Glenn Miller Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (14)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Born in Clarinda, Iowa, USA
Died  (plane crash)
Birth NameAlton Glenn Miller

Mini Bio (1)

Alton Glenn Miller was born on March 1, 1904, in Clarinda, Iowa; the son of Lewis Elmer and Mattie Lou Cavender Miller. He started his music studies when his father gave him a mandolin. He soon traded the mandolin for an old horn. In 1916 he switched to trombone. In 1923, he enrolled in the University of Colorado, but after a year, he dropped out of school and moved to Los Angeles, where he joined Ben Pollack's band. He spent most of his time playing gigs and attending auditions.

In 1928, Miller moved to New York, where he played session gigs and made orchestrations. At that time he studied with the Russian musician and mathematician Joseph Schillinger, whose star apprentice was George Gershwin. Miller took Schillinger's instruction on orchestration of a practice exercise, which he developed into the song "Moonlight Serenade", making a small fortune with it. In 1934, Miller joined the Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra for a year, then organized an American band for Ray Noble, and made his debut at the Rainbow Room in New York's Rockefeller Center. The special sound of his band was developed in Miller's orchestration by using the "crystal chorus" and other inventive ways of arrangement.

Miller recorded his own band first time for Columbia Records on April 25, 1935. His instrumental "Solo Hop" reached the Top Ten in 1935, but he did not organize an orchestra under his own name until March of 1937. That band ultimately failed, and in 1938 he reorganized with many different musicians. In 1939, Miller and his new band got an engagement at the Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, NY, which was a major spot with a radio wire. In 1939, he scored seventeen Top Ten hits, including such songs, as "Sunrise Serenade", "Moonlight Serenade", "Stairway to the Stars", "Moon Love", "Over the Rainbow", "Blue Orchids", "The Man With the Mandolin", and other popular songs, which he composed or orchestrated. Miller scored 31 Top Ten hits in the year 1940, and another 11 Top Ten hits in 1941.

His number one hits included "Song of the Volga Boatmen", "You and I", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", from his first film, 'Sun Valley Serenade'. Miller worked with the vocalists Tex Beneke, Ray Eberle, and the Modernaires with Paula Kelly. On February 10, 1942, Miller was presented with the first ever "Gold record" for "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and scored another 11 Top Ten hits in 1942. That was the first full year of his country's participation in the Second World War.

Although he was well beyond draft age Miller still strongly wanted to use his talents to help the war effort. After being turned down for a Navy commission he applied to the Army and was accepted with the rank of Captain. On September 27, 1942 he gave his last performance as a civilian. The Army assigned him to the Army Air Forces at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He first organized a marching band, then built a large dance band with over two dozen jazz players and 21 string musicians. From January 1943 to June 1944 the Glenn Miller AAF Band made hundreds of live performances, "I Sustain the Wings" radio broadcasts, while previously-unreleased recordings by the former civilian band scored another 10 Top Ten hits in the year 1943. Miller took his band to Britain in June 1944. There he performed for the allied troops and did radio shows. His last recording of 20 new songs was made weeks before his death; it was released only in 1995.

After the liberation of France, now-Major Glenn Miller wanted to bring his music closer to the troops serving on the Continent and arranged to have the band transferred to Paris. He planned to travel ahead of time to prepare for the full orchestra's arrival but bad weather delayed his flight. On December 15, 1944 he accepted an invitation from another officer who was going to Paris on what turned out to be an unauthorized flight. He apparently was unaware that the plane's pilot was inexperienced in winter flying, and more tragically, that the small UC-64 "Norseman" transport had been suffering from fuel-system problems.

The plane never arrived in Paris, and on December 24, 1944 the AAF officially reported it and its crew as MIA (Missing in Action), under the presumption that it had gone down in the English Channel. In 1985, the British Ministry of Defence came up with explanation of Miller's disappearance, claiming that his plane was struck by a British bomb dropped in the waters by returning RAF pilots. Subsequent research has given credence to the alternate hypothesis that the plane crashed due to icing of its fuel system in the cold air over the Channel. However no wreckage, remains, or IDs have ever been found, precluding any definitive explanation. Glenn Miller was eventually officially declared dead; at his daughter's request a memorial tombstone was placed in Memorial Section H, Number 464-A on Wilson Drive in Arlington National Cemetery in April of 1992,

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (1)

Helen Burger (6 October 1928 - 15 December 1944) ( his death) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Theme songs: "Moonlight Serenade" and "Slumber Song"

Trivia (14)

Born at 11:30am-CST
Pictured on one of a set of four 29¢ US commemorative postage stamps in the Legends of American Music series, issued 11 September 1996, celebrating big band leaders. Other band leaders honored in this issue are Count Basie; Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey; and Benny Goodman.
Charter inductee of the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1978.
Two adopted children, son Stephen and daughter Jonnie Dee.
Older brother of band leader/educator Herb Miller.
He was arguably the most popular big band leader of all time. His many recordings for RCA Victor and HMV, the latter recorded while his Army Air Force (AAF) band was stationed in England, have remained in print consistantly since his untimely death and still continue to enjoy brisk sales worldwide.
His son was born in 1942 and his daughter in 1944.
His daughter was adopted while he was away at war. He died days after her adoption, never having even seen her.
Mr. Arnold Smith of Southampton, PA, reported that he saw Maj. Glenn Miller's dead body in Paris. He claimed that Miller was shot by a stranger, who was arrested by GIs. Miller's body was taken by a GI ambulance to the military hospital. Mr. Smith released his account on the Big Band Broadcast on March 17, 2001, and also published the story in Philadelphia's Bucks County Courier Times on March 4, 2001.
The German paper 'Bild' in a 1997 story by journalist Udo Ulfkoutte, put forward a theory that Glenn Miller died in a Paris brothel and that a plane crash was a mere cover-up.
His name is mentioned in the famous theme song to All in the Family (1971).
Very first music artist to win a golden record, when his band's recording of "Chattanooga Choo-choo" sold 1.2 million copies.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6915 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Mentioned in the song "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin.

Personal Quotes (2)

A band ought to have a sound all of its own.
"We didn't come here to set any fashions in music. We merely came to bring a much-needed touch of home to some lads who have been here a couple of years."
  • written to friend and later biographer George T. Simon when the AAF band was stationed in England, in response to critics who didn't feel his music was sufficiently jazz-oriented.

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