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Your Grampa's Favorite Songs, Singers -- With 34 Music Videos

Graduated NYU 1963. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

Below Are Biographical Sketches And Videos of 34 Great Singers -- Including One of Billy Eckstine Singing 'I Apologize'

Billy Eckstine

Billy Eckstine

Ben Selvin

Ben Selvin, known as “The Dean of Recorded Music,” was a musician and bandleader whose single recording of “Dardanella” sold 5 million copies. It was the biggest seller of the first quarter of the 20th Century. His output was both innovative and prolific, and he recorded under many different names and labels.

Roaring 20s: 'Broadway Melody'

Rudy Vallee

Rudy Vallee was a popular American singer and bandleader. He formed his own band, “Rudy Vallee and the Connecticut Yankees,” and – reluctantly in his thin, wavering tenor voice – he began singing vocals. His boyish looks and suave manner made him a hit with the ladies. He was credited with inspiring the crooning style of singing and influencing such greats as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como.

Rudy Vallee Sings 'I'm Just a Vagabond Lover'

The Andrews Sisters

The Andrews Sisters – LaVerne, Maxene and Patricia – were a very popular close harmony singing group. They became a household name in the late 1930’s notably with their Gold Record hit, “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön.” The sisters entertained Allied troops extensively during World War II and encouraged the sale of war bonds. They started their career as imitators of the Boswell Sisters.

Andrews Sisters Sing 'Rum and Coca Cola'

Al Jolson

Al Jolson was often referred to as “the world’s greatest entertainer.” His brash, extroverted style featured a sentimental, melodramatic approach. Bing Crosby and Bob Dylan were among those influenced by him. He was the most famous entertainer of the 1930’s. He had the leading role in the first talking movie, “The Jazz Singer.” In 1946 Larry Parks played the title role in “The Jolson Story."

Al Jolson Sings 'Toot, Toot,Tootsie Goodbye'

Whispering Jack Smith

Whispering Jack Smith, a popular radio and recording star in the 1920’s and ‘30’s, was a baritone singer who hailed from The Bronx, New York. His distinctive “whispering” style of singing combined talking with singing -- proving effective in contrast to the common style of “belting out” a song. The style came from a war injury from poison gas that suppressed his volume, but won him praise for his intimate delivery and stage presence.

Whispering Jack Smith sings 'Blue Skies'

Spike Jones

Spike Jones was a popular musician and bandleader who specialized in satirical arrangements of popular songs that were often punctuated by gunshots, whistles, cowbells and ridiculous vocals. The band, known as “Spike Jones and the City Slicker,” was popular on radio in the ‘40s and on television in the ‘50s and 60s. They had numerous hits, including “Der Führer's Face,” “Cocktails for Two” and “My Old Flame.”

Spike Jones: 'Sheik of Araby'

Connie Francis

Connie Francis was a chart topping pop singer in the 1950’s and ‘60s. “Who’s Sorry Now?” and “Where the Boys Are” were among her many hits. She debuted on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand television show. By 1967 she had 35 top 40 hits including three that made No. 1. She performed for the U.S. troops at the height of the Vietnam War.

Connie Francis Sings 'Who's Sorry Now'

Gene Autry

Gene Autry, “The Singing Cowboy,” was famous for more than three decades on radio, in movies and, later, on television. His signature song, “Back in the Saddle Again,” was among a large number of hits including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Early in his career he performed on radio as “Oklahoma’s Yodeling Cowboy.” He made dozens of “B” movies with sidekick Smiley Burnett and Gene's horse, Champion.

Gene Autry Sings 'Back in the Saddle Again'

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday, known as “Lady Day,” was a jazz and pop singer and songwriter whose vocal style was inspired by jazz instrumentalists. Her intimate, personal approach to singing was widely admired. Her autobiography of her troubled life, “Lady Sings the Blues,” was ghostwritten by William Duffy and published in 1956.

Billie Holiday Sings 'I'll Be Seeing You'

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The Rhythm Boys

The Rhythm Boys were a singing group created by orchestra leader Paul Whiteman, who put Bing Crosby, Al Rinker and Harry Barris together as a trio in the late 1920s. They appeared in “King of Jazz” in 1930 singing “Mississippi Mud” and “So the Bluebirds and the Blackbirds Got Together.” Before disbanding in 1931 they performed at the Coconut Grove with Gus Arnheim’s orchestra.

Bing Sings 'So the Bluebirds and the Blackbirds Got Together'

Nat King Cole

Nat “King” Cole became prominent as a jazz pianist before becoming one of America’s most popular singers. He was the first black to host a television variety show. His career began in the 1930s when the King Cole Trio was formed. One of his first big hits was “Straighten Up and Fly Right” as well as “Sweet Lorraine.” Among his greatest hits are “Mona Lisa,” “Unforgettable” and “Nature Boy.”

Nat King Cole Sings 'Sweet Lorraine'

Ted Lewis

Ted Lewis, known as “Mr. Entertainment,” was a popular bandleader, singer and musician. His band offered schmaltzy sentimentality and hokey comedy. His famous catchword was "Is Everybody Happy?” He wore a top hat and featured sentimental, hard-luck tunes. Ted called himself “the high-hatted tragedian of song.” He often sounded like he was “speaking the song.”

Ted Lewis Sings (Or Speaks) 'When My Baby Smiles at Me'

Ruth Etting

Ruth Etting was a singing star whose signature tunes were “Ten Cents a Dance,” “Shine on Harvest Moon” and "Button Up Your Overcoat.” She made her Broadway debut in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1927. She made a large number of movie shorts. She starred with Bing Crosby in “I Surrender Dear” in 1931. Her life was fictionalized in “Love Me or Leave Me” in 1955.