Will Osborne (singer)

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Will Osborne
Will Osborne - Radio Digest, May 1930.jpg
Background information
Birth name William Osborne Oliphant
Born (1905-11-25)November 25, 1905
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died October 22, 1981(1981-10-22) (aged 75)
Santa Monica, California
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Bandleader, singer
Instruments Drums, trombone, and tenor voice
Years active 1924-1957
Labels Columbia

Will Osborne (November 25, 1905 – October 22, 1981) was a Canadian-born American bandleader, trombonist, and vocalist.[1]

He started out playing the drums.[2] He began his bandleading career in 1924. He began recording in 1929 with a light, crooning vocal style similar to Rudy Vallée's. While Vallée was in Hollywood for the filming of The Vagabond Lover, Osborne took over for him at his Heigh-Ho Club. Osborne's orchestra focused on the trombone; he called this "slide music."

In his book, The Big Bands, George T. Simon noted that the tenor of the times contributed to Osborne's early success: "Then in 1929 came the stock-market crash and the Depression. The high living and the tempos slowed down. The mood and the music of the country changed. The search for security, for sweetness and light, was reflected in the country's musical tastes — in its acceptance of crooners like Rudy Vallee and Will Osborne, and then Bing Crosby and Russ Columbo, in its preference for dance music that encouraged romance and sentiment and escape."[3]

Simon described the band that Osborne formed in 1935 as "a stylized outfit that featured rich, deep-toned brass, emphasizing, of all things, slide trumpets plus glissing trombones blown through megaphones.[3]:489

A 1948 newspaper article reported that, at that time, "The band holds the all-time attendance record at Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles."[4]

The Band's theme song was The Gentleman Waits.[5]

Osborne led the orchestra for The Abbott and Costello Show.[6]

Osborne retired from bandleading in 1957.[7] He then became entertainment director for Harvey's Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.[8]


  1. ^ "Will Osborne's Semi-Swing Band Still Sweet on Music". St. Petersburg Times. June 4, 1944. p. 38. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  2. ^ Popa, Christopher (2004). "Will Osborne". Big Band Library. Big Band Library.com. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Simon, George T. (1981). The Big Bands (4th ed.). New York, New York: Schirmer Books. p. 26. ISBN 0-02-872430-5.
  4. ^ "Will Osborne". The Spokesman-Review. July 25, 1948. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  5. ^ Behrens, John (2011). America's Music Makers: Big Bands & Ballrooms 1912-2011. AuthorHouse. p. 125. ISBN 9781456729523.
  6. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. Pp. 5-7.
  7. ^ "Previous Selections". Dismuke's Hit of the Week. dismuke.org. September 9, 2004. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  8. ^ Lee, William F. (2005). American Big Bands. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 92. ISBN 9780634080548. Retrieved 21 July 2016.

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