GI Jill and GI Jive

Gi Jill

GI Jill was the DJ host of a music program on the Armed Forces Radio Service during World War II named "GI Jive".  Her personality and the Big Band music she played provided American troops with a link to home and was a huge morale boost.  GI Jive was the No. 1 overseas attraction on the AFRS and by the end of January 1945 she had made 870 shows and GI Jive was broadcasting daily over 400 Army radio stations.

GI Jill was born Martha Wilkerson, but she never gave her real name over the air.  Her listeners had no idea that she was married and had a young family.  Like an actress playing a role, Wilkerson considered Jill a whole separate person. She later told a reporter: "The men overseas created Jill. They made her what they wanted her to be — the girl back home."

One Navy Veteran later reflected, "GI Jill did so much to bolster our morale. She came across like a wholesome girl-next-door who began each radio show with 'Hi-ya, fellas! This is GI Jill with the GI Jive.' ... We all loved her."


Watch a short film reel of GI Jill on the air.

Jill's relationship with the troops went well beyond the 15 minutes of each broadcast. As servicemen wrote letters asking her to play certain records, she tried to reply to each letter she received, answering as many as 500 letters per week and including a photograph of herself with her letter. The interaction went both ways as some listeners sent Jill pictures of themselves, leading her to comment, "I think I was the only person in the world who had pinup boys." Some troops even sent her hand-made trinkets like a bracelet fashioned from a crashed airplane's broken window and a crudely inscribed heart-shaped pendant saying, "To Jill from Lou, 1944".

Reflecting on her experiences in broadcasting, Wilkerson called her work as GI Jill, "the most important thing I've ever done in my life."  Martha Wilkerson sadly passed away in 1999 at the age of 80.  GI Jill will always be remembered as a radio hero for the Allies.

You can learn more about GI Jill on The Big Band and Swing Podcast.

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.



Harlan Leonard

Picture of Harlan Leonard

Harlan Leonard was a clarinetist and bandleader whose career spanned from the early 1920's and lasted into the mid 1940's.  His bands didn't achieve huge national success, but still featured some great tunes. The music he released later in his career are great examples of the transition between swing and bebop. 

Leonard was born in Kansas City in 1905. He joined Bennie Moten's orchestra in 1923, where he led the reed section. In 1931, he left Moten's band and formed the Kansas City Skyrockets, which had some limited success in the Kansas City area.  

Leonard eventually retooled his sound a bit and in 1939 he formed Harlan Leonard and His Rockets.  The band featured a young Myra Taylor and soon became a top Kansas City regional band and toured nationally.

Listen to Harlen Leonard and His Rockets perform "Rock and Ride"

The band broke up during the Second World War, and sadly, Leonard had permanently left the music scene by 1945.

Interesting side note:  Rumor has it that Charlie Parker played in Leonard's band for five weeks, but he was fired by Harlan for lack of discipline.

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.

Free Music Download

Charlie Barnet

Charlie Barnet - Radio Recordings: 1947 - 
This recording features the songs: "Skyliner",  "Strolling",  "You're My Thrill" and "Murder at Peyton Hall" from a Live Radio Performance that took place in 1947.  The audio has been cleaned up and is a classic performance by Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra.

- Only Available for a Limited Time -
Free Music Download
- Click Button to Download Your Free Recording -


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.

Podcast: Episode 30

The Big Band and Swing Podcast

The Big Band and Swing Podcast -  Episode 30: Hampton, Fitzgerald and that 'Ol Trusty Fridge

Hey there People of Swing! In this episode we listen to some Stan Kenton, Martha Tilton, Lionel Hampton and Ella Fitzgerald.  Ronnaldo also discusses that old fridge you may have in the garage or basement.

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast

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.

Send Us Your Song Requests

Send Your Requests

We want to hear from YOU!  Send us your Song Requests and Comments! Don't be shy...

Swing City Radio has now made it very easy to Request to hear your favorite Big Band songs on our station.  Simply click on the "Send a Song Request" button located on the far right side of our website to send your Request though SpeakPipe. Just follow the directions, it's very easy.  We even made a video (located below) to show you how to do it step by step. Feel free to send us your thoughts and comments this way too.


Watch video to learn how to Send a Request to Swing City Radio

One last thing, you'll see that we always ask for your email.  Why? Because I make every attempt to email you back to let you know when I will be playing the song that you've requested.  In the past, listeners really have appreciated this because they can make sure they are tuned in to the station when it plays. 

... and honestly, I love to email Swing City Radio fans and thanking you for listening.

You can still send us requests and comments the more traditional ways as well.  Check out our Song Requests page for more information.  We will continue to offer our Listener Hotline and Email Request form for listeners that prefer those methods. You are also always welcome to send in your request through the very old fashion way of carrier pigeon, but we can't guarantee that it will be played.  :) 

So let's hear from you!  Send me those Song Requests and Comments today.

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 was a 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".

 
Listen to Dinah Shore sing "He's My Guy"

During World War II, Dinah Shore participated in the 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 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.  :)


Watch Dinah Shore sing "See the U.S.A in Your Chevrolet" from a 1953 Commercial

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.

Podcast: Episode 29

The Big Band and Swing Podcast

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Episode 29: Peggy Lee and Cupcakes for Me!

Hello there Big Band Fans! This episode features some great songs by Jimmy Lunceford, Benny Goodman, Sam Donahue, Louis Jordan and more. Let's listen to some great Swing music together and maybe, just maybe, share some cupcakes.

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast

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.

Now Streaming Commercial Free!

Swing City Radio is Commercial Free

Yes, you read that correctly.  As of today, September 17th, Swing City Radio is now Commercial Free.  Now you can listen to "Your Big Band and Swing Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today!" without commercial interruptions.

So, why did Swing City Radio choose to take this step?

Ronnaldo explains:

"This was a very tough decision to make.  Swing City Radio was offsetting many of it's expenses by including commercial advertising provided by our radio hosting provider.  So why did I decide to discontinue an income stream?  Here are just a few of the reasons:

1.  First and foremost, I felt that removing these ads will improve the sound of the station.  I was unable to control the volume of the commercials.  These ads would pipe into the programming at a much louder volume than most of the songs on the station.  This made the commercial interruption a much bigger interruption than it needed to be.

2. I felt the commercial offerings themselves didn't reflect the interests of the Swing City Radio Audience.

3. Political ads started to appear in the ads being served.  Day in and day out, people are exposed to endless politics.  I want Swing City Radio to be YOUR escape from all of that.

Moving forward, the station will reclaim this lost revenue through Show Sponsorship, Listener Sponsorship and Donations.  Those of you that have made donations to Swing City Radio in the past, I sincerely thank you.  If you'd like to make a donation in the future, you can do so here: Make a Donation to Swing City Radio via Paypal.  Your donations and sponsorship will keep Swing City Radio Commercial Free.

Thank you so much for listening to the station and I hope this change greatly improves YOUR listening experience."

~ Ronnaldo
   Station Owner and On-Air Personality

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

Andy Kirk was a jazz saxophonist and bandleader who led the Twelve Clouds of Joy, a band that was popular during the swing era.

Kirk grew up in Denver, Colorado, where he was tutored by Wilberforce Whiteman.  (Wilberforce Whiteman was 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.

Kirk renamed the band Clouds of Joy and 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.

Listen to a recording of “Christopher Columbus” by Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy.  The song was later adopted by the Benny Goodman band for inclusion in their famous arrangement of “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

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

Buddy Clark

Picture of Buddy Clark

Buddy Clark was a popular Big Band Era singer. In the late 1940's, 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 in 1949.

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-1930's, 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 1940's.

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. Buddy Clark's popular hit song "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.

Watch a Soundie of Buddy Clark performing "Linda"

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 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.

Listen to "A Dreamer's Holiday" performed by Buddy Clark

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.

Chattanooga Gold

first gold record

Chattanooga Choo Choo was released by Glenn Miller in the Spring of 1941.  It became the first song to be certified a "Gold Record" on February 10th of 1942.  Pictured above is Glenn receiving the award from executives from the RCA label.  A song is certified Gold when sales exceed the one million mark.

The song was originally featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade.  The movie soundtrack contains many other Glenn Miller songs as well.  (I just watched that movie recently, check it out! Quite entertaining.)

The song describes the train route from New York City to Chattanooga, Tennessee including places like Baltimore and North Carolina.  The beginning of the song is famous for sounding like a train rolling out of the station, complete with the trumpets and trombones imitating a train whistle.

 
Watch: Video of  Glenn Miller performing Chattanooga Choo Choo.

The video above features an extended version of Chattanooga Choo Choo that was included in the movie "Sun Valley Serenade".

You can hear live and studio recordings of Glenn Miller performing Chattanooga Choo Choo 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.

Podcast: Episode 28

The Big Band and Swing Podcast

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Episode 28: Crosby, The Count and Canned Meats


< Use the Audio Player Directly Above to Listen to Podcast >

Greetings Swingers! In this episode we hear from Count Basie, Hal McIntyre, Raymond Scott, Woody Herman and Bing Crosby. Ronnaldo also discusses delicious canned meat.

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.

Goodman at Manhattan Beach

Goodman at Manhattan Beach

This is a picture of Benny Goodman playing on the Manhattan Beach bandstand as Martha Tilton sings.  I just love this picture!  The picture can be found in the liner notes booklet of The Swing Years.  The Swing Years is record collection that was put out by Reader's Digest.  Those old Reader's Digest Big Band Collections are great! 

If you find a Reader's Digest Collection at a second hand store and own a record player they are usually a good purchase.  Many of them include six records or more.  Just make sure to look and see if the collection contains the original recordings by the original artists.  (Some of the collections feature newer recordings of the songs and aren't as good.)  Also, look through it and make sure the booklet is still included.  The booklets are just as entertaining as the recordings and are filled with interesting information and pictures.

Listen to Tracks from Record #6 of "The Swing Years" Collection

Be sure to check out our Pinterest page to see more pictures and liner notes from this record collection.

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

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.

Watch: Glenn Crytzer Performance

Glenn Crytzer

I had the unexpected pleasure yesterday to watch a performance by Glenn Crytzer and the Celesta Quartet live streamed on Youtube.  I included the video below.  Great performance, you'll LOVE IT!  It took place in an alley behind his place and the sound quality is very good.

If you are not familiar with Glenn Crytzer, he is based out of the New York City area and his bands are top notch.  They sound like they just stepped out of a time machine from the 1940's.  You can hear his music on our show The Modern Block which airs on Swing City Radio at 3pm and 3am EST every weekday.  I can't say enough good things about this band so be sure to check them out.  ...and if you have some money burning in your pocket, consider throwing some change into their virtual tip jar.  In these times of Covid-19, it's quite tough for musicians to make a living.  Enjoy!

To leave a tip for Glenn and the Celesta Quartet: paypal.me/glenncrytzer



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.

Podcast: Episode 27

The Big Band and Swing Podcast

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Episode 27: So Many Greats and Little Liver Pills


< Use the Audio Player Directly Above to Listen to Podcast >

Hello Swing Fans! This episode features some great music by Chick Webb, Les Brown, Frank Sinatra, The Andrews Sisters and more. By the way, count how many times I say "great" in the first segment. Yikes!

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.

Solomon Douglas

Solomon Douglas Swingtet

Solomon Douglas is the bandleader of the Solomon Douglas Swingtet and a beloved dance teacher who is known and respected throughout the worldwide swing dancing community. His bands have played at dance events throughout the United States. In 2006, he toured the United States and Japan as a member of the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Douglas' bands (including The Solomon Douglas Swingtet and the Solomon Douglas Trio) have played at countless events in North America, Asia, and Australia since 2000. His experience as a swing dancer and dance instructor gives him an understanding unique among musicians of the music that swing dancers and blues dancers like to dance to!

Listen to "Tuxedo Junction" performed by The Solomon Douglas Swingtet

His influences as a pianist include Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Gene Harris, Count Basie, and Thelonious Monk. His small groups (such as the Solomon Douglas Trio) play a mixture of musical styles including blues, old-school swing, and groovy mainstream swinging jazz with tinges of bop and soul-jazz.

You can hear many songs by The Solomon Douglas Swingtet right here on Swing City Radio.  They are played frequently on The Modern Block.

Be sure to check out these recordings by The Solomon Douglas Swingtet including: Swingmatism, Ain't No School Like the Old School, Live at the Legion and Soul Serenade.  They are great!

You can learn more about Solomon Douglas at: SolomonDouglas.com

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.

September Birthdays

Picture of Big Band Birthday Cake

Here is a list of September Birthdays of notable Big Band and Swing artists that we play right here on Swing City Radio.  For some reason the list doesn't seem as long as it has been for other months.  I also included the date the artist passed away for age purposes. If you feel that I missed someone, then send me an email through the website.  View more Big Band related Birthday and Events on our Swing City Radio Station Calendar.

September 4
Gus Arnheim (September 4, 1897 – January 19, 1955)
Jan Savitt (September 4, 1907 – October 4, 1948)

September 10
Cliff Leeman (September 10, 1913 – April 26, 1986)
Raymond Scott (September 10, 1908 – February 8, 1994)

September 12
Ella Mae Morse (September 12, 1924 – October 16, 1999)
Shep Fields (September 12, 1910 – February 23, 1981)

September 13
Dick Haymes (September 13, 1918 – March 28, 1980)
Mel Torm̩ (September 13, 1925 РJune 5, 1999)

September 16
Andy Russell (September 16, 1919 – April 16, 1992)

September 26
Ted Weems September 26, 1901 - May 6, 1963)

September 30
Buddy Rich (September 30, 1917 – April 2, 1987)

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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