|Birth name||Joshua Alexander Loss|
22 June 1909|
Spitalfields, London, England
|Died||6 June 1990(aged 80)|
|Genres||Swing music, big band|
|Occupation(s)||Bandleader, musician, arranger, composer|
Loss was born in Spitalfields, London, the youngest of four children. His parents, Israel and Ada Loss, were Russian Jews and first cousins. His father was a cabinet-maker who had an office furnishing business. Loss was educated at the Jews' Free School, Trinity College of Music and the London College of Music (now part of the University of West London). He started violin lessons at the age of seven and later played violin at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool and also with Oscar Rabin. Loss started band leading in the early 1930s, working at the Astoria Ballroom and soon breaking into variety at the Kit-Cat Club. In 1934 he topped the bill at the Holborn Empire but in the same year moved back to the Astoria Ballroom where he led a twelve piece band. With broadcasting, recording and annual tours in addition to the resident work the band became highly popular over the next few years. In the 1950s and early 60's, Loss was resident band leader at the Hammersmith Palais and was remembered by a trainee nurse at Hammersmith Hospital as being as kind and gentlemanly when she attended him in hospital as he was in his public persona. His band's signature tune "In the Mood" would often be requested three or more times a night.
He was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions: in May 1963 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews, and in October 1980, when Andrews surprised him again at London’s Portman Hotel during a star-studded party to celebrate Joe’s 50 years in show business.
Loss's daughter Jennifer was the wife of British coach-builder Robert Jankel.
Joe Loss Orchestra
The Joe Loss Orchestra was one of the most successful acts of the big band era in the 1940s, with hits including "In the Mood". In 1961 they had a hit with "Wheels—Cha Cha", a version of the String-A-Longs' hit "Wheels". Other hits included David Rose's "The Stripper" in 1958 and "March of the Mods (The Finnjenka Dance)" of 1964.
In April 1951 Elizabeth Batey, vocalist with Joe Loss, fell and broke her jaw. Joe was badly in need of a replacement and remembered hearing Rose Brennan on radio during a visit to Ireland. Within days he had located her and, before a week was out, she was in Manchester rehearsing with the band. She stayed with Loss for fifteen years, before giving up show-business in the mid 1960s. She wrote many of the songs she recorded with Joe Loss under the name Marella, and co-wrote songs with John Harris. Her co-vocalists with the orchestra from 1955 was Ross MacManus (father of Elvis Costello). and Larry Gretton.
The Joe Loss Orchestra carries on under the musical direction of Todd Miller, who was a vocalist with the band for 19 years before Loss's death. In 1989 Joe Loss became too ill to travel and in 1990 he entrusted the leadership to his longest serving band member, trombonist and player manager of many decades, Sam Watmough and to Todd. The orchestra has been in constant operation since 1930 and in 2015 it celebrated its 85th anniversary.
- McCarthy, Albert J. (1971). The dance band era: the dancing decades from ragtime to swing: 1910-1950, Part 3. Chilton Book Co. p. 147. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- Franklin, Rosalind; O'Neill, Cynthia (2004). When the nightingale sang: a nurse's life in the 1950s and 1960s. Meadow Books. pp. 142–3. ISBN 978-0-9515655-3-7.
- Erik Skytte (9 August 2005). "Joe Loss". Find A Grave. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Don Wicks: The Ballad Years. 1996
- Official website of the Joe Loss Orchestra
- "Internet Archive Search: Joe Loss - archive.org (multimedia content in the public domain)". Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "British Pathé Search: Joe Loss - britishpathe.com". Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- Bio at 45rpm.org.uk