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Tommy Dorsey

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Title: Tommy Dorsey  
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Subject: Frank Sinatra, 1939 in music, List of songs about New York City, The Dorsey Brothers, 1943 in music
Collection: 1905 Births, 1956 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Musicians, Accidental Deaths in Connecticut, American Bandleaders, American Jazz Bandleaders, American Jazz Trombonists, Bell Records Artists, Big Band Bandleaders, Burials at Kensico Cemetery, Deaths from Choking, Decca Records Artists, Drug-Related Deaths in Connecticut, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Contract Players, Musicians from Greenwich, Connecticut, Musicians from Pennsylvania, National Radio Hall of Fame Inductees, Rca Victor Artists, Swing Bandleaders, Swing Trombonists, Swing Trumpeters
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Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey
Tommy Dorsey, in The Fabulous Dorseys
Background information
Birth name Thomas Francis Dorsey, Jr.
Also known as The sentimental gentleman of swing.
Born (1905-11-19)November 19, 1905
Mahanoy Plane, Pennsylvania, United States
Died November 26, 1956(1956-11-26) (aged 51)
Greenwich, Connecticut
Genres Big band, swing, jazz
Occupation(s) Bandleader
Instruments Trombone, trumpet, cornet
Years active 1920s-1956
Labels RCA Victor, Brunswick, Decca, OKeh, Columbia
Associated acts The California Ramblers, Jimmy Dorsey, Jean Goldkette, Paul Whiteman, Frank Sinatra, The Pied Pipers, Buddy DeFranco, Buddy Rich, Jo Stafford, Connie Haines, Glenn Miller, Boswell Sisters, Dick Haymes, Gene Krupa, Sy Oliver, Nelson Riddle
Notable instruments
Trombone and trumpet

Thomas Francis "Tommy" Dorsey, Jr. (November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956[1]) was an American [3] He was the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey.[4] After Dorsey broke with his brother in the mid-1930s, he led an extremely popular and highly successful band from the late 1930s into the 1950s. He is best remembered for standards such as "Song of India", "Marie", "On Treasure Island", "The Music Goes 'Round and Around", and "You".


  • Early life 1
  • His own band 2
  • Married life 3
  • Death and aftermath 4
  • Number one hits 5
  • Songs written by Tommy Dorsey 6
  • Honors and posthumous recognition 7
  • Discography 8
  • V-Disc Recordings 9
  • Filmography 10
  • Grammy Hall of Fame 11
  • Noted sidemen 12
  • Notes 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15

Early life

Thomas Francis Dorsey, Jr., was born in Mahanoy Plane, Pennsylvania, the second of four children born to Thomas Francis Dorsey, Sr., a bandleader himself,[5] and Theresa (née Langton) Dorsey.[6] He and Jimmy, his older brother by slightly less than two years, would become famous as the "Dorsey Brothers". The two younger siblings were Mary and Edward (who died young).[7] Tommy Dorsey initially studied the trumpet with his father, only to later switch to the trombone.[3]

At age 15, Jimmy recommended Tommy as the replacement for Russ Morgan in the 1920s territory band "The Scranton Sirens." Tommy and Jimmy worked in several bands, including those of Tal Henry, Rudy Vallee, Vincent Lopez, Nathaniel Shilkret. In 1923, Dorsey followed his brother Jimmy to Detroit to play in Jean Goldkette's band and later returned to New York in 1925 to play with the California Ramblers.[8] In 1927 he joined Paul Whiteman. In 1929, the Dorsey Brothers had their first hit with "Coquette" for OKeh records.[9]

In 1934, the Dorsey Brothers band signed with [3]

His own band

Tommy Dorsey's first band was formed out of the remains of the Joe Haymes band, and so began Dorsey's long-running practice of raiding other bands for talent. If he admired a vocalist, musician or arranger, he would think nothing of taking over their contracts and careers. Dorsey had a reputation for being a perfectionist.[14] He was volatile and also known to hire and fire (and sometimes rehire) musicians based on his mood.[15][16] The new band was popular from almost the moment it signed with RCA Victor with "On Treasure Island", the first of four hits for the new band in 1935. After his 1935 recording however, Dorsey's manager cut the "hot jazz" that Dorsey had mixed with his own lyrical style and instead had Dorsey play pop and vocal tunes. Dorsey would keep his Clambake Seven as a Dixieland group that played during performances, too.[8] The Dorsey band had a national radio presence in 1936, first from Dallas and then from Los Angeles. Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra took over comedian Jack Pearl's radio show in 1937.[17]

An excerpt of Jo Stafford's first solo recording with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, released in 1941.

Problems playing this file? See .

By 1939, Dorsey was aware of criticism that his band lacked a jazz feeling. He hired arranger Sy Oliver away from the Jimmie Lunceford band.[18][19] Sy Oliver's arrangements include "On The Sunny Side of the Street" and "T.D.'s Boogie Woogie"; Oliver also composed two of the new band's signature instrumentals, "Well, Git It" and "Opus One".[20] In 1940, Dorsey hired singer Frank Sinatra from bandleader Harry James.[21] Frank Sinatra made eighty recordings from 1940 to 1942 with the Dorsey band.[22] Two of those eighty songs are "In the Blue of Evening"[21] and "This Love of Mine".[23] Frank Sinatra achieved his first great success as a vocalist in the Dorsey band and claimed he learned breath control from watching Dorsey play trombone.[24][25] In turn, Dorsey said his trombone style was heavily influenced by that of Jack Teagarden.[26] Among Dorsey's staff of arrangers was Axel Stordahl[27] who arranged for Frank Sinatra in his Columbia and Capitol records years. Another member of the Dorsey band was trombonist Nelson Riddle, who later had a partnership as one of Sinatra's arrangers and conductors in the 1950s and afterwards.[28] Another noted Dorsey arranger, who, in the 1950s, married and was professionally associated with Dorsey veteran Jo Stafford, was Paul Weston.[29] Bill Finegan, an arranger who left Glenn Miller's civilian band, arranged for the Tommy Dorsey band from 1942 to 1950.[30]

The band featured a number of future famous instrumentalists, singers and arrangers in the 1930s and '40s, including trumpeters Metronome magazine notes at the time, "They're used in the foreground and background (note some of the lovely obbligatos) for vocal effects and for Tommy's trombone."[50]

As Dorsey became successful, he made business decisions in the music industry. He loaned Glenn Miller money to launch Miller's successful band of 1938,[51] but Dorsey saw the loan as an investment, entitling him to a percentage of Miller's income. When Miller balked at this, the angry Dorsey got even by sponsoring a new band led by Bob Chester, and hiring arrangers who deliberately copied Miller's style and sound. Dorsey branched out in the mid-1940s and owned two music publishing companies, Sun and Embassy.[52] After opening at the Los Angeles ballroom, the Hollywood Palladium, on the Palladium's first night, Dorsey's relations with the ballroom soured and he opened a competing ballroom, the Casino Gardens circa 1944.[52] Dorsey also owned for a short time a trade magazine called The Bandstand.[52]

Tommy Dorsey disbanded his own orchestra at the end of 1946. Dorsey might have broken up his own band permanently following

  • Website showing details of tour organized by RCA Victor for the Tommy Dorsey and Shep Fields orchestras in 1941.
  • Website shows details of the CBS Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey television show in 1956.
  • Tommy Dorsey at the National Radio Hall of Fame
  • Tommy Dorsey at the Internet Movie Database
  • Tommy Dorsey at AllMusic
  • Google Songs
  • Tommy Dorsey visits Bernards High School in 1943
  • The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
  • Tommy Dorsey at Find a Grave

External links

  • Peter J. Levinson, Tommy Dorsey: Livin' in a Great Big Way: a Biography (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2005) ISBN 978-0-306-81111-1
  • Robert L. Stockdale, Tommy Dorsey: On The Side (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1995) ISBN 978-0-8108-2951-0


  1. ^ Tommy Dorsey at Find a Grave
  2. ^ "Dorsey, Thomas, Francis, Jr. ("Tommy," "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing")". Pennsylvania Center For The Book/Lisa A. Moore. Date published unknown. 
  3. ^ a b c "Jazz: A Film By Ken Burns: Selected Artist Biography - Tommy Dorsey". PBS. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  4. ^ "'"Dorsey, James Francis 'Jimmy. Pennsylvania Center For The Book/Nicole DeCicco. Date published unknown. 
  5. ^ Billboard, July 25, 1942 died July 13, 1942
  6. ^ Dorsey, Thomas Francis Jr. ('Tommy,' 'The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing'). The family moved to Shenandoah shortly after his birth.
  7. ^ Levinson, Peter (2005). Livin' In A Great Big Way. New York: DaCapo. p. 354.  
  8. ^ a b "Dorsey, Tommy (Thomas Francis Jr.) – | Jazz Music – Jazz Artists – Jazz News". Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  9. ^ "Tommy Dorsey". VH1/William Ruhlmann/All Music Guide. date published unknown. 
  10. ^ "Tommy Dorsey". Billboard. 
  11. ^ "Tuxedo Junction Tommy Dorsey". George Spink. 2009. 
  12. ^ "Dorsey Brothers Orchestra". Scott Alexander. date published unknown. 
  13. ^ "Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians, Dorsey, Tommy". 
  14. ^  
  15. ^ Peter Levinson quotes Tommy Dorsey as saying "Nobody leaves this band. I only fire people." Drummer Louis Bellson sees a more a benign Dorsey, as the same website quotes him, "[H]e wanted you to play your best every night." see
  16. ^ On George Spink's website, saxophonist Bud Freeman says that he quit twice and was fired three times during his employment with Dorsey. Also the same website says that singers Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers quit the Dorsey band in 1942 because of an argument with Dorsey. see
  17. ^ All radio references from "Dorsey, Thomas, Francis, Jr."
  18. ^ "Jazz Wax"
  19. ^ "When I moved from the Lunceford band to Tommy Dorsey, I didn't change my writing approach. He made the transition. The band that Dorsey had when I joined him was Dixieland-orientated [sic], and my sort of attack was foreign to most of the fellows he had. We both knew that to be the case, but he wanted a Swing band—so he changed personnel until he got the guys that could do it." Sy Oliver. see
  20. ^ "The Sy Oliver Story, Part 1". Les Tomkins. 1974. 
  21. ^ a b   Tape 1, side A.
  22. ^ "The Kennedy Center Biography of Frank Sinatra". The Kennedy Center. 
  23. ^ "Sinatra The Complete Guide". Brett Wheadon. 1986. 
  24. ^ "Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians"
  25. ^ Later Sy Oliver and Frank Sinatra would do a posthumous tribute album to Tommy Dorsey on Sinatra's Reprise records."I Remember Tommy" appeared in 1961. See
  26. ^ "Teagarden's technique had an enormous influence on trombonists after him. Tommy Dorsey, who was to become one of the most popular trombonists of the swing era, so respected Teagarden's playing that he refused to play a solo while Teagarden was in the same room." see "Online Trombone Journal" by David Wilken,
  27. ^ Simon Says p.297 also see "Jerry Jazz Musician: Interview With Peter Levinson"
  28. ^ "Yes, the musical discipline of Tommy Dorsey, that was such an ingredient of everything he did, was something that Nelson grabbed on to. As an arranger, Dorsey knew what he wanted and Nelson had to deliver a high standard of arranging. As Bill Finegan pointed out to me, playing all of those Sy Oliver charts gave Riddle the sense of how to write very dynamic arrangements, which he did about ten years later for Sinatra." see "Jerry Jazz Musician: Interview with Peter Levinson"
  29. ^ "Jo Stafford Biography". The University of Arizona College of Fine Art School of Music. 
  30. ^ "Tommy Dorsey: Lonesome Road". c. 2009. 
  31. ^ Thurber, Jon (April 17, 2009). "Ruben 'Zeke' Zarchy: Big Band Trumpeter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Box Sets: Gift Guide by Harvey Pekar Tommy Dorsey The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing". Austin Chronicle Corp. December 9, 2005. 
  33. ^ "Jazzed In Cleveland Part 117 Tommy Dorsey's Dance Caravan". Joe Mosbrook. 2007. 
  34. ^ "Elman played a month with violinist Joe Venuti's band, then joined Tommy Dorsey's orchestra in August [1940], at a salary of $500 a week (other players might have been getting, say, $100). But he also had some extra responsibility, and became Tommy's right-hand man, acting as 'straw-boss,' conducting rehearsals, filling in as director when Dorsey was momentarily off the bandstand during the course of a night, or, just for fun, when Tommy would play trumpet and Elman would play trombone." see: "Ziggy Elman: Fralich In Swing" by Chris Popa [3]
  35. ^ "Space Age Pop Doc Severinson". Spaceagepop. 2008. 
  36. ^ "Legends of Big Band History". 2004–2007. 
  37. ^ "Obituaries: Jess Stacy". London: Independent News and Media, Limited. January 4, 1995. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  38. ^ "Buddy's Bio". CYber Sytes Inc. Unknown Date. 
  39. ^ a b c Harvey Pekar
  40. ^ "Peanuts Hucko". London: Independent News and Media Limited. June 21, 2003. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  41. ^ "Buddy Rich". Drummerworld. Unknown date. 
  42. ^ "Louie Bellson 1924-2009". Jazzwax. 2009. 
  43. ^ "Solid! Jack Leonard". Parabrisas. 1996–2005. 
  44. ^ "Legends of Big Band Music History Tommy Dorsey". 2004–2007. 
  45. ^ "Songwriters Friends Jo Stafford". Songwriters Hall of Fame. 
  46. ^ "Solid! Dick Haymes". Parabrisas. 1996–2005. 
  47. ^ "Connie Haines: Performer who sang with Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey Band". Independent News and Media, ltd. October 5, 2008. 
  48. ^ Levinson 174-175
  49. ^ "Biography [Gene Krupa]". Shawn C. Martin. 1997–2001. 
  50. ^ Simon, George (1971). Simons Says: The Sights and Sounds of the Big Band Era. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House. p. 491.  
  51. ^ Simon, George (1980). Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. New York: DaCapo. p. 496.  
  52. ^ a b c Dorsey, Thomas Francis Jr.
  53. ^ VH1/William Rulmann/All Music Guide
  54. ^ "The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)". IMDB. date published unknown. 
  55. ^ a b c d e f g "Tommy Dorsey" Billboard
  56. ^ Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey reunited on March 15, 1945, to record a V-Disc at Liederkranz Hall in New York City. Released in June 1945, V-Disc 451 featured "More Than You Know" backed with "Brotherly Jump". The songs featured the combined orchestras of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.
  57. ^ see "Tommy Dorsey" IMDB
  58. ^ "CBS Studio 50 The Ed Sullivan Theater". James V. Roy for Scotty Moore. date published unknown. 
  59. ^ Levinson 171-172
  60. ^ Levinson 148
  61. ^ Levinson 211
  62. ^ b. 20 October 1923 in Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia; d. 24 August 2003 in Bay Harbor Island, Miami-Dade County, Florida see Jane Carl New Dorsey at Find a grave
  63. ^ Levinson 299
  64. ^ "Tommy died with no will and reportedly left only about $15,000[...]. Since [Dorsey's widow] Janie New continued to need money to support her family and because she legally owned the rights to Tommy's library of arrangements, she was naturally very interested when [Willard] Alexander approached her about creating a Tommy Dorsey band." Levinson 308-309
  65. ^ Levinson 309
  66. ^ Levinson 309-310
  67. ^ Jane Dorsey date of death and interment facts from Levinson 320
  68. ^ Levinson 308.
  69. ^ "RCA Victor [...] scored with 'There Are Such Things', which had a Sinatra vocal; it hit number one in January 1943, as did 'In the Blue of the Evening', another Dorsey record featuring Sinatra, in August, while a third Dorsey/Sinatra release, 'It's Always You,' hit the Top Five later in the year, and a fourth, 'I'll Be Seeing You', reached the Top Ten in 1944. see "Frank Sinatra Biography" at
  70. ^ The website "Tommy Dorsey A Songwriter's Friend" says: "the orchestra had over 200 top twenty recordings including the No. 1 hits ‘The Music Goes Round and Round’ (1935), ‘Alone’ (1936) ‘You’ (1936), ‘Marie’ (1937), ‘Satan Takes a Holiday’ (1937), ‘The Big Apple’ (1937), ‘Once in a While’ (1937), ‘The Dipsy Doodle’ (1937), ‘Music, Maestro, Please’ (1938), ‘Our Love’ (1939), ‘Indian Summer’ (1939), ‘All the Things You Are’ (1939), ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’ (1940), ‘Dolores’ (1941), ‘There are Such Things’ (1942), ‘In the Blue of the Evening’ (1943)." see
  71. ^ Tommy Dorsey at Red Hot Jazz
  72. ^ Tommy Dorsey recorded two takes of this song for OKeh records, August 6, 1932 in New York City. See which also lists Tommy Dorsey as composer.
  73. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries: Musical Compositions. U.S. Library of Congress.
  74. ^ Chris and His Gang. OCLC. World Cat.
  75. ^ A Selection of Big Band Stock Arrangements. U.S. Library of Congress.
  76. ^ a b "Tommy Dorsey" IMDB
  77. ^ "To You" appears as part of a medley by Glenn Miller, paired with "Stairway to the Stars" both sung by Ray Eberle for the Glenn Miller orchestra's performance at Carnegie Hall on October 6, 1939. See "Solid!-The Glenn Miller Carnegie Hall Concert" at
  78. ^ Glenn Miller recorded "To You" for Bluebird records on May 9, 1939 released as Bluebird 10276-B, with the "A" side, "Stairway To The Stars" both sung by Ray Eberle. see Moonlight Serenade: A Bio-discography, John Flower, Arlington House, New Rochelle, 1972, p.63 ISBN 978-0-87000-161-1
  79. ^ recorded by Sarah Vaughan for Columbia Records on July 7, 1949
  80. ^ Brown, Denis (1991). Sarah Vaughan A Discography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 166.  
  81. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries. U.S. Library of Congress.
  82. ^ According to the database, "This Is No Dream" reached no. 9 on the Billboard singles chart in 1939, while "To You" reached no. 10 on the same chart, both staying on the chart for 7 weeks. "In The Middle Of A Dream" reached no. 7 on the Billboard chart in 1939, staying on the charts for 10 weeks.
  83. ^ 1939 Catalog of Copyright Entries.
  84. ^ a b ASCAP database.
  85. ^ Levinson 214 Levinson refers to the 1947 recording of Dorsey's composition as the band's "one important recording of that year." "Trombonology" was recorded July 1, 1947 and was released on an RCA Victor 78 rpm record, catalogue number Vic 20-2419. Information taken from the liner notes to the 1993 compact disc The Post-War Era, Bluebird/RCA 66156, written by Loren Schoenberg.
  86. ^ "I'll Never Smile Again" was recorded February 17, 1941 with vocals by Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers. see the liner notes to the compact disc The Best of Tommy Dorsey by Mort Goode, 1991. Bluebird/RCA 51087-2. According to Peter Levinson in Livin In A Great Big Way, "I'll Never Smile Again" was recorded May 23, 1940. "I'll Never Smile Again" had the catalogue number for its initial 78rpm release as Victor 26628. Tommy Dorsey and/or RCA Victor also released the song as a V-Disc, V-Disc 582. See the website "Songs By Sinatra" at for discographical information about that V-Disc.
  87. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame Award". The Recording Academy. 2009. 
  88. ^ see for these album listings
  89. ^ see which lists Tommy Dorsey's albums
  90. ^ see which lists Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra's albums for reference
  91. ^ In the "Filmography" portion of the website "Thomas (Tommy) Dorsey 1905-1956"[4], two movies are listed for 1929 that suggest that Tommy Dorsey appears in them. They are Segar Ellis and His Embassy Club Orchestra and Alice Boulden and Her Orchestra. Dorsey biographer Peter Levinson confirms that Tommy Dorsey appears in Alice Bolden and Her Orchestra and considers it to be mediocre. See Levinson 34
  92. ^ see individual films and their references for the studio that produced which movie
  93. ^ "Presenting Lily Mars". Scott Brogan. 1999. 
  94. ^ "Tommy Dorsey IMDB" uncredited role according to source.
  95. ^ Credits "The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)" . Turner Classic Movies. date published unknown. 
  96. ^ "The Dorsey Brothers Encore (1953)". IMDB. date published unknown. 
  97. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame Database.


  • Noni Bernardi (1911–2006), big-band musician and member of the Los Angeles, California, City Council, 1961–93

Noted sidemen

Tommy Dorsey: Grammy Hall of Fame Awards[97]
Year Recorded Title Genre Label Year Inducted Notes
1940 "I'll Never Smile Again" Jazz (single) Victor 1982
1936 "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" Jazz (single) Victor 1998
1937 "Marie" Jazz (single) Victor 1998

Tommy Dorsey was posthumously inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance."

Grammy Hall of Fame

The Dorsey Brothers appear in the 1953 sixteen-minute Universal-International film called The Dorsey Brothers Encore.[96]

Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra appear in the following films for the studios Paramount, MGM, Samuel Goldwyn, Allied Artists and United Artists:[92]

  • Segar Ellis and His Embassy Club Orchestra (1929)needs citation
  • Alice Bolden and Her Orchestra (1929)[91]


  • Blue Skies, No. 1B, October, 1943, with Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers
  • Well Get It, No. 86A, December, 1943
  • April in Paris, No. 134, 1944
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, No. 150B, March, 1944
  • Hawaiian War Chant and March of the Toys, No. 195B, May, 1944
  • Paramount on Parade, No. 206, 1944
  • Minor Goes A'Muggin' and Losers Weepers, No. 220A, 1944
  • Not So Quiet Please, No. 220B, 1944, with Gene Krupa
  • Wagon Wheels, No. 222A, 1944
  • T.D. Chant, No. 222B, with Gene Krupa and Buddy DeFranco
  • Tess's Torch Song and Milkman Keep Those Bottles Quiet, No. 227A, 1944, with Georgia Gibbs
  • Irresistible You and I Never Knew, No. 227B, with Bob Allen and The Sentimentalists
  • Small Fry, No. 269A, 1944, with Bing Crosby
  • Milenberg Joys, No. 273B, 1944
  • Sweet and Lovely and The Lamp is Low, No. 320A (Army), November, 1944
  • Melody in A and Chicago, No. 322A, 1944
  • Over the Rainbow and I May Be Wrong But I Think You're Wonderful, No. 335A, December, 1944, with Judy Garland
  • For All We Know and The Lady in Red, No. 347A (Army), January, 1945
  • Nobody's Baby and Three Little Words, No. 362A, 1945
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Sweetheart of Sigma Chi, No. 391A, March, 1945
  • More Than You Know, No. 451A (Army); No. 231A (Navy), June, 1945, with Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra
  • Brotherly Jump, No. 451B, June, 1945, with Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra
  • I'll Never Smile Again, No. 582A (Army), February, 1946, with Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipe
  • Boogie Woogie, No. 877A, January, 1949
  • Marie, No. 890A, Tommy Dorsey and Band, March, 1949

V-Disc Recordings


In 1982, the 1940 Victor recording "I'll Never Smile Again" was the first of a trio of Tommy Dorsey recordings to be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[86] His theme song, "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" was inducted in 1998, along with his recording of "Marie" written by Irving Berlin in 1928.[87] In 1996, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey commemorative postage stamp.

Honors and posthumous recognition

  • Written in 1929: "You Can't Cheat A Cheater" with Phil Napoleon and Frank Signorelli[71]
  • 1932: "Three Moods"[72]
  • 1937: "The Morning After"
  • 1938: "Chris and His Gang" with Fletcher and Horace Henderson;[73][74][75] Tommy Dorsey wrote the song "Peckin' With Penguins" for a 1938 Frank Tashlin-directed Porky Pig cartoon, "Porky's Spring Planting" for the studio Warner Bros.[76]
  • 1939: "To You",[77][78] "This Is No Dream", "You Taught Me to Love Again",[79][80] "In The Middle Of A Dream", "Night In Sudan"[81][82] "Dark Laughter" with Juan Tizol[83]
  • 1945: "Fluid Jive" and "Fried Chicken"[84]
  • 1946: "Nip and Tuck"
  • 1947: "Trombonology"[85]
  • Co-wrote "Bunch of Beats", "Mid Riff", and "Candied Yams" with Fred Norman.[84]

Songs written by Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey had a run of 286 Billboard chart hits.[68] The Dorsey band had seventeen number one hits with his orchestra in the 1930s and 1940s including: "On Treasure Island", "The Music Goes 'Round and Around", "You", "Marie" (written by Irving Berlin), "Satan Takes a Holiday", "The Big Apple", "Once in a While", "The Dipsy Doodle", "Our Love", "All the Things You Are", "Indian Summer" and "Dolores". He had two more number one hits in 1935 when he was a member of the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra: "Lullaby of Broadway" (written by Harry Warren), number one for two weeks, and "Chasing Shadows", number one for three weeks. His biggest hit was "I'll Never Smile Again", featuring Frank Sinatra on vocals, which was number one for twelve weeks on the Billboard pop singles chart in 1940. "In the Blue of Evening"[69] was number 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart in 1943.[70]

Number one hits

The grave of Tommy and Jane Dorsey in Kensico Cemetery

On November 26, 1956, Tommy Dorsey died at age 51 in his Greenwich, Connecticut, home. He had begun taking sleeping pills regularly at this time, from which he was so sedated that one night he died in his sleep from choking after eating a heavy meal.[63] At the time, his wife was questioned about her affair on Dorsey. Jimmy Dorsey led his brother's band until his own death from lung cancer the following year. At that point, trombonist Warren Covington became leader of the band with Jane Dorsey's blessing[64] as she owned the rights to her late husband's band and name. Billed as the "Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Starring Warren Covington", they topped the charts in 1958 with "Tea For Two Cha-Cha".[65] After Covington led the band for a short period, Sam Donahue led it starting in 1961, continuing until the late 1960s.[66] Buddy Morrow conducted the Tommy Dorsey orchestra until his death on September 27, 2010. Jane Dorsey died of natural causes at the age of 79, in Miami, Florida in 2003. Tommy and Jane Dorsey are interred together in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.[67]

Death and aftermath

Dorsey's married life was varied and, at times, lurid.[59] His first wife was 16-year-old Mildred Kraft, with whom he eloped in 1922, when he was 17. They had two children, Patricia and Tom (nicknamed "Skipper"). They divorced in 1943 after Dorsey's affair with his former singer Edythe Wright.[60] He then wed movie actress Copacabana nightclub in New York City. Tommy and Jane Dorsey had two children, Catherine Susan and Steve.

Married life

Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra, RCA Victor Studios, 1941.

Jimmy Dorsey broke up his own big band in 1953. Tommy invited him to join up as a feature attraction[56] and, a short while later, Tommy renamed the band the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra featuring Jimmy Dorsey. In 1953, the Dorseys focused their attention on television.[57] On December 26, 1953, the brothers appeared with their orchestra on Jackie Gleason's CBS television show, which was preserved on kinescope and later released on home video by Gleason. The brothers took the unit on tour and onto their own television show, Stage Show, from 1955 to 1956. On numerous episodes, they introduced future noted rock musician Elvis Presley to national television audiences, prior to Presley's better known appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.[58]

[55] record label.Decca In the early 1950s, Tommy Dorsey moved from RCA Victor back to the [54] describes sketchy details of how the brothers got their start from-the-bottom-up into the jazz era of one-nighters, the early days of radio in its infancy stages, and the onward march when both brothers ended up with Paul Whiteman before 1935 when The Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra split into two.The Fabulous Dorseys The Dorsey brothers were also reconciling. The biographical film of 1947, [53]

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