Gus Arnheim (September 4, 1897 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – January 19, 1955 in Los Angeles, California) was an early popular band leader. He is noted for writing several songs with his first hit being "I Cried for You" from 1923. He was most popular in the 1920s and 1930s. He also had a few small acting roles.
Armheim's first recorded for OKeh in 1928-1929, when he signed with Victor in 1929 and stayed through 1933. He signed with Brunswick and recorded through 1937. In 1928-31, Arnheim had an extended engagement at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles. In 1930, when Paul Whiteman finished filming The King of Jazz for Universal, The Rhythm Boys vocal trio, consisting of Bing Crosby, Harry Barris and Al Rinker decided to stay in California and they signed up with Arnheim's band. While the Rhythm Boys only recorded one song with Arnheim, "Them There Eyes", which also happened to be The Rhythm Boys final recording, Arnheim's Orchestra backed Crosby on a number of songs released by Victor Records in 1931. These popular records, coupled with Arnheim's radio broadcasts featuring Crosby's solo vocals, were a key element to the beginning of Crosby's popularity as a crooner.
In 1919 three men who all would become famous band leaders played together at the Sunset Inn in Santa Monica, California. Arnheim played piano, Abe Lyman played the drums, and Henry Halstead played violin.
When Lyman organized a full dance orchestra, Arnheim came along as pianist, leaving to start his own group in 1927.
Between 1930 and 1933, some notable people worked in or with Arnheim's band:
- Fred MacMurray played clarinet and tenor sax in 1930-31 and sang on one recording ("All I Want Is Just One" on 3/30/30).
- Russ Columbo played violin in 1930 and sang on "A Peach Of A Pair" (6/18/30).
- Future popular bandleader Jimmie Grier was staff arranger during this time. Grier had played lead alto saxophone and clarinet in Arnheim's band from its founding in 1928.
- Eddie Cantor and Joan Crawford(!) each recorded a song for Arnheim on July 23, 1931, although the Crawford side ("How Long Will It Last?") was not issued. Cantor's side, "There's Nothing Too Good for My Baby," was issued but without vocalist credit.
- Future popular singer Buddy Clark sang with Arnheim in 1932.
- Shirley Ross sang with Arnheim in 1933
(Source is Brian Rust's "The American Dance Band Discography" 1975, Arlington House Publishers.)
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