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The Andrews Sisters

The Andrews Sisters were the most successful female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century in the U.S. One source lists 113 singles chart entries by the trio between 1938-1951, an average of more than eight per year. They boasted an exuberant, close-harmony style well-suited to cheery novelty songs, and their intricate vocal arrangements and rhythmic ability mirrored the sound of the swing bands that constituted their chief competition in their heyday. But, in a sense, they had no competition. No other female vocal group, and very few male ones, came close to their success from the late '30s to the early '50s, an era when first big bands and then solo singers dominated popular music. Their reign is all the more remarkable given that they swam against the current of contemporary music trends while making it seem effortless. For the most part, the Andrews Sisters did not focus on romantic material, but rather sang upbeat songs, often borrowed from other cultures. Although they were well-established by the time the U.S. entered World War II, their optimistic tenor made them perfect boosters of the war effort, and in later years they remained closely identified with the war years, remembered as wearing military uniforms and singing their signature song, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

The Andrews Sisters -- LaVerne Andrews (born July 6, 1911; died May 8, 1967), Maxene Andrews (born January 3, 1916; died October 21, 1995), and Patty Andrews (born February 16, 1918) -- were each born in Mound, MN, the children of a Greek immigrant father and a Norwegian immigrant mother who ran a restaurant in Minneapolis. They turned to singing as children, entertaining on local radio and in amateur revues, with Patty taking the lead, Maxene singing high harmony, and LaVerne low. They were particularly inspired by the Boswell Sisters, who scored a number of hits in the early '30s. Their first professional engagement came in December 1932 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. In November 1933, they joined a vaudeville troupe for six months, traveling around the Midwest. Afterwards, their parents closed the restaurant to devote themselves to their career, and they spent the years 1934-1937 touring with bands. In 1937, they went to New York as part of Leon Belasco's band and while there made their first recordings, albeit under Belasco's name, for Brunswick Records. After the Belasco band broke up that summer, they were signed to Decca Records on their own. Decca had recorded the Boswell Sisters successfully until they broke up in 1935, and the label was on the lookout for a similar group.

The Andrews Sisters' second Decca single, "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," an Anglicized version of a song from the Yiddish theater, became a massive hit. The song made its first appearance on Your Hit Parade on January 8, 1938, and rose to number one two weeks later. The hit established the trio, which began to get extensive radio and personal-appearance work. They returned to the hit parade in April 1939 with their recording of the novelty song "Hold Tight, Hold Tight." In 1940, signed to Universal Pictures, they made the first of a series of low-budget "B" movies, Argentine Nights. (Between 1940-1948, they appeared in 17 films, including lending their voices to two animated features for Disney.) That year, they scored a Top Ten hit on the Billboard chart with "Ferryboat Serenade (La Piccinina)." "I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time," their Top Ten hit of 1941, was featured in their film Buck Privates. Also during the year, they reached the Top 20 with "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

With the U.S. entry into World War II, the Andrews Sisters began appearing frequently at military bases; they later traveled overseas to entertain the troops. Although their recording activity was slowed by the musicians' union strike that began in 1942, they had another Top Ten hit that year with "Strip Polka." When Decca settled with the union in 1943, they embarked on a series of hits, many of them with Bing Crosby. The million-selling "Pistol Packin' Mama," backed with "Vict'ry Polka," was a two-sided hit with Crosby in 1943-1944, then they topped the charts with their own "Shoo-Shoo Baby" in January 1944. Before the end of the year, they and Crosby had gone to number one with the double-sided hit "(There'll Be A) Hot Time in the Town of Berlin (When the Yanks Go Marching In)" and "Is You Is or Is You Ain't (Ma' Baby)," as well as Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In."

The Andrews Sisters premiered their own weekly network radio show, Eight-to-the-Bar Ranch, at the end of 1944 as the hits continued with the calypso song "Rum and Coca-Cola," which went to number one in February 1945, becoming the biggest hit of that year. The group's other Top Ten hits for 1945 were "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" and "Along the Navajo Trail," both with Crosby, and "The Blond Sailor." 1946 found them in the Top Ten with the gold-selling "South America, Take It Away" (with Crosby), "Rumors Are Flying" (accompanied by guitarist Les Paul), and "Christmas Island" (backed by Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians). 1947 brought the Top Ten hits "Tallahassee" (with Crosby), "Near You," and "The Lady From 29 Palms." And in 1948, when they were ranked as the top recording artists of the year, the Andrews Sisters reached the Top Ten with "Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo)" (with Danny Kaye), "Toolie Oolie Doolie (The Yodel Polka)," "Underneath the Arches," and "You Call Everybody Darling."

The Andrews Sisters cooled as a recording act after 1948, as they began to focus on nightclub performing and Patty Andrews became more of a focus of the group as well as launching a concurrent solo recording career. Their next big hit was "I Can Dream, Can't I?," a gold single on which Patty sang lead with her sisters providing backup; it hit number one in January 1950. "I Wanna Be Loved," with the same sort of arrangement, also topped the charts in June. The trio's last Top Ten hit was "Sparrow in the Tree Top," another pairing with Bing Crosby, in 1951. They continued to record for Decca through the end of 1953, at which point Patty Andrews left the group for a solo career while Maxene and LaVerne Andrews continued to perform as the Andrews Sisters. In June 1956, the three reconciled. They recorded for Capitol Records (1956-1959) and Dot Records (1961-1967) without commercial impact. In the fall of 1966, LaVerne Andrews retired from performing due to illness and was replaced by Joyce de Young; she died of cancer the following spring. The Andrews Sisters made their final appearance as a trio in July 1968, after which Maxene Andrews took a job at Lake Tahoe Paradise College of Fine Arts. Patty Andrews returned to her solo career and in 1971 appeared in a musical revue called Victory Canteen in Los Angeles. The revue was then expanded into a book musical and Maxene Andrews was brought in for what became Over Here!. Meanwhile, Bette Midler revived "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" for a Top Ten hit in 1973, bringing two Andrews Sisters compilation albums (The Best of the Andrews Sisters on MCA and Boogie Woogie Bugle Girls on Paramount) into the charts. Over Here! opened on Broadway on March 6, 1974. Its cast album charted, as did another Andrews Sisters compilation (In the Mood on Paramount).

Maxene and Patty Andrews had a falling out with the producers of Over Here!, and with each other, leading to the show's premature closing on January 4, 1975, and the cancellation of a national tour. The two sisters remained estranged from then on, although they made occasional joint appearances and Patty visited the hospital when Maxene suffered a heart attack in 1982. Both sisters maintained solo careers into the 1990s. Maxene Andrews was on a vacation from her role in the off-Broadway musical Swingtime Canteen when she suffered another heart attack and died in the fall of 1995. Patty Andrews, the last of the Andrews Sisters, died at her home in Los Angeles in January 2013; she was 94 years old. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

mgwaltney7
LoVe them
I don't like this song.
tjsmyth9
I loved them in Abott and Cosetello movies !!!!!!!!
When singing was good
Go Sisters!!
hjmunson
Nice.:|
Beautiful voices
allison_proc t o r
Patty died not too long ago, so they are all gone now! :(
hortenciaflo r e s 6 5
Oh no. "Bei mir bist du schön" is written as "Bei mir bistu sheyn". Way to butcher the title and language.
very good
Do you realize that life and reality are nothing more than agreement? Yes they are. If everybody agreed to do The Roman Empire again and we all put on Toga's, Re-built the Coliseum and watched the Gladiators fight on week ends we'd have Rome. And if you listened exclusively to this music, put a Studebaker in the drive way and went out of agreement with computers, cell phones and flat screen TV you could be in the 40's. Actually, it's a little more complicated but you get the idea.
They made a very old cartoon by this title. Check it out on YOUTUBE.
Fantastic Music....... . . . M a k e s the day!!!
millafrid93
My daddy plays them for me. (::)
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually work
R.I.P Patty February 16,1918 - January 30,2013
Fallout 3 !
Love the Andrew's Sisters. I don't even lke seafood but I kind of want some shrimp n rice now lol
This kind of music makes me happy :)
RIP Patty. Loved the Andrews Sisters comedic cinematic turns, too!
keellanna
RIP Patty Andrews, now you and your sisters can make beautiful music together again.
tomthefox
Wonderful song!
Why compliment one wonderful artist at the expense of another? Artists often inspire and influence one another, and as long as there's some originality and creativity on both sides, I see no problem. This was definitely true of The Boswell Sisters and The Andrews Sisters, in my opinion, and I love both groups! :)
Dennis, read the review. They're mentioned twice in the second paragraph.
danafoore
Come on everyone! You've got to discover the Boswell Sisters! The copycat Andrews didn't even come close!
mariongttmnn
Just log on to www/poetrypo e m . c o m / p o e t r y 3 8 7 8 These are short rhyming poems with real meaning. Log on now.
Wow that 17yr old guy can remember all the way back to the 50's from when he was little!
No mention of the Boswell Sisters?
I mostly listen to death/black metal but something about this 1930's-50's style of music makes me happy
kender83
Love the andrews sisters...th e i r performances with glenn miller have to be my faves...♥
amber7112
i love, love this music. all the music from 19-30 till 19-80
sandreatch
I got a taste of their music from Fallout 3, and I haven't looked back since.
I love the Andrew Sisters - I cannot get enough of their music. "Boogie Bugle Boy" is my current ringtone. I do have the bad habit of singing along and grooving to the song before answering my phone. :-)
yahh.whoo
i really love the Andrews Sisters. im 17, but can remember their songs along with Frank Sinatra from when i was younger. :) they are really great.
jwayne9742
If you got it, the good lord gave it to you.
jwayne9742
uncomparable , nothing short of wonderful
bones12x2
I have to thank my Mom for making me listen to great music like Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters. It makes for good variety when I get dizzy from headbanging to my favorite Metal bands! :)
im 77 years old i been listening to the andrews sister all my life, there great
luv2rite22
I'm a very young lady of 28 but I've been listening to The Andrews Sisters since I was a child and I still like listening to them over Hip Hop most times!
Great harmony and big band instrumental s . It's hard to believe they couldn't read music! Today's music can't compare to the talent the big bands and their vocalists had.
I guess I am not as enamored of these gals as everyone else. And yet Pandora keeps playing them every three songs for some reason.
Wow! i love Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy...so amazing! I am in a quartet and we sing it!
im 16 and grew up witj this music and i got the pleasure of performing some of their songs at our theatre's production of a uso show. they are amazing
They are amazing! My favorite Jazz music!
"Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" with Al Jolson is my top fave!
Incredible artist! Can you think of another group to match their strengths and skills in today's word?
My favorite song of The Andrew Sisters is "Rum & Coca-Cola." It reminds me of my father who drank rum and coca-cola often.
t_heath
My Dad used to sing thisto us when we were kids....he had such a terrible voice but what fond memories this brings back.
Although I was born in mid-fifties. I love the Andrews sisters. I wish I had been there during their careers.
Sorry to say only Patti is still with us...
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