Today January 9th would have been my Mum’s 87th birthday so in honour of her passionate love of music, today’s Album Of The Day is a Glenn Miller collection. There’s been so many, repackaged and reissued records since Miller’s plane was lost over the English channel in 1944, (never to be found) and you can buy his records in any charity store for no money. He was so popular and so famous that it’s almost like his music has been devalued – that plus the fact that he died 70 years ago. But listen to the music, listen to the songs, the tunes, the arrangements, the players, the sound, the showmanship, the intensity. My mum loved this music, it made her dance, brought tears to her eyes, took her somewhere else. You couldn’t really get through to her when this music was playing because she was lost in it.
I grew up hearing this music, my Dad was into Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and Nana Mouskouri and The Planets by Holst (that he would regularly play at deafening volume). My Mum was a Swing chick, she loved the brassy dancey sound of In The Mood and Pennsylvania 6500 and she would sing along to the chorus, but she also loved the romantic beautiful songs like Moonlight Serenade, (Miller’s signature tune) and the songs about broken hearts like Perfidia. Both my Mum and Dad would sing along to Chattanooga Choo Choo and they loved Tex Beneke’s voice. Beneke played sax and sang with Miller along with vocal group The Modernaires.
Other famous songs that aren’t on this particular album are Elmer’s Tune, Little Brown Jug and the wonderful, (I’ve Got A Gal) In Kalamazoo, another Beneke classic that I remember both my Mum and Dad singing along to. There’s so much Glenn Miller on line you will have little trouble finding these timeless classics.
There’s some fascinating theories about Miller’s death. One is that the plane was hit by Lancaster bombers jettisoning their bombs over the English channel after an aborted raid. The second is that he was mistakenly shot down by an English gun battery as claimed in a self published book by the author. And last but not least a German journalist whilst doing some research on papers released through the Freedom Of Information Act, discovered that Miller actually arrived in Paris and died of a heart attack whilst with a French prostitute and the story was hushed up. My Mum would be horrified to think that this last story might be true. It’s okay Mum there’s no real proof!
Listen to Glenn Miller, the trombonist, band leader, genius arranger and my Mum’s favourite. Happy Birthday Mum, we miss you, I hope they have the internet in heaven.