Six Hits and a Miss

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Six Hits and a Miss
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresVocal jazz, pop
Associated actsBob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra
Past members

Six Hits and a Miss was an American swing-era singing group. The group consisted of six male singers and one female (thus the word "miss" in their name has a double meaning – the converse of the word "hit", and denotation of a young woman). They performed musical numbers in several Hollywood films of the 1940s, such as Time Out for Rhythm, The Big Store, Hit Parade of 1941, and Girl Crazy.[1]

The group was formed in Los Angeles in 1936 as a foursome, under the name Three Hits and a Miss, the members being Martha Tilton, Vince Degen, Marvin Bailey and Bill Seckler. In this configuration they appeared in the 1937 hit film Topper, singing Hoagy Carmichael's "Old Man Moon". The quartet performed on The Charlotte Greenwood Show on radio in the mid-1940s.[2]

The group soon expanded to a septet. Members came and went, particularly due to wartime service, and included at various times Pauline Byrns, Howard Hudson, Tony Paris, Marvin Bailey, Jerry Preshaw, Lee Gotch, and Mack McLean. They were regulars on The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope in the late 1930s and early 1940s,[3][4] and recorded as backup singers for Judy Garland,[5] Jimmy Durante,[6] and Bing Crosby, whom they backed on "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" which reached No. 4 on the Billboard magazine chart in 1945.[7] They reached No. 11[8] (another source[9] says No. 16) on their own in 1943[9] with Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To".

The group shrunk to Four Hits and a Miss. This configuration briefly included a young Andy Williams.[10] Under this name, they worked with Frank Sinatra,[11] and recorded into the late 1940s on the Decca label.

Alumni Vince Degen, Tony Paris, Howard Hudson, Pauline Byrns and Andy Williams (soon replaced by Jerry Duane) went on to form The Starlighters in 1946.

Six Hits and a Miss is also the name of a 1942 musical short in which the group appeared.[12] Personnel at that time was Pauline Byrns, Marvin Bailey, Vince Degen, Lee Gotch, Mack McLean, Tony Paris and Bill Seckler.


  1. ^ Six Hits and a Miss at IMDb
  2. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 2019-08-29. The Charlotte Greenwood Show, situation comedy.
  3. ^ Jim Johnson. "Judy Garland on Radio, 1939". Judy Garland Database. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  4. ^ J. David Goldin. "The Pepsodent Show". Radio Gold Index. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  5. ^ "Judy Garland, Tony Martin & Six Hits And A Miss – We Must Have Music". Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  6. ^ "Jimmy Durante With Six Hits And A Miss – Inka Dinka Doo / Umbriago". Discogs. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.
  8. ^ "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To (1942)". Jazz Standards. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Six Hits and a Miss Songs". Music VF. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  10. ^ Jim Caruso (April 26, 1999). "Kay Thompson: "Pure Heaven" Tributes to a Lady with "Bazzazz"". The Eloise Website. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  11. ^ Granata, Charles L. (2003). Sessions with Sinatra: Frank Sinatra and the Art of Recording. Chicago Review Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-55652-509-4.
  12. ^ Six Hits and a Miss (short film) at IMDb

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