  The song can be found on their album: Underneath the Mistletoe.  You can listen to or purchase the song right now at: glenncrytzer.com/music

The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra is a New York City based band led by Butler, Pennsylvania born, Glenn Crytzer.  Other members include: Sam Hoyt, Jason Prover, Mike Davis, Rob Edwards, Jim Fryer, Joe McDonough, Jay Ratman, Dennis Lichtman, Dan Block, Matt Koza, Ricky Alexander, Bryan Reeder, Ian Hutchison and Andrew Millar.  This extremely talented group of musicians specializes in the authentic performance of big band and dance band music from the 1930's and 40's as well as new original music composed and arranged in the classic styles of this period. They were voted Best Group in the 2017 NYC Fans Decide Jazz Poll which was sponsored by Hot House Magazine.

Some of The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra's music has even appeared in a variety of TV programs and films by Disney, MGM, ABC, and more.

To learn more about The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra be sure to check out their website at: GCOswing.com as well as their Facebook Fan Page at: facebook.com/GlennCrytzerMusic and be sure to listen for their Christmas song "Over the River and Through the Wood" playing now on Swing City Radio.

For those of you out there that think things like "They just don't make music like they used to!" Then I STRONGLY encourage you to listen to The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra songs found at: glenncrytzer.com/music.  You won't be disappointed.

Of course, you can also hear The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Chrissy & The Get Go's

Chrissy & The Get Go's - Santa's Sleighin' It

I'm sure that you've noticed that we have been sprinkling in some Christmas Songs into our playlist since Thanksgiving.  Most of the songs you've been hearing are classic holiday standards recorded in the 1930's and 40's but we've also been featuring new Christmas Songs to mix things up a bit.  One of those songs is "Santa's Sleighin' It" by Chrissy & The Get Go's.  The band is based in Nashville, Tennessee and led by singer/songwriter Chrissy Blazier.  Chrissy's strong vocal talents are backed by a talented group of fine musicians including Chris Rodriguez, Mike Kyle, Boh Cooper and Bobby Blazier.

"Santa's Sleighin' It" is a good, old fashioned, Christmas song that has a catchy hook and a fun, bouncy feel to it.  You can hear the song right here on Swing City Radio or you can listen right now by visiting the band's Soundcloud Page: Listen to "Santa's Sleighin' It"

You can also learn more about Chrissy & The Get Go's by visiting their Facebook page: facebook.com/chrissyblazier

Rumor has it that Chrissy is a former Las Vegas headliner! So be sure to read more about her and the band on their fan page and keep listening to Swing City Radio to hear "Santa's Sleighin' It."

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

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Swing City Radio wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!  We are so thankful for all of you that have been listening to the station for the last couple months.  If you like what you are hearing, then please let your friends and family know.

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

Christmas Music

Big Band and Swing Christmas Music

Starting on Thanksgiving Day, Swing City Radio will be playing Christmas songs by your favorite Big Band and Swing artists along with some other Christmas standards.  We will be scattering them in throughout the day mixed in with our normal programming.  (About one or two songs per hour.)

We will also be featuring some Christmas songs from some new, unsigned Big Band artists that we are very excited about.  I plan on featuring some articles about them so you can learn more about the artists and their music.

I'll keep you posted about any plans we may have for Christmas Day and New Years Eve.

I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving and thanks for continuing to listen and supporting the station.  Maybe you can have the station playing in the background as you have your Thanksgiving dinner?  It's my understanding that Big Band and Swing music helps the body digest food better.  Just kidding! :)

Enjoy the holiday and be safe!

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

Earl Burtnett

Earl Burtnett

Earl Burtnett (1896–1936) was a bandleader, songwriter and pianist.  Burtlett was popular in the 1920's and 1930's.

In 1918 he joined Art Hickman's band as lead arranger and writer for the orchestra.  He penned some successful songs for Hickman including "Sleep", "Leave Me With A Smile", "Mandalay", and "If I Should Lose You".

In 1929, he took over as band leader on Hickman's retirement. His band then had a residency at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, and recorded for Brunswick Records backing the Biltmore Trio. They played across the country in the early and mid 1930's, with periods at both the Rice Hotel in Houston, and later at the Drake Hotel and other venues in Chicago, where their concerts were often broadcast on WGN radio.

Burtnett recorded for Columbia from 1926 through 1928 when he signed with Brunswick again and recorded prolifically through mid-1931.

On Christmas Eve, 1935, Burtnett underwent an emergency appendectomy in Chicago. However, peritonitis set in after the operation, and he died on January 2, 1936 at the age of 39.  He unfortunately passed away right as swing music was starting to take hold in the United States.  One can only imagine the great music he would have created.

You can hear Earl Burtnett right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Don Redman

Don Redman

Don Redman (1900 – 1964) was a talented musician of many instruments, as well as an innovative arranger, bandleader, and composer.

Redman was born in West Virginia. His father was a music teacher and his mother was a singer. Don began playing the trumpet at the age of three and joined his first band at the age of six. Think about that! Six years old and in a band! By the age of 12, Redman was proficient on all wind instruments ranging from trumpet to oboe as well and could even play piano.

In 1923, Redman joined the Fletcher Henderson orchestra, mostly playing clarinet and saxophones.  With Fletcher Henderson's band he began writing arrangements. Redman was very influential in establishing the sound that was to become swing.

In 1927, he joined McKinney's Cotton Pickers as their musical director and leader. He was responsible for their great success and arranged over half of their music selection.

Redman then formed the Don Redman Orchestra in 1931. They got a residency at the famous Manhattan jazz club Connie's Inn.  That year Redman also signed with Brunswick Records. The Brunswick records Redman made between 1931–1934 were some of the most complex pre-swing hot jazz arrangements of popular tunes.

The band hopped from label to label until 1940 when Redman disbanded the orchestra.  At that point in his career he concentrated on freelance work writing arrangements. Some of his arrangements became hits for Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie, and Harry James. In the 1950's he was the music director for singer Pearl Bailey.

You can hear Don Redman right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Bunny Berigan

Bunny Berigan

Bunny Berigan (1908–1942) was a trumpeter and bandleader whose career was tragically cut short by alcoholism.

Berigan started his career playing with local bands as a teenager in his home state of Wisconsin. He joined Hal Kemp's Orchestra in 1929 after failing his first tryout for the band.  By late 1930 he had already become a sought out studio musician providing trumpet solos for Abe Lyman, Paul Whiteman and Benny Goodman.  From late 1932 through early 1934, Berigan was a member of Paul Whiteman's orchestra, before playing with Abe Lyman's band for a bit in 1934.

In 1934, Bunny returned to freelancing and recorded as a sideman on hundreds of recordings, most notably with the Dorsey Brothers and Glenn Miller's earliest recordings as a band leader.

At the same time, Berigan joined Benny Goodman's Swing band. With Berigan and Gene Krupa both on board, the Goodman band made the tour that ended at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. That tour and performance are often credited with the launch of the swing era.  Berigan recorded a number of solos while with Benny Goodman, including "King Porter Stomp", "Sometimes I'm Happy", and "Blue Skies".

Berigan led his own band full-time from early 1937 until June 1942, with a six-month hiatus in 1940 as a sideman in Tommy Dorsey's band. Berigan's alcoholism worked against his financial success as a bandleader. The stresses of bandleading drove Berigan to drink even more heavily. Some of the notable members of his band were Buddy Rich, Ray Conniff and Les Elgart.

Berigan sadly passed away in 1942 of cirrhosis of the liver.

You can hear Bunny Berigan right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Cootie Williams

Cootie Williams

Cootie Williams (1911–1985) was a highly gifted trumpeter and band leader.

Cootie Williams began his professional career at the young age of fourteen with the Young Family band, which also happened to include Lester Young on sax. Williams once said he acquired his nickname as a boy when his father took him to a band concert. When it was over his father asked him what he'd heard and the young William replied, "Cootie, cootie, cootie."  Makes me wonder what band his father took him to see. :)

In 1928, he worked briefly in the bands of both Chick Webb and Fletcher Henderson.  His career took off when he became a member of Duke Ellington's orchestra when the band was playing at the Cotton Club. He also recorded his own sessions during this time, both as a freelancer and with other members Ellington's band. Williams was renowned for his "jungle" style of trumpet playing and for his use of the plunger mute. He would also sing occasionally. He was the soloist in major Ellington compositions like "Echoes of Harlem" and "Harlem Air Shaft."

In 1940 he joined Benny Goodman's orchestra. It was a highly publicized move within the Big Band community and it's fans. and it caused quite a stir at the time.  Then in 1941, Cootie Williams formed his own orchestra.  Some of the musicians he employed over the years were Charlie Parker, Eddie Davis, Bud Powell and Eddie Vinson.

In the late 1940's the band disbanded and Cootie began to focus more on rhythm and blues music.

You can listen to Cootie Williams and His Orchestra right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Dolly Dawn

Dolly Dawn

Dolly Dawn (1916–2002) was a vocalist and band leader. She was a singer with George Hall's Hotel Taft Orchestra in the 1930's and later took over control of the band.

In the early 1930's she appeared weekly on a local radio show based in New Jersey where she grew up. In 1935 she replaced Loretta Lee as vocalist with George Hall's orchestra.  She and the band broadcast six days a week from the famous Grill Room of the Taft Hotel in New York. The band became very popular. Her most successful song with George Hall's Hotel Taft Orchestra was "You're a Sweetheart."

In July of 1941 George Hall officially turned the band over to Dolly and became her manager. The band was renamed "Dolly Dawn and Her Dawn Patrol".  This was short-lived because she lost many member of the band because of the World War II draft. From 1942 she continued on without the band appearing in clubs, dance halls and in other engagements throughout the US.

Dolly continued to record as a solo artist into the 1950's.

You can hear Dolly Dawn and Her Dawn Patrol as well as George Hall's Hotel Taft Orchestra right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Raymond Scott

Raymond Scott

Raymond Scott (1908–1994) was an composer, band leader, pianist, record producer, and inventor of many electronic instruments.

Scott never scored cartoon soundtracks, but his music is familiar to millions because Carl Stalling adapted it in over 120 Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and other Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and other cartoons.  Just try to listen to Scott's music and not have visions of famous cartoon scenes that you may remember from your childhood. :)

Scott began his professional career as a pianist for the CBS Radio house band with his older brother. In late 1936, Raymond Scott put together a band with some of his CBS colleagues, calling it the Raymond Scott Quintette. It was a six-piece group, but he thought "Quintette" (an original spelling created by him) sounded "crisper". The band included Pete Pumiglio on clarinet, Bunny Berigan on trumpet (Later replaced by Dave Wade), Louis Shoobe on double bass, Dave Harris playing tenor saxophone and Johnny Williams on drums. They made their first recordings in 1937 for Master Records.

The Quintette represented Scott's vision of breathing new life into swing music through tight, busy arrangements and riffs that reduced improvisation. Scott called this style "descriptive jazz." He is also known for his unique and unusual song titles like "New Year's Eve in a Haunted House", "Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals" and "Bumpy Weather Over Newark".

Scott believed in composing and playing by ear. He didn't composed on paper at all.  The Quintette's songs derived from Scott humming phrases to his sidemen or by playing riffs and rhythms on his keyboard and letting the band members interpret his cues. It was all done by ear with no written scores. Scott, who was also a very creative sound engineer, recorded the band's rehearsals on discs and used the recordings as references to develop his compositions. He reworked, re-sequenced, and deleted passages, and added themes from other discs to construct the final songs. While creating a song, he let his group members improvise, but once the song had been completed, he regarded the song as "locked" and and "as is". This was a VERY different approach at that time.

The Quintette existed from 1937 to 1939 and recorded the popular "Twilight in Turkey", "Minuet in Jazz", "War Dance for Wooden Indians", "Reckless Night on Board an Ocean Liner", "Powerhouse", and "The Penguin."

You can hear many of Raymond Scott's recordings right here on Swing City Radio.

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

The Sunday Morning Swing


So how do you spend your Sunday mornings?  Do lounge around in pajamas sipping a delicious cup of coffee?  Maybe it's the one time in the week where you can sit down and have a relaxing breakfast with your family or spend some peaceful moments before going to church.

We all spend our precious Sunday Mornings in different ways.  Consider making The Sunday Morning Swing a new part of your routine.  Ease through your morning with the relaxing, smooth sounds of the Big Bands.  The Sunday Morning Swing features the softer Big Band favorites from the 1930's and 40's.  Let's make Big Band Music on Sunday mornings a tradition.  The show is even better with a great cup of coffee.

By the way, I like my coffee strong and bold.  No cream or sugar for this guy.  :)

Listen every Sunday Morning from 8am EST to 11am EST.

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

Vaughn Monroe

Vaughn Monroe

Vaughn Monroe (1911–1973) was a singer, trumpeter and band leader. He rose to popularity in the 1940's and maintained that popularity throughout the 1950's.

In 1940, Monroe formed his first band in Boston and became its main singer. He was signed to the Bluebird label of RCA Victor.

Monroe recorded extensively until 1956, and his signature tune was "Racing With the Moon". It sold more than one million copies and Monroe was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.  Among his other hits were "In the Still of the Night", "There I Go", "There I've Said It Again", "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow", "Ballerina", "Melody Time" and "Riders in the Sky."

Monroe's orchestra had a number of excellent musicians. They focused mainly on romantic ballads in the studio, these songs became the hits for them.  When live, the band had a fiercely swinging side only occasionally captured on record. In ballrooms, Monroe often reserved the final set of the evening for unrestrained, swinging music.  I need to find some of those sets and put them on the air.

Listen to Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra on Swing City Radio.

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

Erskine Hawkins

Erskine Hawkins

Erskine Hawkins (1914–1993) was a trumpeter, band leader and composer from Birmingham, Alabama. He is most remembered for composing the song "Tuxedo Junction" with saxophonist Bill Johnson. The song became a huge hit during World War II. Erskine's version made it as high as No. 7 on the national charts while Glenn Miller's version became a #1 Hit Song.

During 1936 through 1938, he recorded for Vocalion Records as "Erskine Hawkins and his 'Bama State Collegians". He later signed with RCA Victor Records and began recording on their Bluebird label as "Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra".

In the late 1930s Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra were one of the house bands at the Savoy Ballroom. They alternated with Chick Webb's band. They often used Tuxedo Junction as their sign-off song before the next band would take the stage.  Hawkins also engaged in battles of the bands with such bandleaders as Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, and Lionel Hampton.

In the mid 1940's, he was transferred to the main RCA Victor label, recording many of his greatest hits for both labels during the 40's.

Listen to Erskine Hawkins right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Veterans: Thank You

Veteran's Day

Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it… it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.

Swing City Radio thanks the American Veterans who have helped keep this incredible country free.



Swing Street Box Set

Swing Street Album Cover

I was out again this weekend searching the used record stores. As I was digging deep in a dusty ol' corner of one of the stores and I found this gem.  "Swing Street" is a 4 LP compilation of some great music.  The set was originally released in 1962.  I'm really looking forward to digitizing these LP's and getting them up on the station for your enjoyment.

You can look forward to hearing tracks from Eddie Condon And His Orchestra, Wingy Manone And His Orchestra, Red Allen, Louis Prima, John Kirby, Mildred Bailey and many, many more.

The artwork on the cover is fantastic and the booklet inside looks like it's filled with some great info.  (Haven't read it yet.  Just scanned through.)

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

Larry Clinton

Larry Clinton

Larry Clinton (1909-1985) was best known as a trumpeter who became a prominent American bandleader and arranger.

While in his twenties, Larry Clinton became a prolific arranger for some of the bigger bandleaders at the time. Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Glen Gray, Louis Armstrong, and Bunny Berigan all used Larry Clinton charts and arrangements.

His first crack at being a bandleader was from 1937 to 1941.  Larry recorded a string of hits for Victor Records. The Clinton band's repertoire was a mix of pop tunes of the day, instrumentals written by Clinton, and swing versions of classical music compositions. The last category swept the industry, and orchestras everywhere were "swinging the classics" by adding pop lyrics to melodies by Debussy, Tchaikovsky and other classical composers. His version of Debussy's "Reverie", with vocalist Bea Wain, was particularly popular.  His version of "My Reverie" peaked at #1 on Billboard in 1938.

In 1941 Clinton and his band appeared in six short musical films which eventually became "Soundies." This was one of his last jobs as a bandleader; he temporarily quit the music business upon the outbreak of World War II, and joined the United States Army Air Forces. A rated pilot, he rose to the rank of captain, was stationed in Calcutta and China and was a flight instructor with the 1343rd Base Unit.

After returning home from service, he resumed his musical career and enjoyed further success as a bandleader from 1948 to 1950.

You can hear many of Larry Clinton's songs on Swing City Radio.

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

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is considered a swing revival band from Southern California. Their biggest singles include "Go Daddy-O", "You and Me and the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)", and "Mr. Pinstripe Suit".

After playing in punk and alternative rock bands during the 1980's, Scotty Morris founded Big Bad Voodoo Daddy with Kurt Sodergren in Ventura, California.

So how did they pick the name Big Bad Voodoo Daddy?  Well, the story is that Scotty Morris met blues guitar legend Albert Collins after one of Collins' concerts. Scotty Morris, being a big Albert Collins fan asked Albert to sign a poster he had brought with him. "He signed my poster 'To Scotty, the big bad voodoo daddy'," Morris explains. "I thought it was the coolest name I ever heard on one of the coolest musical nights I ever had. So when it came time to name this band, I didn't really have a choice. I felt like it was handed down to me."

The band has concentrated on the swing of the 1940's and 1950's, playing clubs and lounges in their early years.

The band launched two CDs, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Watchu' Want for Christmas? under their own label before getting their big break when their songs "You and Me and the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)", "I Wan'na Be Like You" and "Go Daddy-O" were featured in the soundtrack of the 1996 comedy-drama Swingers.

At that point, they were signed by Interscope Records. While with Interscope, the band released Americana Deluxe, This Beautiful Life, and Save My Soul. The band has continued their tours, performances and album releases.  Thanks for continuing to carry the torch of Swing guys!

You can hear Big Bad Voodoo Daddy right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Dinah Shore

Dinah Shore

Dinah Shore (1916–1994) was an American singer, actress and television personality, and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1940's. She rose to prominence as a recording artist during the Big Band era. I have to say, Dinah was a HUGE artist during the era, but history seems to remember Doris Day and Patti Page more, maybe because they were so similar stylistically. She eventually moved on to television and achieved even greater success a decade later.

Her music career started off bumpy, after failing singing auditions for the bands of Benny Goodman, and both Dorsey brothers, Shore struck out on her own. She became the first singer of her era to achieve huge solo success. She had a string of 80 charted popular hits, spanning 1940–1957.

One of her most popular recordings was the holiday perennial "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Buddy Clark. The song was covered by many other artists, such as Ella Fitzgerald. Other hits included "Laughing on the Outside (Crying on the Inside)", "I Wish I Didn't Love You So", "I Love You (For Sentimental Reasons)", "Doin' What Comes Naturally", and "Dear Hearts and Gentle People".

During World War II, Shore participated in USO tours to Europe. She appeared in person, on radio, and on record with a number of British and American stars, including Major Glenn Miller and his large Army Air Force Band.

After appearing in a handful of feature films, she went on to a four-decade career in American television.  I remember watching her shows with my Pop Pop. I was too young to recall any details, but I know he was a fan of her.  Or maybe it was because there was only a handful of channels back then so you just watched what was on.  Regardless, I have memories of her on the tube.  :)

TV Guide ranked her at number 16 on their list of the top 50 television stars of all time.

Listen to Swing City Radio to hear many of Dinah Shore's songs.

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

Benny Goodman: The Golden Age of Swing

Picture of Benny Goodman: The Golden Age of Swing

So as you can imagine, I spend a lot of time digging through the used record stores looking for great Big Band and Swing music to play on the station.  I found a great Benny Goodman collection during the summer entitled "The Golden Age of Swing."  I know, I know, it's November as I'm writing this and I just admitted I bought this in the summer.  Let's just say I was busy getting the radio station set up for all of you in radio land.

As I was working on the website today I decided to put this on the turntable and give it a spin, and WOW!, what a great recording.  This 5 record set was released in 1956 and claims to be a limited edition.  The collection captures Benny's career up until that date and features songs by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, his Trio and his Quartet.

I was lucky enough to find this in fantastic condition and if I remember correctly, spent only $2 for it.  The cover and booklet show very little wear and tear, the vinyl is clear and looks and sounds like it was barely played.  I'm sure I'll be digitizing many of these tracks soon so you all can get a listen.

Picture of The Golden Age of Swing Booklet

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

Buddy Clark

Buddy Clark


Buddy Clark (1912 – 1949) was a popular singer of the 1930s and 1940s. In the late 1940s, after returning from service in World War II, his career blossomed and he became one of the nation's top crooners. His life and career were cut short due to a tragic plane crash.

He made his Big Band singing debut in 1932, with Gus Arnheim's orchestra, but was not successful. He gained wider notice in 1934, with Benny Goodman on the Let's Dance radio program. In 1936 he began performing on the show Your Hit Parade, and remained until 1938. In the mid-1930s he signed with Vocalion Records, having a top-20 hit with "Spring Is Here". He continued recording until he entered the military, but did not have another hit until the late 1940s.

In 1946, after returning from World War II, he signed with Columbia Records and scored his biggest hit with the song "Linda."

Interesting little fact:
Now here is something I didn't know until making this post. "Linda" was written especially for the six-year-old daughter of a show business lawyer named Lee Eastman, whose client, songwriter Jack Lawrence, wrote the song at Lee’s request. When she reached adulthood, Linda became Linda McCartney. She was famous as a photographer, a musician (as a member of Wings), and a spokeswoman for animal rights.

Getting back to Buddy Clark, 1947 also saw hits for Clark with such titles as "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?, "Peg O' My Heart", "An Apple Blossom Wedding", and "I'll Dance at Your Wedding". The following year he had another major hit with "Love Somebody."

On Saturday, October 1, 1949, hours after Buddy had completed a broadcast on CBS Radio with The Andrews Sisters, Clark joined five friends in renting a small plane to attend a college football game in Stanford, California. On the way back to Los Angeles after the game, the plane ran out of fuel, lost altitude, and crashed on Beverly Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Clark didn't survive the crash.  A month after his death, his recording of "A Dreamer's Holiday" hit the charts.

You can hear many of Buddy Clark's songs right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Andy Kirk

Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy

Andy Kirk (1898 – 1992) was a jazz saxophonist and bandleader who led the Twelve Clouds of Joy, a band popular during the swing era.

Kirk grew up in Denver, Colorado, where he was tutored by Wilberforce Whiteman, Paul Whiteman's father.  We play many of Paul Whiteman's tunes on Swing City Radio as well.  Kirk started his musical career playing with George Morrison's band, but then went on to join Terrence Holder's Dark Clouds of Joy. In 1929 he was elected leader after Holder left for personal reasons.

Renaming the band Clouds of Joy, Kirk also relocated the band from Dallas to Kansas City. Although named the Clouds of Joy, the band has also been known as the Twelve Clouds of Joy due to the number of musicians in the band.

After Kirk moved the band to Kansas City they grew popular as they epitomized the Kansas City jazz sound. In mid-1936, he was signed to Decca and made scores of popular records until 1946.

Listen to Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Lucky Millinder

Lucky Millinder

Lucky Millinder (1910–1966) was a very unique bandleader. He could not read or write music, did not play an instrument and rarely sang. (Pretty strange, huh.) It was his showmanship and musical taste that made his bands successful. His group was said to have been the greatest big band to play rhythm and blues, and history shows that his band gave work to a number of musicians who later became influential at the dawn of the rock and roll era.

In the 1920's he worked in clubs, ballrooms, and theaters in Chicago as a master of ceremonies and dancer. Lucky first fronted a band in 1931 for an RKO theater tour, and in 1932 took over the leadership of Doc Crawford's orchestra which was based in Harlem.

The mid 30's proved to be successful for Millinder, in which many opportunities came his way.  In 1933, he took a band to Europe and played residencies in Monte Carlo and Paris. After gain a lot of experience in Europe, he returned to New York City to take over the leadership of the Mills Blue Rhythm Band, which included Henry "Red" Allen and Charlie Shavers among other big names at that time. The band had a regular slot at The Cotton Club.

In 1940, with Bill Doggett a part of the mix Millinder established a residency at New York's Savoy Ballroom and won a contract with Decca Records. Dizzy Gillespie was the band's trumpeter for a while and was featured on Millinder's first charting hit, "When the Lights Go On Again (All Over the World)."  The follow-up recordings of "Apollo Jump" and "Sweet Slumber" were also big hits, with vocals by Trevor Bacon.

By the mid-1940's the band was drifted towards what came to be known as rhythm and blues and ended up having many hits on the R/B Charts.

You can hear the swing music of Lucky Millinder right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Happy Halloween


Swing City Radio wants to wish our listening audience a Happy Halloween.  Have fun and stay safe!

I can't believe that tomorrow is going to be November already!  This year is just flying by.

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



Leo Reisman

Leo Reisman

Leo Reisman (1897–1961) led a band in the 1920's and 1930's.  He was also a violinist. He became famous for having over 80 hits on the popular charts during his career.  Reisman started recording in 1921.  Geez, that's almost 100 years ago.

Leo Reisman recorded for Columbia exclusively through most of the 20's and then bounced back and forth between Victor and Brunswick.  In the 30's Reisman became known for recording many lesser-known Broadway songs, some of which were recorded by no other band. Due to his popularity, he was always one of the prominent bands and he recorded prolifically.

Reisman also had the habit of featuring composers and Broadway performers as band vocalists, including names like Harold Arlen and Fred Astaire.  A notable recording from this era was "Happy Days Are Here Again."

Overall, his most popular hits were his #1 recordings of "Night and Day," "The Continental," and "Cheek to Cheek."

Reisman's Orchestra was primarily a dance orchestra; he was not a fan of jazz music, but some of his early recordings were a bit improvisational and "hot".

Eddy Duchin was a member of Leo Reisman's orchestra; it was Reisman who gave Duchin his big break.  Mitch Miller was also a member of his Orchestra for a time.

Leo Reisman died in 1961, at the age of 64.

You can hear Leo Reisman right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Rosie the Riveter


I stumbled upon this quick, but very informative, video that focuses on Rosie the Riveter.  Enjoy!



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


Squirrel Nut Zippers

Squirrel Nut Zippers

Squirrel Nut Zippers is a Swing/Jazz band formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, by James "Jimbo" Mathus, Tom Maxwell, Katharine Whalen, Chris Phillips, Don Raleigh and Ken Mosher.

The band's music is a mix of 1930s–era swing, blues, jazz and other styles. They found commercial success during the swing revival of the late 1990's with their 1996 single "Hell". During the late 1990's Squirrel Nut Zippers released many albums but none of them ever reached the popularity of "Hot" which featured their single.  After a hiatus of several years, the original band members reunited and performed in 2007, playing in the U.S. and Canada.

"Nut Zippers" is a southern term for a variety of old bootleg moonshine. The band's name comes from a newspaper story about an intoxicated man who climbed a tree and refused to come down even after police arrived. The headline was "Squirrel Nut Zipper." It is also the name of a Squirrel nut caramel candy dating back to 1890.

This is a very talented band and I should note, in this author's opinion, Katherine Whalen was a highly under-rated member of this band.  Her vocals on song's such as "Put a Lid on It" and others had the flavor and feel of some classic Billie Holiday studio performances.  But that's just my humble opinion.

You can hear Squirrel Nut Zippers right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Sammy Kaye

Sammy Kaye

Sammy Kaye (1910–1987) was a prominent name in the Big Band Era whose tag line, "Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye", became one of the most famous of the of that time.  His signature tune was "Harbor Lights".  Kaye could play the saxophone and the clarinet, but he never featured himself as a soloist on either one.

A leader of one of the so-called "Sweet" bands of the Big Band Era, he made a large number of records for many different labels. He was also a hit on the radio because of his radio-friendly "Sweet" style and sound. Kaye was known for an audience participation gimmick called "So You Want to Lead a Band?" where audience members would be called onto stage in an attempt to lead the band.  He just wasn't a good bandleader, he had a great grasp of marketing and band promotion.

His band members included a few big names including Ralph Flanagan and Don Cornell. All the members of the band sometimes sang backing vocals in various combination as the "Kaydets". His musicians were always competent, but because of his radio-friendly style critics felt the band was unoriginal.

Though the critics were hard on Sammy Kaye, this didn't keep him off the charts, and it didn't hinder him from being one of the bigger names of the Big Band Era.

You can hear many of Sammy Kaye's songs right here, on Swing City Radio.

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

Jerry Gray

Jerry Gray

Jerry Gray (1915–1976) is widely known for his arrangement work during the Big Band and Swing era. He also led a successful band later in his career. Jerry's name will forever be linked to two of the most famous bandleaders of all time, Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller. Gray wrote many of Miller's arrangements during the late 1930's and early 1940's.

In 1936 Gray joined Artie Shaw's Orchestra as lead violinist. There, he studied musical arrangement under Shaw and became a staff arranger for the band a year later. During his time with Artie Shaw he wrote and arranged some of the band's most popular arrangements, including "Carioca", "Any Old Time", and the Shaw classic "Begin the Beguine."

In November 1939, Shaw suddenly broke up his band and moved to Mexico. (Gotta love Artie Shaw!) Story has it that Glenn Miller called Gray the very next day, and offered him a job arranging for his band. This was a difficult decision for Gray because under Artie Shaw he enjoyed a lot of musical latitude where Glenn Miller was often more strict with his arrangers and featured a more commercial sound and framework.  But, thankfully, Jerry Gray joined up with Miller found that he was allowed more of the freedom then expected. He appreciated that, and the musical relationship that resulted between Gray and Miller was historic.

With Gray in the mix as an arranger and composer the Glenn Miller Orchestra produced many of the most recognizable and memorable recordings of the Big Band and Swing Era. He arrangements included "Elmer's Tune", "Moonlight Cocktail", "Perfidia", and "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" and many others, while his compositions included "Sun Valley Jump", "The Man in the Moon", "Caribbean Clipper", "Pennsylvania 6-5000" and his most famous song, "A String of Pearls". And folks, that's the short list. So many of Gray's pieces became best-sellers that he has been described as more responsible for the band's success than Miller himself, although publicly, Gray always described the relationship as mutually beneficial.

At this time in history World War II was at full focus in America and the rest of the world.
Gray was again jobless when Miller broke up his band in 1942 to enter the Army Air Forces. Captain Miller used his connections and clout to have Gray posted in his unit; and in early 1943, Gray rejoined his old boss. There, he became became chief arranger for the "Band of the Training Command", better known today as the Glenn Miller Army Air Forces Orchestra.

It fell to Gray to conduct the orchestra's first concert in Paris after Miller's airplane disappeared over the English Channel. When the men returned to the U.S. in 1945, Gray assumed full leadership of the AAF Orchestra until its final performance in November of that year.

Gray was passed over for the job of leading the postwar Glenn Miller Orchestra, reportedly because the Miller Estate felt he did not have the pop-star qualities they wanted in a new leader. Instead, they  hired Tex Beneke whose talents as vocalist and lead tenor sax player in Miller's civilian band provided a much more colorful front for the band. In 1945, Grey was an arranger for the Tex Beneke - Glenn Miller Orchestra.

In 1949 Jerry Gray expressed frustration with musicians which he felt were cashing in on the Miller name even though their connections with the band were thin or non-existent. (This didn't include Beneke. They continued to have a good relationship.) He later accepted a request from Decca Records to lead his own Miller-esque orchestra. The result was what he called "Jerry Gray and the Band of Today", an orchestra featuring his old Miller hits along with new songs. For a number of years the Gray and Beneke bands co-existed, each staffed by many former Miller musicians plus other well-known performers.

Listening to the Gray and Beneke orchestras provides an interesting contrast. Gray was arguably closer in spirit to the Miller legacy but never quite achieved the same level of popularity because he was less of a showman than Beneke.  (The Miller Estate was right after all.) But, overall, with all the artists that joined in post-war rush to capitalize on the Miller name, it was Jerry Grey that was responsible for upholding the flavor and integrity of the Miller style.  In my humble opinion, history and Big Band fans alike should be thankful to Jerry Gray for that.

In 1953 he and Henry Mancini worked on The Glenn Miller Story, a movie about Glenn Miller's life. In addition to leading his dance band he wrote and arranged for singers such as Vic Damone and other projects.  The 1960's saw Gray finally settle down in Dallas, where he conducted the house band at the Fairmont Hotel.

You can hear many of Jerry Gray's songs here on Swing City Radio, with, of course, the vast amount of Glenn Miller songs he was responsible for arranging.

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

The Speakeasy Three

The Speakeasy Three

Based in Brighton, England, The Speakeasy Three does a great version of Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher." They released their single early this year and I included a promo video below.

I tried to find out more about the trio but only found their Facebook Page.  Here's the highlights from the About Section of their fan page:

Three Bad-Ass Babes Singing Their Little Hearts Out!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Prepare to swing, sway, sizzle and swoon! The Speakeasy Three are rolling out their show-stopping, room-swinging, after dark agenda for your delight.

Influences:
Influences on the sound, style and personality of the group include The Andrews Sisters, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Josephine Baker, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf...

Like I said, not much info, but they do a good version of the song and have a good sound to them.  Check them out.



You can hear "The Speakeasy Three" on Swing City Radio's - Modern Swing rotation.

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

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The Speakeasy Three The Speakeasy Three The Speakeasy Three

Claude Thornhill

Claude Thornhill

Claude Thornhill (1908–1965) was the leader of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra and a talented pianist, arranger and composer. He penned the standards "Snowfall" and "I Wish I Had You".

Claude was recognized as an extraordinary talent from early on and by his mid-teens, along with Danny Polo, he was already in the scene touring. The early part of his career is linked with Artie Shaw.  Thornhill and Shaw started their professional careers together at the Golden Pheasant in Cleveland, Ohio, with the Austin Wylie Orchestra. They later went to New York together in 1931.  By the mid 1930's he was playing with big names like Glenn Miller, Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, Ray Noble, and Billie Holiday.

In 1939 he founded the Claude Thornhill Orchestra. Danny Polo, a musician he played with in his younger years, was his lead clarinet player. Although the Thornhill band was a sophisticated dance band, it became known for its superior jazz musicians.  Thornhill encouraged the musicians to develop cool-sounding tones. This approach and sound later influenced Miles Davis's Birth of the Cool which was modeled in part on Thornhill's sound and unconventional instrumentation.

The band's most successful records were "Snowfall", "A Sunday Kind of Love", and "Love for Love".

Thornhill was playing at the Paramount Theater in New York for $10,000 a week in 1942 (that was a boatload of money in 1942!) when he decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy. As chief musician with the Navy, he performed shows across the Pacific.

In 1946, he was discharged from the Navy and reunited his ensemble. Danny Polo and Gerry Mulligan returned with new members, Red Rodney and Lee Konitz, which provided a new energy that took them through the next 10 years or so. In the mid 1950's, Thornhill was briefly Tony Bennett's musical director.

Thornhill died of a heart attack in New Jersey, at the age of 56.

You can hear Claude Thornhill's music on Swing City Radio.

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

Swing City Radio's: Live at 5


Every weekday at around 5 pm we will be playing an old live radio remote featuring an icon from the Big Band era. These remotes were aired by the top stations of the day and the content is amazing. Most Big Band and Swing fans should find these both interesting and entertaining.

Please keep in mind, some of the recordings featured on the show are almost 100 years old. Time has been spent trying to clean up some the audio, but the quality at times, on some of these recordings can be a little sketchy.  There may be some audio garbles, a brief volume drop or two and some pops, but they shouldn't take away from the enjoyment of the recording.  That being said, the content of these shows are classic, so if you need to adjust your volume a bit, I hope you'll find that it's worth it.

You'll hear a different remote each day featuring artists such as: Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw and Louis Armstrong just name a few.

I hope you tune into Swing City Radio's "Live at 5!" I think you'll really enjoy it.

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



Xavier Cugat

Xavier Cugat

Xavier Cugat (1900–1990) was raised in Cuba and was a leading figure in the spread of Latin music.  In New York City he was the leader of the resident orchestra at the Waldorf–Astoria before and after World War II.

In the 1920s, he led a band that played often at the Cocoanut Grove, a club in Los Angeles. When Charlie Chaplin, Xavier's friend, visited the club to dance the tango, Cugat decided to add tangos to the band's performances. The tangos really took off and seeing how popular the dance was becoming, Cugat convinced the owner to hire dancers to give tango lessons. In 1928 he turned his music show into the film "Xavier Cugat and His Gigolos."

In 1931, Cugat took his band to New York to become the resident band for the Waldorf–Astoria hotel. For sixteen years, he led the Waldorf–Astoria Orchestra, shuttling between New York and Los Angeles for most of the next 30 years. The reason for the constant travel to California was that he worked for the Los Angeles Times as a cartoonist. His caricatures were syndicated to newspapers throughout the country.

One of his performance trademarks was to hold a chihuahua while he waved his baton with the other arm, but Cugat's career wasn't all about gimmicks, in 1943 he scored a hit with his song "Brazil" and Xavier played a leading role in the spread of Latin music within the big band community.  Many big names came through Cugat's band including Dinah Shore, Desi Arnaz, Yma Sumac and Abbe Lane.

Not music related by noteworthy, Xavier Cugat also had some high profile relationships including marriages to Abbe Lane and Charo.

Listen to Xavier Cugat on Swing City Radio.

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

The 3 o'clock Modern Block

Modern Swing Block

Every weekday at 3 pm, Swing City Radio will feature a block of Modern Swing Songs.

So what do I mean when I say Modern Swing?  Well, we'll be playing Artists, Bands and Songs that are classified as Swing Revival, Retro Swing, Neo-Swing and Electro Swing.  I'm not big on trying to put everything in a category so I'm just sticking with Modern Swing.  When you get down to it, we are going play some great songs, from some talented artists that were release much more recently than the 1940's.

Some of the artists you'll hear are Squirrel Nut Zippers, Atomic Fireballs, Parov Stelar, Alien Fashion Show, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Brian Setzer Orchestra and many more.

We will also be sprinkling modern tracks throughout the day as part of our normal programming.  Hope you enjoy.

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

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