The Greatest Band of the Greatest Generation…
Born born to Elmer and Mattie Lou Miller in Clarinda, Iowa in 1904, Alton Glenn Miller was one of four children. His mother introduced him to music through her simple but sweet playing of the pump organ. Glenn really took to the Trombone in band in high school. He struggled in college and eventually quit to become a musician full time. Glenn Miller worked with some of the greats and eventually became the musical director for Tommy Dorsey’s band with brother Jimmy Dorsey.
The Glenn Miller Orchestra was formed by Glenn Miller in 1938 , a big band that would soon take the nation by storm. What was unusual about this big band is that the arrangements were built around the winning combination of a clarinet and tenor saxophone playing the melody while the remaining saxophones play the harmony. This allowed the impeccable Glenn Miller to create his own arrangements in style and sound the broke away from the normal big-band pack. Initially struggling to make his mark, it was his band’s gig at the famed Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, New York, in 1939 that helped put Miller on the map. Broadcast on the radio, this performance gave them great public exposure.
In 1939 the Glenn Miller Orchestra really hit it big with their biggest hits… “Moonlight Serenade” and”In the Mood.” By 1940 the Glenn Miller band had 31 top 10 hits and a record eight number one hits in a single calendar year.
The ever-popular “Moonlight Serenade”, “In the Mood”, “Tuxedo Junction”, “Pennsylvania 6-5000”, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, “A String of Pearls”, “At Last”, “Little Brown Jug”, and “(I’ve Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo” have appeared various times in pop culture and brought swing music to a new height.
Glenn Miller’s fantastic career was cut short when his plane disappeared on December 15, 1944 from a departure from the United Kingdom to Paris. Glenn Miller made such an integral impact on the world that his incredible music and arrangements live on today. The Miller Estate formed the present Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1956 following strong popular demand aroused as a result of the successful motion picture, an immense box office smash – The Glenn Miller Story, starring James Stewart and June Allyson. The band has been touring consistently since, playing an average of 300 live dates a year around the globe to millions of fans. Today, the impeccable Glenn Miller Orchestra is led by Nick Hilsher.