History Class, Music, Uncategorized, World War 2, Writer's Life

Musical Interlude: “Sing, Sing, Sing”

Benny Goodman and his clarinet. Public Domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I’m in need of some good music this weekend.

Those of you who visit regularly might recall that I received the offer of a new teaching position for next school year, one which would require my family to move to Wisconsin. After a great deal of deliberation, of prayer and conversation, my husband and I agreed on a decision. I’ve accepted.

While we have several months before the move, the reality of just what it’s going to take to get our household of two adults, three children, three cats, three snakes, and a leopard gecko moved around 2,000 miles across country has hit hard this week. It doesn’t help that I’m not a fantastic housekeeper and the place isn’t exactly tidy to begin with. Friends, I have a lot of cleaning and sorting to do.

Which means, I NEED some good music in the background to maintain sanity.

Sorting through our CD collection, I came upon a disc of Benny Goodman’s greatest hits. While his heyday predates some of the other artists I’ve featured like Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller, he was another influential musician before and during the Second World War and was known for one of my favorite big band pieces, “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

About Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman was also known as “The King of Swing.” Born in Chicago in 1909 into a large family of Russian Jewish immigrants, he started studying music at a young age. He was a gifted clarinetist and joined Ben Pollack’s band in 1925. Within nine years he had released his own recordings and was leading his own band. Goodman and his band became a regular on the radio program “Let’s Dance,” and their 1935 performance at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles made such an impression, both on the audience there and nationwide via radio, that it’s considered the beginning of the swing era. In 1938, his band played at Carnagie Hallβ€”the first time swing music was played in that concert hall rather than in a dance hall.

Music is always changing, and swing and big bands wouldn’t last forever. In fact, by the time the United States entered the war, Goodman’s band’s popularity had started to wane. After the war, he broke up his big band. However, he continued to be active as a musician, making recordings into the 1980s until his death in 1986.

Sing, Sing, Sing

While “Sing, Sing, Sing” is often associated with Benny Goodman, he didn’t create it. It was written by Louis Prima, who was a trumpeter and band leader in the jazz scene of the 30s. The song, as written by Prima, did originally include singing (which one might expect from the title.) In fact, I first got to know this piece when I sang it in highschool choir.

However, Goodman’s version of the song is the one I keep coming back to. It has no lyrics, but over the top of its driving rhythm, various instrumental solos “sing” with their unique voices. I especially love the big, brassy trumpet part.

What do you think? Do you prefer a vocals version or instrumental? How about that drum soloβ€”too much, or just enough?

27 thoughts on “Musical Interlude: “Sing, Sing, Sing””

    1. Thank you Diana! I agree- my husband is a WI boy, and I went to high-school in Watertown, so it will be the biggest change for the kids. Of course, after being in WA for 17 years and hearing just how cold it was back there this year, maybe it will be more of an adjustment than I think! And I’ve been told that I’ll probably have to watch the Packers now…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup, it’s almost a requirement to “back the Pack.” I don’t actually follow football, but whenever there’s a game, I stock up on the Packer-themed cupcakes and whatnot at the store. I’m pretty sure that counts! 😏

        Liked by 1 person

  1. My Mom had some old records from back then. Big bands were so classy. Glenn Miller was her favorite and became mine. When you come to Wisconsin driving on I-94, wave as you pass Racine (actually Caledonia, one exit north of Racine). I’ll wave back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck for the new job and the move!
    I love the music and a drum solo can’t be long enough for me. I couldn’t do housework with this music though, I can’t sit or stand still listening to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      It’s such a great song, isn’t it?
      Oh my yes, there really is no sitting still for it! I save the loud stuff to keep me moving while scrubbing and mopping and sorting and dusting…it’s more fun if it involves a little dancing too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great news about the job! I totally feel you regarding the idea of a big move, a few years ago we moved from England to Northern Ireland and you don’t realise just how much you own until you have to start organising and packing and purging.

    I hope it all goes well!

    PS: Snakes!!! That is awesome, I love snakes! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ari- it’s exciting, but this week has been so overwhelming! I’ve been alternating between bad dreams about packing to bad dreams about the house breaking before we sell it. Wheee! Outside of nerves, though, things are going well, and we are moving forward!
      As to the snakes, yeah, I married a reptile guy. We have a corn snake, a milk snake, and a Mexican black king snake (baby.) I especially like that I don’t have to do any of their care, they’re quiet, and only eat once a week. πŸ™‚

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      1. If you haven’t already, get yourself a tape-gun, I’ve had mine for years due to all the moves – game changer! πŸ˜€

        I am sure you will be fine. I understand those worries well, but hopefully they will start to subside!

        Ohhh those snakes sound adorable!! We would love to get one, my partner’s friend breeds snakes but I bounce between loving them and struggling with the idea of feeding them because I’m such a soft-touch and would probably cry when I had to.

        I love corn snakes and ball pythons. I’ve never seen a Mexican black king snake! *goes to google!*

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ball pythons are neat- I like that they don’t get so big. (Reptiles don’t bother me, but the big thick guys in the house might make me change my mind :))
        For what it’s worth, the food is kinda yucky, but we just buy it frozen in little plastic bags, Todd thaws it, and then we put it in. It’s pretty clinical. They only time we’ve had live food was crickets for a rough green snake (now deceased) and for the gecko.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think I’d be okay with a snake that ate live invertabrae, I breed mealworms for the birds so I can usually detach myself from thinking too much about it.

        But the pinkies would be tough. My partner has said he would do it, if we ever did get one.

        Aww geckos are cute too. I like the big snakes but there is something a little unnerving about them too πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is terrific. I didn’t recognise until it started to play – but still wouldn’t have known it was Benny Goodman. I do like ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’, which I have on a compilation CD. Love some of the music from that era – so thank you for the reminder to listen to more!

    Liked by 1 person

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