Marilyn Duke

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Marylin Duke
Birth name Manfrey Lecta Duke
Born (1916-10-03)October 3, 1916
Jackson, Georgia
Origin Atlanta, Georgia
Died August 7, 1995(1995-08-07) (aged 78)
Clayton County, Georgia
Genres Vocal jazz, jazz blues, torch songs, swing, blues, R&B
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1933–1966
Labels Bluebird
RCA Victor
Associated acts Vaughn Monroe
Website www.vaughnmonroesociety.org
Vaughn Monroe Appreciation Society [a]

Marilyn (Marylin) Duke (née Manfrey Lecta Duke; 3 October 1916 Jackson, Georgia[1] – 7 August 1995 Clayton County, Georgia),[2][3] was an American singer from the swing era of the mid to late 1930s and early 1940s. She began as a soloist in 1933 on radio in Atlanta, then, beginning 1936, was carried on syndicated and network radio from New York. In the first half of the 1940s, Duke traveled and recorded as a featured singer with big bands, notably with Vaughn Monroe. She distinguished herself as a rhythm singer — that is, a singer who swings.[b] And, while with the Monroe Orchestra, she was acclaimed for having an engaging personalty. Duke was a tall[c] brunette, and, according to journalists, attractive.[4] As for her hair color, Duke was a blonde when she re-joined Monroe's band in 1944. After her career with big bands — after 1945 — and into the late 1960s, she performed on-and-off as a nightclub pianist-singer in the metropolitan areas of Boston, New York, and Newport, Rhode Island. Her recorded hits with Vaughn Monroe include "There'll Be Some Changes Made" and "The Trolley Song" — the latter being a late-1944, post-Petrillo-ban, rush-to-market, swing band vocal duet with Monroe.[Billboard 1]

Career highlights[edit]

Growing up[edit]

Marilyn Duke learned to sing in a choir at her church, likely the Macedonia Baptist Church in Jackson, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Though, according to a 1995 interview (the year she died) in the Atlanta Constitution, at an early age, she preferred the gospel music of a nearby black church.[5]

Atlanta radio career[edit]

In 1933, under the product brand pseudonym of "Miss Seiberling," Duke performed on broadcast radio WGST, Wednesdays, 7:15 PM. The radio name was that of the Seiberling Rubber Company, a national tire manufacturer distributed by the Brooks-Shatterly Company, Inc., of Atlanta.[6][d] In 1934, Duke, under her birth name, Manfrey Duke, sang regularly on WSB radio in Atlanta.[7]

New York radio career[edit]

After winning a radio audition contest around 1934, Duke headed to New York,[3] where, from December 30, 1934, to 1936 (and later), she sang regularly on NBC radio and the Mutual Broadcasting Company. She was billed as a blues singer and contralto. Her radio broadcasts included performances with the orchestras of Leon Brusiloff (1898–1973) and his brother Nathan Brusiloff (1904–1951)[e] and Paul Whiteman.[1] In 1935, her broadcast performances were sometimes with The Charioteers, a male choral quartet. Beginning December 30, 1934, Duke sang on WOR two or three times a week — typically Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 5:15 PM. She sang 15-minute segments, usually. The WOR broadcasts were carried on the Mutual Network.

Early dance orchestra career[edit]

From Mid to late-1930s, Duke, as vocalist, was the star attraction for Manny Gates (né Emanuel Getzholtz; 1894–1957) Orchestra in Miami[8][f] She joined Jolly Coburn's (né Frank Harry Coburn; 1900–1964)[9][g] Orchestra, a society band, around July 1937[h] after playing a piano stint at a Boston nightclub. Duke also sang with the Shep Fields Orchestra in 1937 (in Philadelphia).[10][11]

Joined Vaughn Monroe's Orchestra in 1940[edit]

On New Years Eve 1940 — at age twenty-four — 11 months, 2 weeks and 5 days after the death of her father — Duke debuted with the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra at the Statler Hotel, Boston, eight months after Monroe founded the Orchestra. Her father died January 8, 1940, of injuries as a pedestrian struck by a truck.[12] Monroe formed his orchestra April 1940 in Miami at the urging and sponsorship of band agent Willard Alexander (1908–1984)[i] and New England-based band leader Jack Marshard (né Jacob Marshard; 1910–1948), who saw an opportunity when offered two simultaneous bookings.[13] Marshard became his manager. Marylin Duke was Monroe's first female vocalist.[14] She had been working as a pianist-singer at a Boston nightclub; but because an infected finger interrupted her playing, she auditioned for Vaughn Monroe and was promptly signed.[15] Her notoriety rose rapidly during her tenure with Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra as a featured singer.

Departure from Vaughn Monroe's Orchestra in 1943[edit]

She left the Monroe Orchestra in around June 1943 to join the WAAC,[16] but instead, continued performing, which included a two-month stint with Tommy Dorsey. That same year (1943), Duke also sang with Will Osborne and His Orchestra. Filling the void, Monroe hired Phyllis Lynne[j] July 31, 1943, in Los Angeles, to replace Duke. Monroe gave Lynne her East Coast debut on September 14, 1943, in New York at the Paramount.

Rejoined Vaughn Monroe's Orchestra in 1944[edit]

Around June 1944, Duke began a 10-week solo engagement at the Frolic Club (aka, the Frolic Theatre Restaurant),[k] in Revere, Massachusetts, at 155 Revere Beach Boulevard.[Billboard 2] But, apparently before finishing, she was back with Vaughn Monroe by mid-July 1944, replacing Del Parker.[17][l][Billboard 3] In September 1944, she married Peter O'Brien, a Boston amusement park owner.[18]

She then permanently left the orchestra around January 1945.[19] Yet, on April 14, 1945, Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra featured Duke, with Bobby Ricky, in Dayton, Ohio, at the Lakeside Park Ballroom.

A large part of Vaughn Monroe's repertoire featured the singing of Monroe, himself, as well as Marilyn Duke, Ziggy Talent,[m] The Murphy Sisters, and The Moonmaids.

On and off solo career[edit]

In December 1945, she was performing at the Music Box in Boston.

Popularity[edit]

Polls[edit]

  • 1942: Billboard's "Collegiate Choice of Female Vocalists," Duke received votes for first and second choice.[Billboard 4]
  • April 12, 1942: A swing magazine presented Marilyn Duke with an award during Vaughn Monroe's final performance, after a long engagement, at the Commodore Hotel in New York[Billboard 5]
  • The February 1942 issue of Big Song Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 2 (OCLC 19509187), Vaughn Monroe, Marilyn Duke, and Sammy Kaye were on the cover.
  • In January 1945, Duke's rendition of "The Trolley Song," became a top-ten hit. That song, and the one on the flip side, "The Very Thought of You," were recorded Sunday, November 12, 1944, at Victor's studio in New York, 18 hours after the 27-month Petrillo Ban had been lifted. The session represented Victor's first since the ban. Both songs were pressed and on sale only 24 hours later. Victor Victor distributed 160,000 copies throughout the country before the week was out.[20][Billboard 1][n][Billboard 6]
Billboard
Week
Ending
Reviewed Record
Sales
Juke
Box
Radio
Plugs
BB
Issue
Page(s)
"There'll Be Some Changes Made"  [21]
1941 Daniel Richman February 15, 1941 13
"The Trolley Song"
December 9, 1944 Maurie Orodenker December 9, 1944 21
December 7, 1944 15 December 16, 1944 19
December 14, 1944 10 December 23, 1944 19
December 21, 1944 8 9 December 30, 1944 12
December 28, 1944 4 14 January 6, 1945 20–21
January 4, 1945 4 12 January 13, 1945 18–19
January 11, 1945 12 January 20, 1945 18–19
January 18, 1945 7 January 27, 1945 16
Cashbox — "Disk-Hits Box Score" (weekly) [22]
Week
Ending
Weekly Singles
Ratings
Artist(s) Disc(s)
December 11, 1944 1 Pied Pipers
Vaughn Monroe
Capitol 168
Victor 20-1605
December 18, 1944 1 Pied Pipers
Judy Garland
Vaughn Monroe
Capitol 168
Decca 23361
Victor 20-1605
December 25, 1944 2 Pied Pipers
Judy Garland
Vaughn Monroe
Capitol 168
Decca 23361
Victor 20-1605
January 1, 1945 2 Pied Pipers
Vaughn Monroe
Judy Garland
Capitol 168
Victor 20-1605
Decca 23361
January 8, 1945 2 Pied Pipers
Vaughn Monroe
Judy Garland
Capitol 168
Victor 20-1605
Decca 23361
January 15, 1945 4 Vaughn Monroe
Pied Pipers
Judy Garland
Victor 20-1605
Capitol 168
Decca 23361
January 22, 1945 5 Vaughn Monroe
Pied Pipers
Judy Garland
Victor 20-1605
Capitol 168
Decca 23361
January 29, 1945 7 Vaughn Monroe
Pied Pipers
Judy Garland
Victor 20-1605
Capitol 168
Decca 23361
February 5, 1945 8 Vaughn Monroe
Pied Pipers
Judy Garland
Victor 20-1605
Capitol 168
Decca 23361
February 16, 1945 16 Vaughn Monroe
Pied Pipers
Judy Garland
Victor 20-1605
Capitol 168
Decca 23361
"The Very Thought of You"
Cashbox — "Disc-Hits Box Score" (weekly)  [22]
Week
Ending
Weekly Singles
Ratings
Artist(s) Disc(s)
December 25, 1944 14 Ray Noble
Vaughn Monroe
Columbia 36546
Victor 20-1605
January 1, 1945 10 Ray Noble
Vaughn Monroe
Columbia 36546
Victor 20-1605
January 8, 1945 16 Ray Noble
Vaughn Monroe
Columbia 36546
Victor 20-1605

Selected discography[edit]

Jolly Coburn and His Orchestra[edit]

  1. "Foolin' Myself" (fox trot)

    Recorded June 24, 1937, New York City
    Jack Lawrence (w&m)
    Peter Tinturin (1910–2007) (w&m)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Jolly Coburn and His Orchestra
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)

    Side A (matrix 11114): Bluebird B-7041-A

Wally Bishop (pseudonym of Jolly Coburn) and His Band[edit]

  1. "Foolin' Myself" (fox trot)

    Recorded June 24, 1937, New York City
    Jack Lawrence (w&m)
    Peter Tinturin (1910–2007) (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)

    Side ? (matrix 11114): Regal Zonophone MR 2598

Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra on Bluebird[23][edit]

  1. "There'll Be Some Changes Made"

    Recorded January 13, 1941
    William Benton Overstreet (1888–1935) (music)
    Billy Higgins (né William Weldon Higgins; 1888–1937) (words)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Marylin Duke (vocalist)
    Bobby Nichols (né Robert J. Nichols; 1924–1975) (trumpet solo)
    Side A (matrix 060317=1): Bluebird B-11025-A

    OCLC 80421652
  2. "My One Romance"

    Recorded January 13, 1941
    Olga Paul (words)
    Tschaikowsky (music)
    Helmy Kresa (arranger)
    Marylin Duke (vocalist)
    Side A (matrix 060318=1): Bluebird B-11045-A

    OCLC 244292622, 84490225
  3. "Requestfully Yours"

    Recorded February 17, 1941
    Kay Werner (Kay Werner Kent) (w&m)
    Sue Werner (Sue Werner McCarthy) (w&m)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Frank Levine (alto sax solo)
    Nichols (trumpet solo)
    Side B (matrix 60650=1): Bluebird B-11070-B

    OCLC 82407821
  4. "Just Plain Folks" (fox trot)

    Recorded February 17, 1941, New York City
    Tiny Hill (w&m)
    Mary Ray (w&m)
    Harold Dillon (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocals)
    Side A (matrix 060652=1): Bluebird B-11085-A

    OCLC 84124275
  5. "Thumbs Up" (fox trot)

    Recorded February 17, 1941, New York City
    Johnny Watson[o] (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocals)
    Side A (matrix 060654=1): Bluebird B-11103-A

    OCLC 244442524
  6. "G'Bye Now" (fox trot)

    Recorded March 31, 1941
    From the musical:

    Hellz-a-Poppin

    John S. Olsen (w&m)
    Clifford Johnson (w&m)
    Jay Levison (pseudonym of Jay Livingston) (w&m)
    Ray Evans (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side A (matrix 062793=1): Bluebird B-11114-A

    OCLC 62468093
  7. "Music Makers"

    Recorded March 31, 1941
    Don Raye, Harry James Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side B (matrix 062791=1): Bluebird B-11114-B

    OCLC 83466554
  8. "Yours" ("Quieréme Mucho")

    Recorded April 21, 1941, New York City
    Jack Sher (English words)
    Agustin Rodriguez (Spanish words)
    Gonzalo Roig (music)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side B: (matrix 063796=1): Bluebird B-11146-B

    OCLC 83668038
  9. "Aurora"

    Recorded April 21, 1941, New York City
    Roberto Roberti
    Mário Lago (pt)
    English lyrics by Harold Adamson
    Spanish lyrics by Pedro Berriós
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    The Bostonians (vocalists)

    Side A: (matrix 063795=1): Bluebird B-11160-A
  10. "The Monkey on a String"

    Recorded April 21, 1941, New York City
    (audio on YouTube)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)

    Side B: (matrix 063794=2): Bluebird B-11160-B
  11. "Love Me As I Am"

    Recorded May 19, 1941
    From the Paramount film:

    Caught in the Draft

    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side B (matrix 065630=2): Bluebird B-11173-B

    OCLC 78131897
  12. "Daddy" (fox trot)

    Recorded May 19, 1941
    Robert W. Troup, Jr. (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side A (matrix 065626=1): Bluebird B-11189-A

    OCLC 80737103
  13. "The Worm Who Loved The Little 'Tater-Bug'" (fox Trot)

    Recorded June 16, 1941
    Len Charles Conn (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side B (matrix 066109=1): Bluebird B-11207-B

    OCLC 81442242
  14. "Love Me A Little" (fox trot)

    Recorded June 30, 1941
    Herbie Holmes (w&m)
    Howard Smith (w&m)
    Ellen Orr (pseudonym of Harry DeCosta)[p] (w&m)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Marilyn Duke (vocal refrain)
    Side A (066433=1): Bluebird B-11221-A

    OCLC 259959977, 83120490
  15. "One, Two, Three O'Lairy"

    Recorded August 15, 1941
    Don Reid[q] (w&m)
    Max Chamiton (w&m)
    (Oh! My! Whoa! Mary!) (fox trot)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Vaughn Monroe (vocalist)
    Arnold Ross (1921–2000) (piano solo)[r]
    Side A (067581=1): Bluebird B-11283-A

    OCLC 261400802
  16. "The Window Washer Man"

    Recorded September 2, 1941
    Hugo Malanga (words)
    Marion Barry (music)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Ziggy Talent[m] Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side B (matrix 067734=1): Bluebird B-11303-B

    OCLC 725171423
  17. "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good"

    Recorded September 2, 1941
    From the 1941 musical revue:

    Jump For Joy

    Paul Webster (words)
    Duke Ellington (music)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side A (matrix 067732=1): Bluebird B-11310-A

    OCLC 62472084, 83383595, 83495336
  18. "I Don't Want To Walk Without You"

    Recorded November 24, 1941
    From the 1942 film:

    Sweater Girl

    Frank Loesser (words)
    Jule Styne (music)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side A (matrix 068349=1): Bluebird B-11399-A

    OCLC 30434697, 876052838, 81829120 and OCLC 77990320
  19. "Tica Ti-Tica Ta" (fox trot)

    Recorded November 24, 1941
    Louis Prima (w&m)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Ziggy Talent [m] (vocalist)
    Chorus (vocals)
    Side B (matrix 068348=1): Bluebird B-11433-B

    OCLC 77611884
  20. "Pretty Little Busybody"

    Recorded December 18, 1941
    Al Lewis (w&m)
    Larry Stock (w&m)
    Vincent Rose (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Jack Fay (bassist and vocalist) Side B (matrix 068679=1): Bluebird B-11422-B

    OCLC 78456361
  21. "Honey Dear" (fox trot)

    Recorded January 15, 1942, New York City
    Floyd Hunt, Lester Melrose (w&m)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Bobby Nichols (né Robert J. Nichols; 1924–1975) (trumpet solo)
    Side B (matrix 068886=1): Bluebird B-11454-B

    OCLC 79121196
  22. "Somebody Nobody Loves" (fox trot)

    Recorded January 15, 1942, New York City
    Gus Kahn (w&m)
    George Hamilton (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side A (matrix 068885=1): Bluebird B-11445-A

    OCLC 255971938, 78182412
  23. "My Little Cousin" (fox trot)

    Recorded February 24, 1942
    Yiddish version:

    Abe Schwartz (music)
    Hyman Prizant (1892–1947) (words)

    American swing version:

    Herbert ("Happy") Lewis
    Sam Braverman (1898–1960)[s]
    Cy Coben

    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side A (matrix 071959=1): Bluebird B-11488-A

    OCLC 77820128

Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra on Victor[edit]

Bluebird Records is a sub-label of RCA Victor. During the WWII years (and the recording ban), Victor reissued hundreds of jazz records from its Bluebird library. After World War II, the Bluebird label was retired and its artists were re-issued on the RCA Victor label.

  1. "Requestfully Yours"

    Recorded February 17, 1941
    Kay Werner (Kay Werner Kent) (w&m)
    Sue Werner (Sue Werner McCarthy) (w&m)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side B: Victor 20-2825-B

    OCLC 83385963
  2. "G'Bye Now" (fox trot)

    Recorded March 31, 1941
    From the musical:

    Hellz-a-Poppin

    John S. Olsen (w&m)
    Clifford Johnson (w&m)
    Jay Levison (pseudonym of Jay Livingston) (w&m)
    Ray Evans (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Re-issue
    Side B (matrix 062793=1): Victor 20-2644-B

    OCLC 14980059, 79337900
  3. "Yours" ("Quieréme Mucho") (fox trot)

    Recorded April 21, 1941, New York City
    Jack Sher (English words)
    Agustin Rodriguez (Spanish words)
    Gonzalo Roig (music)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side A: Victor 20-2984-A

    OCLC 174525696
  4. "Doodle La Do Da" (fox trot)

    Recorded September 30, 1941
    John D. Watson [o] (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke and chorus (vocals)
    Side B (matrix 071430=2): Victor 27892-B

    OCLC 900226181
  5. "All I Need Is You" (fox trot)

    Recorded April 7, 1942
    Peter De Rose (w&m)
    Benny Davis (w&m)
    Mitchell Parish (w&m)
    Vaughn Monroe (trumpet); George "Spots" Esposito, Irving Goodman, Jack Hansen (trumpets); Ray Conniff, Art Dedrick, Ray Heath (trombones); Andrew Bagni (né Andrew Joseph Bagni; 1907–1984), Roy Anderson (alto saxes), Frank Levine, Johnny Turnbull, Ziggy Talent [m] (tenor saxes); Arnold Ross[r] (piano, arranger); Carmen Mastren (guitar), Jack Fay (bass); Harry Yaeger (drums), Marilyn Duke, Four Vees (vocals); Jimmy Mundy (arranger)
    Side A (matrix 073816=1): Victor 27910-A

    OCLC 900226262, 80793993
  6. "You Were Never Lovelier"

    Recorded July 17, 1942
    From the 1942 film:

    You Were Never Lovelier

    Johnny Mercer (words)
    Jerome Kern (music)
    Marilyn Duke, Four Lee Sisters (vocals)
    (matrix: 075433=1): Victor 27958

    OCLC 900226334
27-month Petrillo Recording Ban
Began July 31, 1941
Ended November 11, 1944
  1. "Happy-Go-Lucky" (1943)

    Used in the 1943 film:

    Happy Go Lucky

    Frank Loesser (words)
    Jimmy McHugh (words)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side B: Victor 20-1524-B

    OCLC 839934304
  2. "How Blue The Night"

    Recorded around 1944
    Harold Adamson (words)
    Jimmy McHugh (music)
    (female vocalist uncredited)

    (likely Marilyn Duke)
  3. "The Very Thought of You"

    Recorded November 12, 1944
    Victor Studios, New York City
    Released November 13, 1944
    From the 1944 film:

    The Very Thought of You

    Ray Noble (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Side A: Victor 20-1605-A

    OCLC 62472718
  4. "The Trolley Song" (fox trot) (1944)

    Recorded November 12, 1944
    Victor Studios, New York City
    From the 1944 M-G-M film:

    Meet Me in St. Louis

    Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane (w&m)
    (audio on YouTube)
    Vaughn Monroe and Marilyn Duke (vocal duet)
    Side B: Victor 20-1605-B

    OCLC 62472718

Selected radio transcriptions[edit]

  1. WOR's Dedication Of The Fifty Kilowatt Transmitter, in Newark

    March 4, 1935, 8:00 PM
    A variety program from Carnegie Hall, as WOR, increases its power output to fifty-thousand watts

    Bert Lahr, Borrah Minevitch and The Harmonica Rascals, Deems Taylor (host), Eddie Dowling, Edward Bowes, Ethel Merman, Fannie Hurst, Gabriel Heatter, Harry Hershfield, Jack Pearl, Jan Peerce, Jean Goldkette, Lanny Ross,[r] Pat Padgett (1898–1990), Pick Malone (né Andrew Pickens Maloney; 1893–1962), Ray Bolger, Sugar Kane (11 year old "Sweetheart of the air"), The Charioteers, The Pickens Sisters, Victor Moore, Wee Willie Robine (William Robyn; 1894–1996), Tiny Ruffner (1899–1983), Harry Salter (1898–1984) (conductor), Harlan Eugene Reid, Gene Buck (President of ASCAP), Jack R. Poppele (1898–1986) (Chief Engineer of WOR), The WOR Orchestra, Fie Dudley, William Gaxton, Frances Williams, Mischa Violin (1899–1984), Monsignor LaVelle (né Michael Joseph Lavelle; 1856–1939), Jack Arthur (né Arthur E. Campbell; 1900–1980), The Hometown Boys, Alfred McCosker (1886–1959) (president of WOR), Eddie Brown (1895–1974) (violinist),[t] Elsie Janis, Goeta Jungberg, George Schackley (WOR, musical director), Ben Bernie, The WOR Piano Quintet, John Gambling (does a satire of his gym-class program), Sandra Svenska, Joseph Weber (president of the American Federation of Musicians), The Moonbeams, Marilyn Duke, The Song Weavers, Jan Peerce
  2. Broadcast

    Coca Cola Spotlight Bands
    Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra
    Longacre Theatre, New York
    January 13, 1942, 10:15 to 10:30 pm
    WOR: Mutual Broadcasting System
    Track 3: "Tica Ti-Tica Ta"

    Louis Prima (w&m)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Gil Newsome (né Gilbert L. Newsome; 1916–1965) (announcer)
    OCLC 733771043, 407835965
  3. Broadcast: Commodore Hotel, New York

    Opening Night: Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra
    September 28, 1944
    Star Line SLC61105 (released 1987)
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Track 3: "Ten Days With Baby"

    From the 1944 film, Sweet and Low-Down
    Mack Gordon (words)
    James V. Monaco (music)

    Track 5: "I'm Makin Believe"

    From the 1944 film, Sweet and Low-Down
    Mack Gordon (words)
    James V. Monaco (music)
    OCLC 21730065
  4. "Every Day of My Life" (1943–1944)
    Harry James (w&m)
    Billy Hays (né William Silas Hays; 1898–1972) (w&m)
    Morty Berk (né Marx Berkowitz; 1896–1955) (w&m)[24]

    "Ten Days With Baby"

    From the 1944 film, Sweet and Low-Down
    Mack Gordon (words)
    James V. Monaco (music)

    Recorded at Liederkranz Hall, New York, July 10, 1944
    Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
    Lang-Worth transcription
    Circle CCD116

    OCLC 37209934

Selected live performances[edit]

  • April 14, 1943: Coca-Cola Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands (over 168 stations on the Blue Network), broadcast from MacArthur Stadium, Syracuse; Duke and Dick Shanahan (drummer) were featured guests with Will Osborne and His Hollywood Band.

Selected compositions[edit]

  1. "Darling I'm Dreaming of You"

    Marilyn Duke (w&m)
    E unpublished 175318
    Miami Beach, Florida: Jack Reynolds[u]

    © 1st copy August 29, 1938

Family[edit]

Parents

Manfrey Lecta Duke was born to William Franklin Duke, Jr. (1874–1940), and Gussie Mae Vaughn (maiden; 1895–1961) — William Duke's second of two wives. Gussie, after the death of William Franklin Vaughn, married John Richardson. Manfrey Duke had 2 brothers and 1 sister. She also had 2 half-sisters and 1 half-brother from her father's first marriage to Margaret L ("Maggie") Scarbrough (maiden; 1874–1910).

Husbands
Peter O'Brien
Sometime around the fall of 1944, Marylin Duke married Peter O'Brien, who — according to a syndicated press announcement of their marriage — was a Boston amusement park magnate.[18][25] They adopted two sons, Michael and Patrick. Their marriage ended in divorce.
Benjamin Cushing Bowker
Marylin Duke was known as Manfred L. Bowker when she died August 7, 1995, in Clayton County, Georgia. She had been residing in Fayetteville, Fayette County, Georgia. She was the widow of Benjamin Cushing Bowker (1912–1968), a native of Quincy, Massachusetts, who died in an auto accident in Jackson County, Georgia. At the time of his death, they were residents of Dorchester, Massachusetts.[26] Bowker was a 1933 alumnus of Harvard and 1934 alumnus of Boston Teachers College; early in his career, Bowker had been a journalist from Boston. He later worked in corporate public relations. Darren Bowker (born 1974), a grandson of Benjamin Bowker and Joan C. Valentas (1913–1979), Benjamin's first wife, is a winemaker with Serenity Vineyards in Penn Yan, in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
Death

Duke suffered a stroke in 1990 and was treated at Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta. Her maternal 1st cousin, Marilyn Jean Howell (née Vaughn), cared for her until her death August 7, 1995. Duke is buried in Crest Lawn Memorial Park, Atlanta, in the family plot of her maternal Aunt Clara Belle Tarrant (née Vaughn; 1899–1982)

Images[edit]

  • Marilyn Duke and Matty Principal at the Moulin Rouge Hotel, Las Vegas, June 5, 1955 (12 days after the hotel's official grand opening)
Original source: Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, Jay Florian Mitchell (1900–1984) Photo Collection
Collection: The African American Experience in Las Vegas, UNLV Libraries
UNLV Libraries, Digital Collections: Images
LoC OHR N° Image N°
VR-410
VR-400-A 405 299-01
VR-400-B 406 299-02
VR-419
VR-400-F 414 300-01
VR-400-G 415 300-02

Monroe personnel who worked with Duke[edit]

  • Four V's (aka Four Vees), male quartet culled from the band
  • 1942-194?: Four Lee Sisters (formerly known as Le Ahn Sisters), Jean, Miriam, Virginia, and Maree:
Jean (née Jean Ahn; born 1918) left in 1944 to get married
Miriam née Miriam Florence Ahn; 27 January 1920 Girard, Ohio – 15 February 1994 Chatsworth, California married Francis Wendell Gross (1917–2001) in the Actors Chapel, Manhattan, New York, June 16, 1946, and subsequently moved to the British-American Compound in Iran, where Gross was a Warrant Officer affiliated with the United States Foreign Service.[27]
Virginia (née Virginia Annabell Ahn; 13 September 1921 Delaware County, Ohio – 23 January 1986 Ventura County, California) eloped with John Weigel New Year's Eve 1944; They divorced in the mid-1960s; she then married Holcombe; after singing with the Four Lee Sisters, she sang with the Moonmaids, then spent a year with the Andrews Sisters, filling-in for Maxene Andrews; John Weigel was the founder of Weigel Broadcasting; The late Tim Weigel, a son, was a notable sportscaster; Rafer Weigel, a grandson (Tim's son), is a news anchor in St. Louis for KTVI Fox 2, Jenniffer Weigel, a granddaughter (Tim's daughter), is a Chicago-based TV personality

Virginia is buried at Rio Verde Memorial Gardens in Rio Verde, Arizona,[28] where Maree's husband John Egers is buried

Maree (aka Mary or Marie, née Maree L. Ahn; 11 April 1924 Delaware County, Ohio – 2016)[29] currently ninety-three years old, from Bellevue, Ohio, had been a singer with the Lee Sisters performing with Horace Heidt (beginning in 1940), Ted Lewis, Monroe, then as soloist with Dick Rogers (1912–1970),[v][30] then with the Norton Sisters, then, after the Moonmaids (who replaced the Norton Sisters) had been working with Monroe, she joined the Moonmaids, turning it into a quintet. In addition to her ensemble roles, she had been Monroe's lead singer. Soon after two Moonmaid singers left to get married, the quintet became a quartet again, with Maree Lee filling the third spot, replacing Katie Myatt, and June Hiett filling the fourth.[31] Lee left Monroe's band on December 20, 1952, to get married; and on December 21, 1952, she married[32] Warren Edward Grafe (1921–1973); she also had been married to George William Eger, Jr. (1918–2002)

Maree is the co-author with Robert H. Mason of Verde Valley Lore (1997), a history of Verde Valley, Arizona

  • 1942–194?: Ziggy Talent (1912–1997)[m]

Miscellaneous[edit]

References[edit]

General notes and resources[edit]

  1. "Bluebird numerical listings 11000–11500"
  2. "Victor 20000–20500" (Victor Matrix Nos.)

Inline notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Vaughn Monroe Appreciation Society was founded in 2001; its website is maintained by Louis J. Kohnen, Jr., of East Rochester, New York, and Claire Schwartz of Dearborn, Michigan

  2. ^ During the swing era, most big bands featured a female and male vocalist; generally one singer primarily sang straight renditions of ballads, while the other was more of a rhythm singer, someone who swung tunes and, as was the case with Marylin Duke, sang the blues (Bebop, by Scott Yanow, Miller Freeman, Inc., 2000, pg. 172; OCLC 47008488)

  3. ^ Marylin Duke was known as the tallest female singer in the business. Published accounts state that she was 5'9". But her maternal 1st cousin, Marilyn Howell, who cared for her during her final 5 years of life, stated that she was 6 feet tall. For reference, Howell, herself, is 5'10"; Howell also said that Duke was a heavy smoker and had problems, before her stroke, with alcohol; Marilyn smoked Camel Cigarettes, the brand that Vaughn Monroe promoted beginning 1946

  4. ^ Brooks-Shatterly Company, Inc., was an Atlanta distributor of Seiberling Tires, automobile accessories, and hardware; the company name reflected its two key executives, Everett Clinton Shatterly (1893–1959), president, and Harry H. Brooks (né Henry Harrison Brooks; 1894–1954), secretary-treasurer

  5. ^ Leon Brusiloff (1898–1973), a violinist, is not the same person as Leon Brusilow (1897–1968), father of violinist, conductor, and music educator Anshel Brusilow; likewise, Nathan Brusiloff (1904–1951) — Leon Brusiloff's brother, also a violinist — is not the same person as Anshel Brusilow's brother, Nathan Brusilow (1920–2004), the late notable classical clarinetist from Philadelphia

  6. ^ Mannie Gates (né Emanuel Getzholtz; 1894–1957) led an orchestra in Miami

  7. ^ Jolly Coburn (né Frank Harry Coburn; 1900–1964) grew up in Binghamton, New York; and, upon graduating from Binghamton High School in 1919, received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy (admission date was June 13, 1919 — Midshipman class of 1923). But he resigned January 13, 1920. (Annual Register of the United States Naval Academy; 1919–1920) He flourished as a danceband leader in the mid- to late-1930s; Coburn sometimes used the pseudonyms "Frank Ferris" and "Wally Bishop"

  8. ^ Joseph Henabery directed a short film about "Jolly Coburn"

  9. ^ Willard Alexander (né Willard Herman Alexander; 1908–1984) left MCA in 1937 to start a band booking division at the William Morris Agency, and ran it until 1947, when he left to form his own agency, Willard Alexander, Inc., based in New York City; he was known for having been an influential exponent of big band jazz during its heyday, and long after, until his death

  10. ^ Phyllis Lynne (born 1919, Alameda, California) was a featured vocalist with Russ Morgan (1941–1943), Chico Marx (pre-cinema entertainment at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles (1943); Vaughn Monroe (1943–1944), Frankie Carle (1944–1945), and Bob Crosby (1945–1946); in line with her having done screen tests in Hollywood, Lynne left Crosby late 1946 to accept a role in the musical comedy Toplitzky of Notre Dame (George Marion, Jr., book and lyrics; Sammy Fain, music) which had pre-Broadway tryout performances (beginning October 31, 1946) in Boston at the Shubert Theatre and (beginning December 2, 1946) in Philadelphia at the Forrest Theatre, then went to the New Century Theatre on Broadway, where it ran for 60 performances over 7 weeks; at some point, Lynne also was a featured vocalist with Tex Williams ... and also Freddy Martin; Lynne quit show business to raise dalmatians, but found that her hobby was so expensive that she returned to singing, joining Carl Cotner (né Carl Benjamin Cotner; 1916–1986), Gene Autry's musical director, as vocalist with his band; also in 1950, Lynne sang on ABC from San Francisco in a show called Melody Promenade, with Phil Bavero (né Philip Martin Bavero; 1908–1985) and His Orchestra; Lynne got her first job in 1939 on the West Coast as soloist with Paul Pendarvis (né Paul Plumley Pendarvis; 1907–1987) (de) — before that, Lynne was in a trio called "The Boys and a Blonde;" Lynne was blonde, blue-eyed, and 5 ft. 1/2 in. tall; Lynne received her primary and secondary education at Sarah Dix Hamlin School (founded 1863) in San Francisco (through mid-11th grade) and graduated from Beverly Hills High School around 1937; she attended UCLA for 1 year

  11. ^ The Frolic Theatre and Restaurant operated as a bar until the Harry Della Russo (1907–1973) and Cella (James, 1892–1962; and Michael, 1895–  ) families acquired it in the 1930s, turning it into a world-class entertainment complex. (Revere by William J. Craig, Arcadia Publishing, 2004; OCLC 57495324)

  12. ^ Del Parker (née Ida Pikus; 1921–2000), also known in her youth as Adele Ethel Pikus, and known while singing with Jimmy Dorsey as Dee Parker, had been a singer with Ed Wynn and Jimmy Dorsey; she became known as Auntie Dee, on The Auntie Dee Show, a TV show from the 1950s; she sang a year with Vaughn Monroe and two years with Jimmy Dorsey; for her professional career, she changed her surname to Parker; Parker married Phillip M. Brestoff (1909–1967) in Chicago on June 3, 1943; he was the leader of a dance orchestra that she had been singing with; Brestoff later became a radio station executive; they moved to Hollywood in 1956; In 1968, after Brestoff's death, Dee married Guy Cherney (1917–1989)

  13. ^ a b c d e Ziggy Talent (né Zigmund James Talent; 1912–1997) was a saxophonist and featured vocalist; he was from Boston

  14. ^ "Record Snatches and Catches," by Bobby Steely, The Flat Hat, Vol. 34, No. 10, December 6. 1945, pg. 3

  15. ^ a b Johnny Watson (né John Kluczko; 1912–1977) (ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, 1980; OCLC 12259500)

  16. ^ Harry DeCosta (né Harry Milton DeCosta; 1885–1964) (ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, 1980; OCLC 12259500)

  17. ^ Don Reid (né Donald Reid; born 1915) (ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, 1980; OCLC 12259500)

  18. ^ a b c Arnold Ross (ne Arnold Rosenberg; 1921–2000) was a prolific jazz pianist, organist, and arranger, and studio musician (ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, 1980; OCLC 12259500)

  19. ^ Sam Braverman (né Sam William Braverman; 1898–1960) was a Russian-born American musician-songwriter and tenor from Rochester, New York; in the mid- to late 1920s, he sang on WHAM radio, and, from 1919 to 1959, he was associated with Neisner Bros., Inc., namely as head buyer of sheet music and records ("Braverman Dies at 61,", Billboard, April 18, 1960)

  20. ^ Eddy Brown (1895–1974) had been a child prodigy violinist who, as a child, studied with Leopold Auer

  21. ^ Jack B. Reynolds (born 1904) was a pianist at a hotel in Miami Beach owned by James Henry Brennan (1878–1960) (ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, 1980; OCLC 12259500)

  22. ^ Dick "Stinky" Rogers (aka Dick Robertson; 1912–1970), not to be confused with Richard Rodgers, was a lyricist, vocalist, comedian, band leader, and pianist. He had been a pianist and vocalist with Will Osborne; Osborne gave up his band to go to Hollywood in the latter part of 1940, Rogers took over as leader and continued its high musical quality through 1945, thanks in part to fine arrangements by Jerry Bittick (né Gerald R. Bittick); Stan Getz, at age 15, made his professional debut with Dick Rogers at the Roseland Ballroom in December 1942, and shortly after getting his AFM Local 802 union card on January 14, 1943, a truant officer yanked him off the job; meanwhile also in 1942, Osborne formed a new big band, and, in 1946, recorded for the Black & White Records, featuring vocalist Eileen Wilson, then disbanded after his last return to the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago in 1948; Rogers, as lyricist, and Earle Hagen, as composer, wrote "Harlem Nocturne," which, as an instrumental, became a jazz standard
    ("Rogers, Dick," ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, 1980; OCLC 12259500)
    ("Getz, Stanley 'Stan' (1927–1991)", The Later Swing Era, 1942 to 1955, by Lawrence McClellan, Jr. Greenwood Press (2004), pg. 210; OCLC 60590895)
    ("Stanley Getz," Inside Jazz, reprint of Inside Be-Bop, by Leonard Feather, Da Capo Press (1977), pg. 83; OCLC 3002272)

Inline citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b "On The Radio Waves Today: Manfrey Duke, Southern Songbird, Will Sing Over WGST Tonight," by Samuel E. Clarke, Atlanta Constitution, June 7, 1936, pg. 7K (retrieved June 16, 2016, via ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
  2. ^ "Facing the Music," by Ken Alden, Radio and Television Mirror, September 1941, pps. 9 & 71
  3. ^ a b "Crashing Networks Is Tough Even If You Have A Manager," by Norman Siegel, Pittsburgh Press, November 18, 1934, Society Section, pg. 5
  4. ^ "Forgotten Heroes of the Big Band Era: The early Vaughn Monroe Orchestra," by Dave Whitney, Pete Kelly's Blog (a blog maintained by Dave Whitney), June 12, 2010 (retrieved July 18, 2016)
    David George Whitney (born 1952) of Billerica, Massachusetts, is a Boston-area jazz trumpeter, vocalist, band leader, educator, and jazz musicologist; he is an influential exponent of traditional jazz and swing
  5. ^ "Jamming With The Big Guys Singer Loved It All, Well, Maybe Not The 'Apple Tree, by Michael Weiss, Atlanta Constitution, January 12, 1995 (retrieved June 16, 2016; ProQuest document ID: 293111489)
  6. ^ "Singer Features Brooks-Shatterly Weekly Broadcast," Atlanta Constitution, October 1, 1933, pg. 17A (retrieved June 16, 2016, via ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
  7. ^ "Those Wild Radio Waves: WSB," Atlanta Daily World April 7, 1934, pg. 6 (retrieved June 16, 2016, via ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
  8. ^ "The Melody Lingers on for NFL Veep," by Michael Haggerty, Nostalgia Newsletter (Chuck Schaden, publisher, Morton Grove, Illinois), Vol. 9, No. 1, December–January 1982–1983; pg. 10; OCLC 57593436
  9. ^ American Big Bands, by William Franklin Lee, Hal Leonard (2005), pps. 174–175; OCLC 62090862
  10. ^ "Camera Angles on Film Folk," by Mildred Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 18, 1937, pg. 11
  11. ^ "Short, Short Story," Radio-Mirror, Vol. 8, No. 2, May 1937, pg. 74
  12. ^ "Mr. W.F. Duke Laid to Rest at Macedonia," Jackson Progress-Argus, July 18, 1930 (retrieved June 22, 2016, via www.rootsweb.ancestry.com)
  13. ^ "Tours Important to Musicians Who Want to Please the Public," by Joey Sasso, Greenfield Recorder-Gazette, April 10, 1954
  14. ^ "On The Bandwagon," by Maurice Granger, Movie and Radio Guide, Vol. 10, No. 19, February 15–21, 1941, pg. 36
  15. ^ "Society in Area Towns — Right Out of the Air," by Earle Ferris, New-York Tribune, July 16, 1942, pg. 5
  16. ^ "Music Makers," by Daniel Richman, New York Post, June 15, 1943, pg. 22
  17. ^ "Current Recording News," Jamestown Post-Journal, July 22, 1944, pg. 5
  18. ^ a b "Walter Winchell in New New York" (syndicated column), by Walter Winchell, Jamestown Post-Journal, September 30, 1944
  19. ^ "The Voice of Broadway" (syndicated column), by Dorothy Kilgallen, Elmira Star-Gazette, January 30, 1945
  20. ^ "Recorded Music," The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 26, 1944
  21. ^ "Song Artist 67 – Vaughn Monroe," Steve Hawtin (né Steven John Hawtin; born 1960), et al. (eds.), tsort.info/music/pk975c.htm, Basingstoke, England: Mesh Digital Limited (website registrant) (generated 17 July 2016; data version 2.5.0029; retrieved July 21, 2016)
  22. ^ a b Pop Hits Singles & Albums 1940-1954 (2nd ed.), Joel Whitburn (ed.), Record Research (2002); OCLC 51670120
  23. ^ "Vaughn Monroe," The American Dance Band Discography 1917–1942 (Vol. 2 of 2), by Brian Rust, Arlington House Publishers (1975), pps. 1264–1267; OCLC 1818389
  24. ^ "Morty Berkowitz" (obituary & paid death notice), The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 6, 1955, pg. 32, cols. 3 & 4
  25. ^ "Lights of New York" (Bell Syndicate column), by L.L. Stevenson (né Louis Lacy Stevenson; 1879–1953) (longtime New York correspondent for The Detroit News), Amsterdam Evening Recorder and Daily Democrat, October 14, 1944, pg. 4, col. 5
  26. ^ "B. C. Bowker Services Tuesday in Boston," The Boston Globe, March 25, 1968, pg. 29 (retrieved June 16, 2016, via ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
  27. ^ "Couple, Recently Wed, to Make Home in Iran," Sandusky Register (Ohio), August 3, 1946, pg. 3 (retrieved July 27, 2016, via www.newspapers.com; fee required)
  28. ^ "Virginia Weigel Holcombe" (obituary), Chicago Sun-Times, January 24, 1986 (retrieved July 31, 2016, via www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-3747660.html; fee required); OCLC 26166499
  29. ^ Maree Lee's birth certificate is digitally indexed as "Marge L. Alm" born 11 April 1924 in Delaware County, Ohio (www.ancestry.com, retrieved July 28, 2016, subscription required)

  30. ^ Serge Chaloff: A Musical Biography and Discography, by Vladimir Simosko, Scarecrow Press (1998), pg. 13; OCLC 38557354
  31. ^ "Moonmaids: Keeping the Big-Band Sound Alive," D Magazine, July 1984
  32. ^ "Lee Sisters," by Maree Lee Eger, June 2002, posted on the Vaughn Monroe Appreciation Society website, maintained by Louis J. Kohnen, Jr. (of East Rochester, New York) and Claire Schwartz (of Dearborn, Michigan) (retrieved 30 May 2013)

Inline citations from Billboard[edit]

(1940–2010 archived online by Google Books)
  1. ^ a b "Disking Race: Victor Pushes, Col'mbia Easy" — "Post-Ban Disks Already Spinning," November 25, 1944, pps. 13 & 63
  2. ^ "In And Around Philly," June 3, 1944, pg. 13
  3. ^ "Paramount, New York" (review), by Paul Secon, August 19, 1944, pg. 25, cols. 1 & 2
  4. ^ "Collegiate Choice of Female Vocalists," May 2, 1942, pg. 21
  5. ^ "On The Air; Vaughn Monroe," April 25, 1942, pg. 25
  6. ^ "Trolley Song No. 1," November 18, 1944, pg. 63