Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Harry!

Born this day in 1916. In 1939 the trumpeter, already a top-tier bandleader, hired a smooth, upcoming but relatively unknown vocalist from New Jersey, but failed to convince the kid to change his name to "Frankie Satin." Within a year, James and singer had parted ways, the latter to join Tommy Dorsey's orchestra. Within a few years, both James and the kid crooner were on their respective ways to becoming music legends.

Columbia Records ad (detail) from Look magazine, 1943.


Anonymous said...

I've seen these little illustrations in tiny little booklets from the 30-40's Columbia era. James, Sinatra, Cugat and a few others I know of.
They were probably inserted in 78 album sets or as counter give aways to promote the artists.

Harley said...

Hey, I recognize that birdie from the "March Morning" illustration a few posts down.

Harry James was a heck of a trumpet player. People say he often played schmaltz, which he did, but he played it with incredible zest and power. James was quite a gifted technician. Anyways, in addition to his pop/big-band stuff, Harry played some mean jazz trumpet:

Limehouse Blues

He plays "Limehouse Blues" and some other amazing stuff on the soundtrack to "Young Man With A Horn, too. So, what I am saying is, I think this illustration deserves a JAZZ tag!

Irwin Chusid said...

Thanks to your one-signature petition, Harley, Mr. James has been certified a member of the Flora jazz categorical community. And thanks for the bird cross-reference. I'd missed that. Nice!

Ernie said...

And that kid later grew up to be...Frankie Goes To Hollywood. And now you know the rest of the story.