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.

4 comments:

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
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvFqN7uVP3g

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.