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Glenn Miller

From Academic Kids

Alton Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904December 15, 1944) was an American jazz musician and band leader in the Swing era. One of his most famous pieces was "In the Mood", probably the most well-known recording of the style.

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Musician and Bandleader

Glenn Miller was born in Clarinda, Iowa in 1904. During the 1930s, Miller worked as a trombonist in several bands, before forming his first band in 1936, but it failed to distinguish itself from the many others of the era. Returning to New York after it broke up, at some point (Miller himself apparently could not recall exactly when) soon after he realized that his band's distinctive reed sound, formed by the clarinet and tenor saxophone playing the melody line with a number of other saxophones harmonising, should be emphasized and that the sound might lift him above the crowd of other bands of the era.

He formed a second band in 1937, which immediately attracted attention and big crowds to venues and a series of recordings followed. Beginning in June, 1938, Miller dominated the top spot on the various popular music charts for over a year, with "In The Mood" holding the top spot for over fifteen weeks at the beginning of 1940 and "Tuxedo Junction" taking over and keeping Miller at "number 1" into the summer. On February 11, 1941, Miller was presented with the first ever Gold record for "Chattanooga Choo Choo".

His other popular hits included "A String Of Pearls", "Moonlight Serenade" and "Pennsylvania 6-5000" (which was, and still is, the real telephone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan).

Military Service, What Happened Afterwards and Personality

In 1942, Miller joined the United States Army Air Force and was commissioned as a Captain. He was the commander of the Army Air Force Band and was assigned to play for American troops overseas.

On December 15, 1944, he was scheduled to fly from England to Paris to play for the soldiers that had recently liberated the city. He disappeared over the English Channel and was never found. Miller's death remains somewhat of a mystery. Many alternate theories have been suggested. The fact that neither Miller's remains, nor the wreckage of the single engine Norseman plane he was travelling in were ever recovered from the channel have led to many conspiracy theories over the years.

Miller's music is familiar to many born long after his death, especially from its use in a number of movies. Jimmy Stewart starred as Glenn Miller in 1953's "The Glenn Miller Story." "Moonlight Serenade" was used in Tom Hanks' Big. "In The Mood" was used in Disney's remake of The Parent Trap and in 1989 as the instrumental theme for Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers "Swing The Mood," a compilation mix that also included many early rock and roll tunes and was a number one single in England, Australia and several other countries.

In April 1992, at his daughter's request, a stone was placed in Arlington National Cemetery.

According to Leo Walker in his book The Big Band Almanac, few people got to know Glenn Miller well. Two people who got to know him well were Don Haynes, who was Millers manager, and George T. Simon, jazz critic and author of Glenn Miller & His Orchestra. Don Haynes told Walker that Glenn was a reserved person, but one who was extremely warm towards those near him.

But other musicians who were associated with Miller thought different. They all respected Miller, but they described him as all business, generally cold, perhaps insecure and a person who had a driving ambition to be successful. They agreed that Miller was a musical perfectionist.

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See also

es:Glenn Miller fi:Glenn Miller fr:Glenn Miller it:Glenn Miller ja:グレン・ミラー lb:Glenn Miller nl:Glenn Miller pl:Glenn Miller

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