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Artist Band Biography: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Glenn Miller - Music Artist Band Bio

Biography

Born 1 March 1905, Clarinda, Iowa, USA, d. 15 December 1944. Miller was the first artist to be credited with a million-selling disc (for "Chattanooga Choo Choo"), and was the toast of North American popular music during World War II for his uniformed orchestra's fusion of sober virtuosity, infectious dance rhythms and varied intonation of brass and woodwind. In Miller's hands, close harmony vocals - often wordless - were almost incidental in a slick repertoire that embraced Tin Pan Alley standards ("April In Paris", Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness Of You"), jump blues ("St. Louis Blues", Jelly Roll Morton's "King Porter Stomp"), western swing ("Blueberry Hill", once sung by Gene Autry) and orthodox swing ("Jersey Bounce", "Tuxedo Junction"), also exemplified by the "hotter" big bands of Artie Shaw and Jimmy Dorsey.

After his family moved to North Platts, Nebraska, Miller's trombone skills earned him places in bands operational within his Fort Morgan high school, and afterwards at the University of Colorado. On becoming a professional musician, he found work on the west coast and in New York as both a player and arranger - notably for Victor Young, whose Los Angeles studio orchestra accompanied Judy Garland and Bing Crosby. Other prestigious feathers in Miller's cap were his supervision of Britain's Ray Noble And The New Mayfair Orchestra's first USA tour and a scoring commission for Columbia Records. His earnings were ploughed back into the organization and rehearsal of his own band which, despite setbacks such as his wife's long illness in 1938, built up a huge following in New York, through dogged rounds of one-night-stands and record-breaking residencies in venues such as Pompton Turnpike roadhouse and the celebrated Glen Island Casino.

Signed to RCA Records in 1939, Miller proved a sound investment with immediate consecutive bestsellers in evocative classics such as "Little Brown Jug" (written in 1869), "In The Mood" and "Sunrise Serenade". The latter was coupled with "Moonlight Serenade' - a strikingly effective extrapolation of a trombone exercise that became Miller's signature tune. As synonymous with him, too, was 1940"s "Chattanooga Choo Choo" with a vocal chorus (by Tex Beneke, Marion Hutton and the Modernaires) atypically to the fore. This novelty was also among highlights of Sun Valley Serenade (1941), the orchestra's first movie (co-starring Norwegian ice-skating champion, Sonja Henie). Other Miller classics included the irresistible "Pennsylvania 6-5000" and the haunting "Tuxedo Junction". At Miller's commercial peak the next year, Orchestra Wives (1942, with Ann Rutherford and Cesar Romero), enveloped a similarly vacuous plot with musical interludes that included another smash in "(I've Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo". The enduring lyric brilliantly used the alphabet; "a b c d e f g h I got a gal in Kalamazoo". That same year also brought both Miller's lively hit arrangement of "American Patrol" and his enlistment into the US Army. Even though he was too old for combat he still volunteered out of patriotism, was elevated to the rank of captain and sent out to entertain the Allied forces. He was promoted to major in August 1944.

Following a visit to Britain, his aircraft disappeared over the English Channel on 15 December 1944. His death was an assumption that some devotees found too grievous to bear, and rumours of his survival persisted. In any case, his orchestra lived on - even if the economics of staying on the road, combined with the rise of rock 'n' roll, finished off lesser rivals. Universal Pictures produced the immensely successful 1954 biopic, The Glenn Miller Story (with James Stewart in the title role). An Oscar-nominated soundtrack album (directed by Henry Mancini) was released, and a reissued "Moonlight Serenade" reached number 12 in the UK singles charts. Miller's habit of preserving many of his radio broadcasts on private discs enabled the issue of another album, Marvellous Miller Moods. Also reaching the US chart in the late 50s was a 1939 Carnegie Hall concert recording and The New Glenn Miller Orchestra In Hi-Fi.

Miller's original arrangements were regarded as definitive by those multitudes who continued to put repackagings such as The Real Glenn Miller And His Orchestra high into the international charts as late as 1977. The sound was recreated so precisely by the Syd Lawrence Orchestra that it was employed in a 1969 television documentary of the late bandleader whose UK fan club booked Lawrence regularly for its annual tribute shows. Among the best tributes paid were those by Manhattan Transfer in a 1976 version of "Tuxedo Junction", and Jive Bunny And The Mastermixers, whose 1989 medley, "Swing The Mood" - a UK number 1 - was sandwiched between excerpts of "In The Mood", sampled from Miller's 1938 recording. The arranging style perfected by Miller's staff arrangers, notably Jerry Gray, continued to influence several middle-of-the-road writers and bandleaders during the next two or three decades. Curiously enough, for a musician whose work is now preserved eternally in its 40s style, Miller was always eager to move on. Shortly before his death he remarked to Ray McKinley that the style that had made him famous was no longer of interest to him, "I've gone as far as I can go with the saxophone sound. I've got to have something new". The enduring quality of Miller's work is most forcibly underlined by the realization that his tunes have become part of the instant musical vocabulary of listeners young and old. In 1995, just over 50 years after Miller's death, a set of recordings made by the American Band of the AEF at the Abbey Road studios in London late in 1944, was released as a two-CD set.

Compilations:
Glenn Miller Concert Vol. 1 (RCA Victor 1951)****, Glenn Miller Concert Vol. 2 (RCA Victor 1951)****, Glenn Miller (RCA Victor 1951)***, Glenn Miller Concert Vol. 3 (RCA Victor 1951)****, This Is Glenn Miller (RCA Victor 1951)***, This Is Glenn Miller Vol. 2 (RCA Victor 1951)***, Sunrise Serenade (RCA Victor 1951)***, The Glenn Miller Story (1954)****, Marvelous Miller Moods (RCA Victor 1957)***, The Glenn Miller Carnegie Hall Concert (RCA Victor 1957)***, Something Old, New, Borrowed And Blue (RCA Victor 1958)***, The Miller Sound (RCA Victor 1959)***, Marvelous Miller Medleys (RCA Victor 1959)***, The Great Dance Bands Of The 30s And 40s (RCA Victor 1959)***, Dance Anyone? (RCA Victor 1960)***, Glenn Miller Time (RCA Victor 1961)***, Echoes Of Glenn Miller (RCA Victor 1962)***, On The Air 3-LP box set (RCA Victor 1963)***, The Best Of Glenn Miller Vols. 1-3 (RCA Victor 1963)****, Blue Moonlight (RCA Victor 1966)***, In The Mood (RCA Victor 1967)***, The Chesterfield Broadcasts Vol. 1 (RCA Victor 1967)***, The Chesterfield Broadcasts Vol. 2 (RCA Victor 1968)***, The Nearness Of You (1969)***, The Real Glenn Miller And His Orchestra Play The Original Music From The Film "The Glenn Miller Story" And Other Hits (1971)***, A Legendary Performer (1975)***, A Legendary Performer Vol. 2 (1976)***, The Unforgettable Glenn Miller (1977)***, Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band (1943-44) (1981)***, Chesterfield Shows 1941-42 (1984)***, Chesterfield Shows - Chicago 1940 (1984)***, Chesterfield Shows - New York City 1940 (1984)***, Glenn Miller Airforce Orchestra, June 10, 1944 (1984)***, April 3, 1940 Chesterfield Show (1989)***, The Glenn Miller Gold Collection (1993)****, The Ultimate Glenn Miller (RCA Bluebird 1993)****, The Lost Recordings 2-CD set (RCA Victor 1995)***, The Secret Broadcasts 3-CD set (RCA Victor 1996)***, The Very Best Of Glenn Miller (Camden 1997)***, Candlelight Miller (BMG 1998)***, The Unforgettable (RCA 1998)****, Falling In Love With Glenn Miller (RCA Victor 2000)****, Forever Gold (St Clair 2000)***, Army Air Force Band (RCA 2001)****, Platinum Gold Miller (RCA Victor 2003)****, In The Mood: The Definitive Glenn Miller Collection (BMG 2003)****, with the Andrews Sisters The Chesterfield Broadcasts (Bluebird 2003)****.

Bibliography:
Next To A Letter From Home: Major Glenn Miller's Wartime Band, Geoffrey Butcher. Glenn Miller & His Orchestra, George Thomas Simon.



Source: Encyclopedia of Popular Music

Music Albums

Rarities
Suiza
n/a

Giants Of The Big Band Era
Magma
1994

The Last Recordings
Starr Digital
09/1995

Greatest Hits
RCA Victor
04/16/1996

More Greatest Hits
Victor Jazz/RCA Victor
07/16/1996

The Lost Recordings
RCA Victor
08/13/1996

Masterpieces, Vol. 4
EPM (France)
02/22/1996

Best Of Glenn Miller (Madacy)
Madacy Records
09/08/1994

Glenn Miller Rare Tracks
Skylark Jazz
08/01/1996

The Secret Broadcasts
RCA Victor
10/29/1996

American Patrol 1
Avid
08/06/2004

Keep Em Flying 2
Avid
08/06/2004

I Sustain The Wings Vol. 1
Magic (import) (UK)
11/20/2001

I Sustain The Wings Vol. 2
Magic (import) (UK)
n/a

I Sustain The Wings Vol. 3
Magic (import) (UK)
08/20/1996

Candlelight Miller
RCA Victor
05/20/1997

Best Of The Lost Recordings And The Secret...
RCA Victor
02/10/1998

Operation: Build Morale
RCA Victor
05/19/1998

V-Disc Recordings
Collectors' Choice
12/15/2004

The Legend Lives On [Box]
Ember
07/14/1998

Miller Plays Mercer
RCA Victor
11/10/1998

In The Mood
Cleopatra
11/03/1998

On The Air: 1938-1939
EPM (France)
02/22/1996

Moonlight Memories
Skylark Jazz
12/17/1996

Tuxedo Junction
Jazztory Records
n/a

Moonlight Serenade (Goldies)
Goldies (The Netherlands)
10/01/1996

On The Air
Avid
08/06/2004

Last Recordings Vol. 2
Starr Digital
08/19/1997

The Great Instrumentals
Challenge Records
06/13/1996

The Fabulous Glenn Miller
RCA Victor
06/15/1999

Golden Greats: The Encore Collection
BMG Special Products
11/18/1997

It Was Wonderful Then (And It's Wonderful...
Magic (import) (UK)
08/24/1999

Great Lost Radio Broadcasts
BMG Special Products
04/13/1999

Fresh As A Daisy
The Empress Recording Company
08/10/1999

A Swinging Christmas Concert
Laserlight
09/22/1997

The Legend Lives On Vol. 1
Ember
11/23/1999

Falling In Love With Glenn Miller
RCA Victor
01/11/2000

Broadcast Archive Vol. 1
Avid
08/06/2004

Swing Legends
Nimbus
02/15/2000

At The Meadowbrook Ballroom
Magic (import) (UK)
07/22/1997

Back To The Miller Sound
Magic (import) (UK)
09/05/1994

American Patrol Vol. 2
Magic (import) (UK)
04/17/1992

1935-1942
Best Of Jazz (France)
08/20/1996

Swinging Mood
Columbia River Entertainment Group
06/13/2000

Live From The Cafe Rouge 1940
Jazz Band (UK)
04/11/2000

Very Best Of Glenn Miller
Hallmark Recordings (UK)
10/01/1997

Glenn Miller
Laserlight
03/21/2000

We're Still In Love
Avid
08/06/2004

The Golden Hits (Disky)
Disky - (import)
04/11/2000

In The Mood: The Very Best Of Glenn Miller
Nelson Records
02/14/2000

Sun Valley Serenade/Orchestra Wives (Sdtk)
Jasmine Records (UK)
06/06/2000

Keep 'Em Flying
Our World
06/13/2000

The Legend Lives On Vol. 2
Ember
07/11/2000

Cabu Collection
Masters Of Jazz (France)
11/28/2000

Broadcast Archive Vol. 2
Avid
08/06/2004

A Portrait Of Glenn Miller
Gallerie - (Import, UK)
08/04/1998

All Time Greatest Hits: The Best Of The War Years
Stardust Records
04/03/2001

Best Of Glenn Miller (St. Clair)
St. Clair
03/13/2001

The Legends Collection
Dressed To Kill - (import)
04/24/2001

In The Mood (St. Clair)
St. Clair
07/14/1995

Chattanooga Choo Choo (St. Clair)
St. Clair
07/14/1995

Moonlight Serenade (Past Perfect)
Past Perfect (UK)
06/05/2001

A Stone's Throw From Heaven 1940/41
Magic (import) (UK)
07/31/2001

The Glenn Miller Collection [Box]
St. Clair
02/14/1996

A String Of Pearls
BCI Music (Brentwood Communication)
05/22/2001

Stairway To The Stars [Box]
Goldies (The Netherlands)
03/27/2001

Complete Sustaining Broadcasts Vol. 1: This...
Jazz Band (UK)
08/28/2001

The Best Of Army Air Force Band
Bluebird RCA
09/11/2001

The Golden Years: 1938-1942 [Box]
Proper Records (UK)
05/28/2002

Glenn Miller Vol. 1
Platinum Disc Corp.
08/07/2001

Glenn Miller Vol. 2
Platinum Disc Corp.
08/07/2001

Glenn Miller Vol. 3
Platinum Disc Corp.
08/07/2001

Glenn Miller Vol. 1 & 2
Platinum Disc Corp.
08/07/2001

Army Air Force Band [Box]
Bluebird RCA
10/09/2001

Complete Sustaining Broadcasts Vol. 2: Simple...
Jazz Band (UK)
10/09/2001

American Patrol 1945
Magic (import) (UK)
08/24/2001

Complete Sustaining Broadcasts Vol. 3: On The...
Jazz Band (UK)
12/11/2001

Bluebird's Best: America's Bandleader
Bluebird RCA
03/05/2002

The Definitive Collection
K-Tel
01/29/2002

Moonlight Serenade (ASV)
ASV
04/23/2002

At The Glen Island Casino: Summer 1939
Magic (import) (UK)
04/23/2002

When You Wish Upon A Star: Live In 1940/41/42
Magic (import) (UK)
04/23/2002

Glen Island Special
Magic (import) (UK)
05/28/2002

String Of Pearls: 36 Swinging Classics
404 Music Group
04/02/2002

Essential Glenn Miller: Best of Army &...
Metro (Import -England)
05/14/2002

Star Power: Glenn Miller
Direct Source
11/16/2001

Complete Sustaining Broadcasts Vol. 4: Heaven...
Jazz Band (UK)
07/30/2002

Moonlight Serenade (Fabulous)
Fabulous
09/24/2002

Jazz Collection: Glenn Miller
Laserlight
08/06/2002

Golden Greats (Collectables)
Collectables
11/25/2003

20 Track Collection
Direct Source
10/04/2002

Platinum Glenn Miller
RCA Victor
03/04/2003

Legendary Big Bands
Columbia River Entertainment Group
03/04/2003

Full Swing Ahead
BCI Music (Brentwood Communication)
03/02/1999

The London Recordings
BCI Music (Brentwood Communication)
03/02/1999

Jazz Masters: Glenn Miller
Laserlight
03/04/2003

Swinging Miller Thrillers
Jasmine Records (UK)
05/06/2003

From Rags To Riches
Jazz Band (UK)
2003

The Best Of Glenn Miller (Compendia)
Compendia Music Group
09/15/1992

The Centennial Collection [CD & DVD]
Bluebird RCA
04/20/2004

100th Anniversaire [Box]
EPM (France)
04/06/2004

In The Mood With... Glenn Miller
BMG Special Products
07/13/2004

Glenn Miller Story: Centenary... [Box]
Avid
08/06/2004

Glenn Miller Story: Centenary... [Box]
Avid
08/06/2004

Glenn Miller Story: Centenary Collection Vol....
Avid
08/06/2004

Glenn Miller Story: Centenary Collection...
Avid
08/06/2004

Glenn Miller Story: Centenary... [Box]
Avid
08/17/2004

Music of Your Life: Big Band Bravado
BCI Music (Brentwood Communication)
09/01/2004

Glenn Miller Masterpieces
Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion (UK)
09/16/2004

Timeless Classics
St. Clair
09/07/2004

The Music Of Glenn Miller
Essentials
10/27/2004

The Complete Early Glenn Miller Recordings
Opus KURA
12/07/2004

A Legendary Performer Vol. 2 [Cassette]
RCA Records
n/a

A Legendary Performer
Bluebird RCA
09/10/1991

Best Of Glenn Miller Vol. 2 [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

Best Of Glenn Miller Vol. 3 [Cassette]
RCA Records
10/17/1990

Best Of Glenn Miller (Bluebird) [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

Best Of The Big Bands: Evolution Of A Band
Legacy Recordings
05/19/1992

Chattanooga Choo Choo
Satellite Sounds
n/a

Chattanooga Choo Choo: The #1 Hits
Bluebird RCA
08/27/1991

Collector's Choice/Vintage... [Cassette]
Columbia
n/a

Glenn Miller (Bella Musica)
Bella Musica
06/15/1991

Glenn Miller: In The Mood [Cassette]
RCA Special Products
12/09/1992

I Got Rhythm
Sony Music Special Products
n/a

In The Mood (Pro Arte)
Pro-Arte Records
n/a

Jazz Collector Edition
Laserlight
10/22/1991

Live At The Paradise Restaurant
Magic (import) (UK)
05/23/2000

Major Glenn Miller & The Army Air Force Band,...
Bluebird RCA
1987

Moonlight Serenade & Other Hits [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
1990

Moonlight Serenade
Bluebird RCA
02/11/1992

Original Live Recordings
Pair
01/16/1989

Original Recordings Vol. III
Pair
07/09/1991

Original Recordings [Cassette]
Pair
n/a

Original Recordings Vol. II [Cassette]
Pair
n/a

Original Recordings Volume 4
Pair
04/30/1991

Pennsylvania 6-5000: The Sustaining Remotes,...
Vintage Jazz Classics
n/a

Glenn Miller Plays Selections From... [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

Pure Gold
Bluebird RCA
10/04/1988

The Story Of A Man And His Music
Delta Records
n/a

The Glenn Miller Collection [Box]
Intercon Music Corp.
n/a

The Popular Recordings (1938-1942) [Box]
Bluebird RCA
11/14/1989

The Complete Glenn Miller Vol 1 [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

Complete Glenn Miller... [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

The Complete Glenn Miller Vol 4: 1940 [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

The Complete Glenn Miller Vol 5: 1940 [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

Complete Glenn Miller... [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

The Complete Glenn Miller Vol 7: 1941 [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

The Complete Glenn Miller Vol 2: 1939 [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

Complete Glenn Miller... [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

Complete Glenn Miller... [Cassette]
Bluebird RCA
n/a

The Glenn Miller Story (Sdtk)
MCA Jazz
03/24/1992

The Carnegie Hall Concert
Bluebird RCA
02/09/1993

Tuxedo Junction 1939-40
Vintage Jazz Classics
01/12/1991

War Broadcasts
Laserlight
10/22/1991

 
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