Bea Wain

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Bea Wain
Bea Wain portrait.jpg
Bea Wain
Background information
Born (1917-04-30) April 30, 1917 (age 97)
Origin Bronx, New York
Genres Big Band
Occupations Singer
Associated acts Larry Clinton

Bea Wain (born April 30, 1917) is an American Big Band-era singer born in New York City, New York. On a 1937 recording with Artie Shaw, she was credited as "Beatrice Wayne", which led some to assume that was her real name. On record labels, her name was shortened (without her permission) to "Bea" by the record company, ostensibly for space considerations. As she explained, "They cut it to 'Bea' Wain. They cut the 'Beatrice' out to 'Bea.' I was just a little old girl singer, but that's the truth. So that's how my name became 'Bea Wain'."

She led the vocal group Bea and the Bachelors (with Al Rinker, Ken Lane, and John Smedberg) and the V8 (seven boys and a girl) on the Fred Waring show. In 1937, Wain joined former Tommy Dorsey arranger Larry Clinton and His Orchestra, which she joined after doing chorus work with Fred Waring and Ted Sttraeter. Her debut with Clinton was made in the summer of 1938 at the Glen Island Casino, New York.[1] She was featured with Clinton on a number of hit tunes, including "Martha" and "Heart and Soul". In 1939, she was voted the most popular female band vocalist in Billboard annual college poll, and that same year she began her solo career. Her first theater tour as a solo led to her being signed for the Your Hit Parade and RCA Victor records. She was with Your Hit Parade for two years before taking on the NBC-Blue "Monday Merry-Go-Round" program, where she was the singing star. She had been in radio since the age of 6, where she was a favorite performer on the NBC Children's Hour.

Wain had four No. 1 hits: "Cry, Baby, Cry", "Deep Purple", "Heart and Soul" and her signature song, "My Reverie". She is considered by many to be one of the best female vocalists of her era, possessing a natural feel for swing-music rhythms not often found among white singers of the day. With regard to technique, she excelled in pitch and subtle utilization of dynamics. She also communicated a feminine sensuality and sang with conviction in an unforced manner.

On May 1, 1938, Bea Wain married radio announcer André Baruch. Their honeymoon in Bermuda was cut short when Fred Allen called Baruch asking him to return to New York to substitute for his ailing announcer, Harry von Zell. They were married for 53 years. Baruch died in 1991. The couple had two children. Bonnie Baruch and her husband, Mark Barnes, operate a vineyard in Northern California and run the Daisy Foundation, an organization which recognizes nurses for their critical role in patient care and supports research towards the cure of autoimmune diseases. Wayne Baruch has a career in the music and theatre business, and his wife, Shelley Baruch, is a theatrical producer and filmmaker.

Mr. and Mrs. Music[edit]

Following her musical career, the couple worked as a husband-and-wife disc jockey team in New York on WMCA, where they were billed as "Mr. and Mrs. Music". In 1973, the couple moved to Palm Beach, Florida, where for nine years they had a top-rated daily four-hour talk show from 2 PM to 6 PM on WPBR before relocating to Beverly Hills. During the early 1980s, the pair hosted a syndicated version of Your Hit Parade, reconstructing the list of hits of selected weeks in the 1940s and playing the original recordings.

In a 2004 interview with Christopher Popa, Wain reflected: "Actually, I've had a wonderful life, a wonderful career. And I'm still singing, and I'm still singing pretty good. This past December, I did a series of shows in Palm Springs, California, and the review said, "Bea Wain is still a giant." It's something called Musical Chairs. I did six shows in six different venues, and I was a smash. And I really got a kick out of it."[2]

Cultural legacy[edit]

In James A. Michener's 1971 novel The Drifters, characters discuss Bea Wain and her recording of "My Reverie" in two separate chapters of the book.

In 2002, her recording of "My Reverie" was used in the Robin Williams movie One Hour Photo.

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