Bandleader Glenn Miller — lost at sea 75 years ago — played and replayed the song before troops serving in World War II
At 1:45 p.m. on December 15, 1944, an overcast Friday afternoon at the Royal Air Force airport near Bedford, England, U.S. Army Maj. Glenn Miller struggled against the stinging airstream blowing in his face from a running propeller as he threw his briefcase and military garment bag into the cabin of an idling airplane. The single-engine C-64 Norseman, piloted by Flight Officer John R. S. Morgan, was aloft in minutes, and Miller, the bandleader whose mellifluous swing provided the soundtrack for Americans during World War II, was on his way to an airfield near Versailles, France.
Miller and his American Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces had been making appearances in England since early July. Now military authorities wanted the orchestra to entertain troops on the Continent. Determined to fly ahead and finalize tour arrangements, Miller told his brother in a December 12 letter that “barring a nosedive into the Channel, I’ll be in Paris in a few days.”
We all had a swell time in Maine on April 28 for the first meeting of 2019. Turnout was good, too. A new member named Tom also joined our ranks.
The meeting started with a lively two hours of social record-listening, buying, selling and chit chat. The business meeting flew by with all reports accepted unanimously. Richard won the lunch money raffle — again!
The program was another challenging audio quiz devised by Spike, club librarian. Tony’s team came roaring back from their defeat last October to carry the day.
Both Spike and Glen had some neat records to show, including a “Fee Bee” and a unique Caruso picture disk meant only for the South American market. Doug had a few French radio transcription discs.
The meeting concluded with a decent auction featuring some lively, but friendly, bidding. After adjourning, we had an early dinner at a nearby eatery. After the food, the fun continued in the parking lot as Glen showed Spike how to operate an Edison home cylinder phonograph on the hood of his car.
Highlights of the meeting included strange, eight-inch Victor scroll records (right) from Japan brought that Glen brought in to share with the club.
The final NESPRS meeting of 2018 spun out in Topsham, Maine on Sunday October 21. Both old and new business was discussed. We ate lunch and dinner together and listened to some mighty fine records.
A particular treat was seeing some strange, eight-inch Victor scroll kiddie records from Japan. Glen brought them in and no one could ever remember seeing anything like them before. Both 10 and 12-inch scroll records are common but not so these eight-inchers. Victor issued a few 7-inch kiddie discs (singles and sets) during the depression era, but no 5-inch discs, to anyone’s knowledge.
The 2019 club meeting schedule (pending a few confirmations) was penciled into the calendar. Club President Troy R. Bennett is on the hunt for east meeting locations.
2019 Meeting Schedule
– Sunday April 28 East
– Sunday May 19 West
– Sunday June 23 East
– Sunday July 21 West
– Sunday Sept. 22 West
– Sunday Oct. 20 East
Club Librarian Spike Hyssong examines a record.
Club Librarian and game master Spike Hyssong treated us to a wonderful Family Feud style trivia game. Most questions were answered correctly but Spike managed to stump the club’s collective wisdom a few times. For the record (ha!) Troy’s team beat Tony’s team this time — by two points.
Glen (from left) Warren and Doug.
That’s all for this year, folks. Have a wonderful winter of collecting and listening. We’ll see you all in April. Keep it tuned here through the cold weather for hot tips and cool tunes.
Keep your needle in the groove,
TROY R. BENNETT, President NESPRS
The Great 78 Project is a community effort in the preservation, research and discovery of 78rpm records and cylinders. Thousands of records have already been digitized and preserved by the Internet Archive, George Blood LP, the Archive of Contemporary Music and others.
The project brings all the collections together in one place on the internet. You can search by year, type of music or nearly any kind of metadata like artist, label or title. When you find what you’re looking for, you can listen for free.
You can even download the music.
You can also embed the music you find, like I did below. Click away and hear “You Ain’t Goin’ To Heaven No How” by Joe Liggins and his Honeydrippers from 1946 on Exclusive.
Stay in that spinning groove,
TROY R. BENNETT, President NESPRS
I hope winter is treating you well and you’re snuggled up to a warm turntable, spinning those records you love. Plans are afoot for this year’s series of club meetings. The schedule is as follows. Mark your calendars.
Sunday April 15 East
Sunday May 20 West
Sunday June 17 East
Sunday July 15 West
Sunday Sept. 16 West
Sunday Oct. 21 East
Details still need to be finalized but the east meetings will be somewhere in the Bath-Brunswick area of Maine and the west will be in the vicinity of Lebanon, NH. Watch this space for further developments.
Until then, stay in the groove,
TROY R. BENNETT, president