Band singers were a fixture in the era of Big Bands. And one Big Band that we feel we must cite in our ramblings about the Big Band Era is that of Vincent Lopez.

He along with Paul Whiteman, can be considered a leader in the Big Band explosion of the 1930s. Lopez and his Orchestra made their mark on radio in the early 20s and he began each broadcast with his catch phrase “Lopez Speaking.”

He and his orchestra can be seen in Paramount’s 1932 feature, The Big Broadcast. It’s difficult to stress how important Lopez was. At one time or another members of his band included Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and Xavier Cugat. Lopez’ flamboyant piano style was the forerunner of Eddy Duchin and Liberace.

And, of course, there were girl singers. One of whom went onto Hollywood super stardom.

Most people don’t remember that some of the biggest female stars of the Golden Era started out as girl singers. Alice Faye sang with Rudy Vallee and his Orchestra on his very successful radio program before the movies catapulted her to stardom. And Dorothy Lamour (before she was Dorothy Lamour) sang with Herbie Kay and his orchestra –and even married Kay.

Many singers made the transition to films. Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Harriet Hilliard and others, made films but found their greater success in other fields, such as nightclubs, recording, or radio or television.

Vincent Lopez’ girl singers went on to varying degrees of success. Marion Hutton left Lopez and became the female vocalist with The Glenn Miller Orchestra. She made a few films, and is almost forgotten today.

However, her sister Betty Hutton, who sang with the Lopez Orchestra after Marion departed, went to Broadway then Hollywood and had one of the most spectacular careers of the 1940s. She was a top star for a decade before it all came crashing down.

 

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