Sunday, 24 July 2016

Peggy Mann born 27 September 1919

Margaret Germano, better known as Peggy Mann (September 27*, 1919 – summer 1988), was an American Big Band singer who was prominent in the 1930s and 1940s. 

Now virtually forgotten, but certainly deserving of reappraisal, is Peggy Mann. Born Margaret Germano in Yonkers New York in 1919, Peggy was a prominent big band vocalist of the late 1930s - early 1940s. A noted beauty and prodigy child dancer, she turned to singing instead, replacing Bea Wain in Ben Pollack's orchestra. 

She also worked with Henry Halstead, Ben Pollack and Enoch Light in the late 30s, and sang with Larry Clinton, Goodman, McKinley and violinist Teddy Powell who formed his first big band in 1938. She also worked with Gene Krupa in the early 40s before she left to work as a soloist. A review in Billboard magazine referred to her "captivating manner that has made her a favourite song stylist." 

She sang with the Pollack band just after its prime, but was on recordings such as ‘I’m In My Glory’, ‘If It’s The Last Thing I Do’ and ‘You Made Me Love You’. With Clinton she appeared on several recordings, including ‘Because Of You’, ‘You’ll Never Know’ and ‘Isn’t It Time To Fall In Love’. For Teddy Powell’s sweet band she duetted with Dick Judge on the hit, ‘Goodbye, Mama (I’m Off To Yokohama)’ and also sang on ‘Somebody’s Thinking Of You Tonight’ and ‘Be Careful, It’s My Heart’.  

Peggy Mann also recorded with Russ Case (‘Crying For Joy’), Tommy Dorsey (‘Bill’), the Benny Goodman Quintet (‘Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’) and under her own name (‘Changeable’ and ‘When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful’). Mann was a replacement singer for Joan Edwards on the radio version of Your Hit Parade. 

On November 1st, 1946, Peggy signed a two year contract as the featured vocalist on the Saturday night "Hit Parade" program. But if there was ever a crowning moment in Peggy's career, it came only a couple weeks later. That's when Peggy had the opportunity to sing with one of the biggest stars of not only the 1940s, but of all time. It was at this time that Peggy met Frank Sinatra and was invited to perform on the Frank Sinatra Radio Show in the last two months of 1946 and for a short time into the New Year. With Peggy having the opportunity to sing with "Old Blue Eyes", this could be the break she needed. What is sad about this short time that the two spent together, is that only one of their duet recordings, "Embraceable You", from November 26th, 1946 is known to exists. 

It's not exactly known why Peggy left Frank's show a couple of months later except that she did have many other offers on the table. And being the go-getter that Peggy was, she tried everything including teaming up with the legendary pianist Eddie Heywood in 1947. Together they recorded three songs that were possibly her finest to date. Performing with Eddie Heywood gave Peggy a chance to have a band compliment her singing instead of the other way around. And with a top notch production facility being used, it was a match made in heaven. These three tracks recorded are probably the rarest to find today in the USA.

One of the gigs Peggy soon landed was 1950's ABC broadcast of "Name the Movie" where she hosted with tenor Clark Dennis. She then went on to host a   television show with Del Courtney on KPIX Television in San Francisco. Peggy also hosted the "Peggy Mann Show" for six months on ABC.

She retired from the music business in the early 50s, but during 1957, our little songbird had shown up one more time. We were able to hear Peggy in what may have been her finest two songs ever recorded. "The Man I Love" and "Someone To Watch Over Me".Hollywood Records released "Music For Going Steady" featuring Vic Damone and Peggy Mann with the Ted Dale Orchestra. No other recording has ever surfaced after this one. Peggy being the private person that she was, quietly slipped away
from showbiz.
For the next 30 plus years, Peggy lived away from the bright lights and entertained her family at many of their gatherings. Her family can still remember how Peggy would sit around the piano and sing "The Man I Love" which would be quite fitting since this was one of the finest songs she ever recorded. During this time, Peggy's star may have disappeared from the public eye, but it was her loving family who kept her still perched upon a pedestal, and to them, back then as she still is today....she was their star. Sadly though, in the summer of 1988, Peggy quietly passed away.  

(* some sources give her birthdate as 24th July. Info edited from Wikipedia & AMG & The Peggy Mann Tribute Page @ facebook )

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

Well Blog followers, there I was for two hours slaving over the bio of today's birthday girl, when I found out the date given by All Music Guide was wrong. So I have amended Peggy's birthdate from the 24th July to it's correct date of 27th Srptember. Hence post out of sequence.

For “Teddy Powell & His Orchestra – The Lang-Worth Recordings 1942” (ft. Peggy Mann & Tommy Taylor) go here:

1. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Blue Mood (opening theme) 1:13
2. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Jersey Bounce 3:44
3. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Sleepy Lagoon 3:40
4. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Joltin' Joe Di Maggio 1:57
5. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra / Tommy Taylor - Robin Sings 3:18
6. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Ode to Spring 3:13
7. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Heavenly, Isn't It? 3:07
8. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra / Tommy Taylor - My Little Cousin 3:10
9. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra / Tommy Taylor - Tell It to a Star 2:23
10. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Idaho 2:51
11. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - If You Are But a Dream 3:14
12. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Gobs of Love 2:42
13. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra / Tommy Taylor - Last Night I Said a Prayer 3:13
14. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Boogie War Dance 2:38
15. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Blue Sentimental Mood 3:39
16. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Look Out! 3:10
17. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Tapestry in Blue 3:10
18. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Tomaschefsky's Laundry 2:37
19. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Somebody's Thinking of You Tonight 3:15
20. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra – I Ain’t Tellin’ 2:59
21. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra / Tommy Taylor - Heaven Is Mine Again 2:59
22. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra / Tommy Taylor - Who Wouldn't Love You? 2:28
23. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Cedarhurst Shuffle 2:58
24. Peggy Mann / Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Love Is a Song 3:20
25. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - 4:15 Jump 2:38
26. Teddy Powell & His Orchestra - Blue Mood (closing theme) 1:10

Since Teddy Powell's orchestra would have no further opportunities to record after mid 1942 (although a radio broadcast or two from the following year has survived), this CD (which contains the music his big band recorded for Lang-Worth radio transcriptions) is historic in addition to being quite musical. The performances are actually a bit schizophrenic, alternating between exciting romps and middle-of-the-road pop vocals by Peggy Mann and Tommy Taylor. The nine instrumentals (out of 24 songs) are often quite heated and hard-swinging. Powell's best-known sideman was clarinetist Irving Fazola, although the rhythm section included pianist Tony Aless and guitarist Carmen Mastren. However, the obscure trumpeters and tenor saxophonists get their share of solo space and the musicianship of the band was quite strong. This long forgotten orchestra was always underrated and, even with the inclusion of the OK vocals, this is one of the better Teddy Powell CDs available. ~ Scott Yanow (AMG)