Welcome to the very first posting of our new Geezer Music Club, or it’s short name – the GMC. It will be updated from time to time, and will hopefully become something that you’ll like to visit.
Every geezer knows who Glenn Miller was and it seems appropriate to start our music club with some of his ageless music. After a misfire with his first try at organizing a band, Glenn became one of the biggest stars of the Swing era. Although jazz purists criticized him for trying to be too “popular”, choosing crowd-pleasing favorites and exhibiting a playing style that included having his brass section stand and wave derby hats at times, there is no doubt that the music was always first class.
I’m not quite old enough to remember Glenn Miller in his prime (in fact, I was very young when he died) but I seem to always remember his music playing at our house when I was growing up, and probably one of the strongest memories I have is the movie of his life, starring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson. Sure, it was Hollywood corny, but I loved it!
I’m going to surprise you and not showcase his theme song, Moonlight Serenade, nor In The Mood, which is a great song but we’ve all heard so-o-o many times. I chose instead to spotlight a couple of tunes that you might not recognize so readily. And to make it a little more esoteric, these versions are performed by Glenn directing his Army Air Force Band.
The album is Major Glenn Miller & The Army Air Force Band – 1943-44, on the Bluebird label. Glenn joined the Army in October of 1942, and for two years – until his tragic crash into the English Channel in December of 1944 – he organized and led a group officially known as the Army Air Forces Orchestra. In fact, there were actually 3 different groups…one played mostly marches (although with a jazz beat), one was a band similar to Miller’s own, and the third was larger and included strings. All were filled with talented musicians from Miller’s own civilian band and those of other big-name bandleaders, but because of the turnover of musicians it’s impossible to know for sure which soloists are featured on each song. However, there’s no doubt that they were the best around and brought joy to countless listeners.
These recordings were mostly made in studios while they were touring the US for war bond concerts and probably preceded the band’s concerts in the European Theater, where they played to throngs of enthusiastic GI’s. First up is Jeep Jockey Jump, recorded in February of 1944, followed by a song with a title that tickles me, Everybody Loves My Baby (But My Baby Loves Nobody But Me), which was laid down sometime in the Autumn of 1943.