George T. Simon

Picture of George T. Simon

Today's post isn't about a Big Band artist or band.  It's about a writer/reporter named George T. Simon, who covered the scene and left behind volumes and volumes of information that helps fans, like myself, understand and appreciate the era.

The Big Band Era was filled with colorful personalities, constant drama and most of all, incredible music.  George Simon (1912–2001), covered all of it as the editor-in-chief of Metronome (the most influential magazine to cover the Swing scene) from 1939 to 1955.  The books he later wrote about the times are, in my opinion, the best books that cover the era.  His writing can also be found in the liner notes of so many old Big Band albums and collections. 

Simon was probably the most influential jazz commentator during the swing era. Thanks to his inside connections with the jazz world, he was able to report information about bands and their personnel with great accuracy.  Simon would honestly critique the bands of the time, sometimes upsetting bands and record labels, but he also had strong friendships and relationships throughout the Swing Scene.

He was also an early drummer in the Glenn Miller Orchestra. George later became known for being the most comprehensive writer and resource on Glenn Miller's career, his personal life and his bands.

George Simon's brother was Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of the American publishing house Simon & Schuster.  One of his nieces, Carly Simon, later became a singer-songwriter that topped the charts throughout the 1970's.

I highly recommend reading his books to get a true feel for the Big Band Years, it's music and it's drama.  Here are three of them that I have in my collection: "The Big Bands" (1968), "Simon Says: The Sights and Sounds of the Big Band Era" (1971) and "Glenn Miller and His Orchestra" (1974).  All of these books, in my humble opinion, are EXCELLENT!

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