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Monday, 19 January 2015

Ray Eberle born 19 January 1919

Raymond "Ray" Eberle (born January 19, 1919, Hoosick Falls, New York — died August 25, 1979, Douglasville, Georgia) was a vocalist during the Big Band Era. Eberle sang with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. 

He was born in Hoosick Falls, New York. His father, John A. Eberle, was a local policeman, sign-painter, and publican (tavern-keeper). His elder brother was Big Band singer, Bob Eberly, who sang with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Ray started singing in his teens, with no formal training. In 1938, Glenn Miller, who was looking for a male vocalist for his big band, asked Eberly if he had any siblings at home who could sing. Bob said "yes", and Ray was hired on the spot. Eberle recalled walking by a table when his similar looking brother was performing, and being stopped by Miller and invited to audition. Music critics and Miller's musicians were reportedly unhappy with Eberle's vocal style but Miller stuck with him. 

Ray Eberle went on to find success with Miller, deeming the songs for Orchestra Wives, such as the jazz standard "At Last", to be among his favorites as there were songs he could "sink my teeth into, and make a story out of". 

He appeared in the Twentieth Century Fox movies, Sun Valley Serenade (1941) and Orchestra Wives (1942). 

He made several Universal films, including Mister Big, making a cameo appearance as himself. Eberle mostly sang ballads. From 1940-43 he did well on Billboard (magazine)'s "College Poll" for male vocalist. He also appeared on numerous television variety shows in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Ray Eberle sang lead on "Sometime", composed by Glenn Miller in 1939, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams", "At Last", a number 9 chart hit on Billboard in 1942, and "To You", but Miller ran a tight ship and often fired people after one negative incident. Eberle was stuck in traffic one day during a Chicago engagement, and was late for a rehearsal. Miller fired him on the spot, and replaced him in June 1942 with Skip Nelson.  Eberle responded by blasting Miller in a trade paper. An angry Miller retorted with his own version of Eberle's firing.  

                 Here's "Deep Purple" from above 1957 album.

After his departure from Miller, Eberle briefly joined Gene Krupa's band before launching a solo career. He later joined former Miller bandmate Tex Beneke's orchestra in 1970 for a national tour, and reformed his own orchestra later in the decade. 

Ray and his wife, Janet (née Young), had two children, Jan and Laurie Eberle. Janet's daughter Nancy Atchison became Nancy Eberle when she married Ray. He had two sons from his second marriage to Joanne Eberle (née Genthon), Ray Eberle Jr. and John Eberle. He also had a grandson, named Tray. Ray Eberle died of a heart attack in Douglasville, Georgia on August 25, 1979, aged 60.
(Info edited mainly from Wikipedia)

Glenn Miller & His Band perform "At Last" with vocals by Ray Eberle, and Lynn Bari (miming Pat Friday’s vocals.)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Ray Eberle Plays Glenn Miller Favourites (1957) go here:

1. In the Mood [Instrumental]
2. Fools Rush In
3. A String of Pearls [Instrumental]
4. Moonlight Serenade
5. Skylark
6. Tuxedo Junction [Instrumental]
7. Blue Champagne
8. Little Brown Jug [Instrumental]
9. It's a Blue World
10. Sunrise Serenade [Instrumental]
11. Deep Purple
12. At Last

Ray Eberle, Glenn Miller's ballad vocalist from 1938-1942, never escaped from Miller's shadow. By the mid-'50s he was considered a has-been, even though his voice was actually stronger than during his glory years. Eberle's only two albums as a leader were both tributes to his former boss, including this date (which was reissued on a 1997 CD). There are five instrumentals for the largely unidentified band (only trombonist Will Bradley and lead altoist Hymie Schertzer are mentioned), and some of the soloists are a little more modern than their 1940 counterparts. Eberle does his best on his seven pieces (which include "Fools Rush In," "Skylark," and "At Last").