Larry Clinton

Picture of Larry Clinton

Larry Clinton was best known as a trumpeter.  He also became a prominent and influential bandleader.

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.

He formed his first band in 1937.  Larry recorded a string of hits for Victor Records. The Larry Clinton Orchestra featured a mix of pop tunes of the day, instrumentals written by Clinton, and swing versions of classical music compositions. The classical music compositions 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.

Listen to "My Reverie" performed by Larry Clinton and His Orchestra

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 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.

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