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.

Recommended: (Affiliate Links)

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.

Charlie Barnet

Charlie Barnet

Charlie Barnet (1913–1991) was a popular bandleader and saxophonist who started recording in the 1930's but really didn't hit his stride until the 1940's.  Some of his well known recordings were "Skyliner", "Cherokee", "The Wrong Idea", "Scotch and Soda", "In a Mizz", and "Southland Shuffle".

Barnet came from an affluent family which wanted him to pursue a career as a lawyer but Charlie was drawn to music.

As I stated above, Charlie Barnet's music career went into full gear in the early 40's.  He released his hit "Cherokee" and at this time also released his "Redskin Rhumba" (which is one of my personal favorites by him.)

He was one of the first bandleaders to integrate his band. He was an outspoken admirer of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Ellington recorded the Charlie Barnet composition "In a Mizz".

Barnet's band was a notorious party band where drinking and vandalism were a common occurrence. The structure of his band was quite different from some of the other popular bands of the time. Other band leaders, Glenn Miller for example, enforced strict standards of dress and behavior, Barnet was more interested in having fun, according to his autobiography The Swinging Years.

In 1949 he retired, apparently because he had lost interest in music. He was able to retire when he chose because he was one of the few heirs in a very wealthy family. A non- musical but interesting fact was that Charlie got married eleven times.

Charlie was defiantly cut from a different cloth but I encourage you to listen to his music and catch his music 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.

Soundies on our Youtube

Soundies

Just wanted to let you all know that we are putting together a very nice collection of Soundies on our Youtube Channel.  Decades before MTV, these were the "music videos" of the day.  They were short films featuring our favorite Big Band and Swing artists.  I've included this snippet from Wikipedia about Soundies because they covered it quite well:

"Soundies were short musical films, produced between 1940 and 1947, each containing a song, dance, and/or band or orchestral number. Produced professionally on 35mm black-and-white film, like theatrical motion pictures, they were printed in the more portable and economical 16mm gauge.

The films were shown in a coin-operated "movie jukebox" called the Panoram, manufactured by the Mills Novelty Company of Chicago. Each Panoram housed a 16mm RCA film projector, with eight Soundies films threaded in an endless-loop arrangement. A system of mirrors flashed the image from the lower half of the cabinet onto a front-facing screen in the top half. Each film cost 10 cents to play, and there was no choice of song; the patron saw whatever film was next in the queue. Panorams could be found in public amusement centers, nightclubs, taverns, restaurants, and factory lounges, and the films were changed weekly. The completed Soundies were generally made available within a few weeks of their filming, by the Soundies Distributing Corporation of America."

So now that you know a little more about Soundies check them out on our Youtube Channel.  I've included a sample below.  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.


Charlie Spivak

Charlie Spivak

Charlie Spivak (1905?–1982) had a great band in the 40's and is best known for his trumpet playing.  The reason for the question mark after his birth is that his birth date is in debate.  Some place his birth in New Haven, CT in 1905 and other place it in the Ukraine in 1907.  What is clear is that Charlie Spivak was a fantastic musician.

He started playing the instrument at 10 years old, and as a teenager played a short time Johnny Cavallaro's Band and then moved on to play with Paul Specht's Band for about six years.

It was in the early 1930's where Charlie's career started to take flight.  He spent 3 years with Ben Pollack, a year with the Dorsey Brothers and then another year with Ray Noble's Band. He played side by side with many of the future icons of the Big Band Era. By the mid 30's he was serving as a studio musician for names like Glenn Miller, Raymond Scott, Jack Teagarden and Bob Crosby.

In 1940 Charlie Spivak formed his own band with the financial backing and encouragement of his friend Glenn Miller.  After some initial failures Charlie found success through most of the 40's.

Spivak was known for the sweet tone of his trumpet and his lead parts. Charlie became known as "The Man Who Plays The Sweetest Trumpet In The World".  Not a bad nickname to have, huh.

You can hear the Charlie Spivak Orchestra right here on Swing City Radio. "My Devotion", "It's Been a Long Time" and "Stardreams" are just a few of the tracks you can hear by him.  And that's not counting the countless songs he shows up on as a session player.

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.

Kitty Kallen

Kitty Kallen

Kitty Kallen (1921–2016) was an amazing female vocalist whose career spanned from the 1930's into the early rock years of the 1960s.  Kallen performed with the popular big band leaders of the 1940's, including Jimmy Dorsey and Harry James, before establishing her successful solo career.

Kallen started quite young! She had a radio program on a Philadelphia radio station (Yes, Kitty was a Philly Girl) and sang with the bands of Jan Savitt, Artie Shaw and Jack Teagarden as a teenager.

In 1942, still only 20 years old, she sang the vocals for "Moonlight Becomes You", with Bobby Sherwood and His Orchestra.

At 21, she joined the Jimmy Dorsey band and recorded a string of hits including "They're Either Too Young or Too Old" and "Besame Mucho". At the end of 1943, she joined Harry James's band.

Her work with Harry James led to another string of hits including "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and "It's Been a Long, Long Time."

After a long successful career Kallen died in 2016 at the age of 94.

You can hear Kitty Kallen's music, especially her work with Jimmy Dorsey and Harry James, 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.

Alvino Rey

Alvino Rey

Alvino Rey was born Alvin McBurney (1908 –2004), he was an underrated band leader and fantastic steel guitarist.

From 1932–1938 he served as a member of Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights. Alvino drew a lot of attention to himself and the band when he started playing pedal steel guitar. Later on down the road, the Gibson corporation asked him to develop a pickup for the guitar since Alvino also had a background in electronics.

In 1937, he married Louise King of the King Sisters and two years later formed his own band along with the other King Sisters. In my opinion, this was the period that produced Alvino's most noteable music.

In 1941, Alvino Rey released "I Said No!" featuring Yvonne King on lead vocals.  Excellent song!  Yvonne's voice just melts your soul.  In 1942, the band released "Idaho" and their version of "Deep in the Heart of Texas," which was a big hit.

In the 1990s, Alvino, still with his wife Louise King (they were married until her death in 1997 - that's 60 years of marriage), moved to Utah.  Rey passed away in 2004 at the ripe old age of 94.

You can hear Alvino Rey right here on Swing City Radio.  I've included a video of "I Said No!" below, so you can hear it now.  If you like it, be sure to check out his music available through our Amazon links.


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 Is Now OUR Thing!

Swing City Radio Logo

We are proud to announce that on October 15, 2019 we have officially changed our radio station to a total Big Band and Swing format.  Our primary focus will be playing your favorites from the 1930's and 40's but we will also be mixing in Swing Roots from the 1920's, some Dixieland, some Ragtime, a little Bebop as well as playing Swing music from today.

I'd like to personally thank our listeners of Theme City Radio and I hope you stick around to give our new format a try.  My heart has always pointed towards a radio station with a Big Band/Swing format and I'm finally listening to it. :)

We are VERY excited to "Bring the Swing" here on Swing City Radio!  Please, bear with us over the next week or so as we change all of our branding, expand our Big Band and Swing playlists, create articles and content for our website and Youtube Channel and develop original programming.

Swing City Radio continues to broadcast Big Band and Swing Music from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Listening To Swing City Radio on iTunes

iTunes Logo

Since the station launch, I've had some listeners ask me how they can listen to Swing City Radio on iTunes.  Well, iTunes Radio has closed off their directory to new stations, but there is still a way to listen to Swing City Radio on iTunes.  The video below shows how you can add the station.  It's a very easy process and the video walks you through every step.

Our station stream is: http://streaming.live365.com/a03438


Swing City Radio - Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites!

Listening to Swing City Radio on iTunes: The video below shows how you can add the station. It's a very easy process and the video walks you through every step. Swing City Radio - Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites!

Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller Album Cover

I LOVE Glenn Miller.  There are many big bands that I truly enjoy listening to but for some reason, Miller has always been my favorite.  If I could, I would make a station that just played Glenn's music 24/7 and I'm sure it would have a following. :)

For those of you that are new to big band music, here is a brief, factual synopsis of Glenn Miller's career provided by Wikipedia:

Glenn Miller (1904–1944) was a trombonist, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was the best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1942, leading one of the best-known big bands. 

Miller's recordings include "In the Mood", "Moonlight Serenade", "Pennsylvania 6-5000", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "A String of Pearls", "At Last", "(I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo", "American Patrol", "Tuxedo Junction", "Elmer's Tune", "Little Brown Jug" and many, many more. In just four years Glenn Miller scored 16 number-one records and 69 top ten hits.  That's more than Elvis Presley (38 top 10s) and the Beatles (33 top 10s) did in their careers.

While he was traveling to entertain U.S. troops in France during World War II, Miller's aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel.  Glenn Miller died at the young age of 40!

All these years after Glenn's death, the band still continues to tour.  Nick Hilscher, now leads the band and he has done a fantastic job keeping the "Miller Sound" alive and well. Believe it or not, they play over 300 dates a year! I personally had a chance to see them perform in the summer of 2019 and was totally blown away.

Glenn Miller can be heard on our shows Swing City: After Dark and The Saturday Night Swing.  We play all of his hits, live recordings and dig deep into his vast catalog as well.

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.

Fletcher Henderson

Fletcher Henderson

Fletcher Henderson (1897–1952) was an pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer. He was arguably one of the most important artists in the development of big band and swing music. Henderson's influence was huge. He helped bridge the gap between the Dixieland era and the Swing era. 

In 1924, a 23 year old Louis Armstrong joined the band. Quickly after that the band became known as the best African-American band in New York. Although Armstrong played in the band for only a year, his influence on the band and the big band genre can not be ignored.

Armstrong wasn't the only big name to play in Henderson's band. The Fletcher Henderson Orchestra was filled with incredible talent, including, of course, Fletcher himself. Names that most big band fans know and love such as Coleman Hawkins, Henry "Red" Allen, Benny Carter, Doc Cheatham, Roy Eldridge and many more.

In addition to arrangements for his band, Henderson wrote arrangements for Teddy Hill, Isham Jones and most importantly, Benny Goodman

In 1935, Goodman's Orchestra was selected as a house band for the NBC radio program Let's Dance. Since Goodman needed new songs every week for the show, he began to purchase some from Henderson. Many of Goodman's hits were played by Henderson and his own band in the 1920's and early 1930's.

In 1939, Henderson disbanded his band and joined up with Benny Goodman's band. He served as pianist and arranger and staff arranger. 

He re-formed bands of his own a few times in the 1940's but Henderson suffered a stroke in 1950.  Fletcher survived the stoke but the resulting partial paralysis ended his days as a pianist. In 1952, Henderson sadly passed away at the age of 55. 

You can hear plenty of Fletcher Henderson's songs on our shows Swing City: After Dark and The Saturday Night Swing including the songs: Sugar Foot Stomp, My Pretty Girl, Money Blues and many others.

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.

Ralph Flanagan

Ralph Flanagan

Ralph Flanagan, born as Ralph Elias Flenniken (1914–1995), was a leader of his own successful band but early in his career served as a pianist, composer and arranger for the bands of Hal McIntyre, Sammy Kaye, Blue Barron, Charlie Barnet, and Alvino Rey.

A few years after returning from World War II 1949 formed his own orchestra which is credited with re-popularizing the Glenn Miller "sound," and which made many records, among them "Singing Winds", "Rag Mop" and "Hot Toddy." The Ralph Flanagan band was managed by Herb Hendler at RCA. Hendler is credited for encouraging Flanagan to adopt the Miller sound that led to his success. 

You can hear Ralph Flanagan on Swing City: After Dark and The Saturday Night Swing.  Hot Toddy, Swing to 45 and Don't Cry Joe are some of his favorites that we spin here.  

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.

Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert

Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert

In late 1937, Benny Goodman's publicist suggested that Goodman and his band play Carnegie Hall in New York City. The sold-out concert was held on the evening of January 16, 1938. It is regarded as one of the most significant concerts in jazz history.  Jazz had finally been accepted by mainstream audiences. 

Recordings of the concert were made. In 1950, Goodman's sister-in-law found the recordings in Benny's apartment and brought them to Benny's attention. Goodman took the newly discovered recording to Columbia, and a selection was issued on LP as "The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert." It's been re-released many times over the years.

You can hear many selections from this album 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.

Tex Beneke

Tex Beneke

Tex Beneke (1914 Р2000) was a saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. His career is associated a lot with Glenn Miller and other musicians and singers who worked with Miller. His personal band is also associated with the careers of Eydie Gorm̩ and Henry Mancini. It's Tex we hear soloing on Glenn Miller Orchestra's song "In The Mood" and it's his vocals we hear on Miller's recording of "Chattanooga Choo Choo".

Beneke started playing saxophone when he was nine, going from soprano to alto to tenor saxophones and then staying with the latter. His first professional work was with bandleader Ben Young in 1935, but it was when he joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra three years later that his career took off. Glenn Miller immediately made Beneke his primary tenor sax soloist and Beneke played all but a few of the tenor solos on all of the records and personal appearances made by the Glenn Miller Orchestra until it disbanded in 1942.

Tex led two bands in the navy and kept in touch with Glenn Miller while they were both serving in the military.  Beneke made it clear that he wanted to come back to Miller after the war and learn more about leading a band before being leading his own band. That never happened due to Miller's death overseas.

By 1945, Beneke felt ready to lead his own orchestra and you can hear his music on Swing City: After Dark and The Saturday Night Swing.  Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop, Give Me Five Minutes More and A Girl in Calico are just a few Tex Beneke songs you can hear on our station.

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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