Performance Reviews

Friends of Ballroom Dancing

You won our big band survey in 2001, edging out the Glenn Miller Orchestra from prior years. Congratulations!

-- Skip Jones, President FOBD


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My Favorite band is Sammy Kaye!

Sammy Kaye is my favorite when it comes to having a band swing and be sweet and sentimental too. I also enjoy hearing Sammy Kaye's theme song woven into every arrangement. Next time you see or hear the band listen for it. Many people have the impression that the big band like Glenn Miller, Dorsey, Goodman were just into swing but they recorded more ballads than swing tunes! Sammy recorded over 700 records for Vocalion, RCA and Columbia Records. He has made more recordings than any other big band in that category. His voice is heard on almost every recording as he introduces musically the title of the song or the artist that is about to sing it. The Kaydets were and still are the vocal group of the orchestra.

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My favorite Sammy Kaye Hits

I think one of the cutest Sammy Kaye hits and one of his earliest was "The Umbrella Man" recorded in 1938! Of course one has over 700 Kaye recordings to choose from but the public has given its vote to these favorites: "Daddy" 1941, "Another You" 1942, "Old Lamp lighter" 1946, "Harbor Lights" 1950, "It Isn't Fair" 1951 with the vocal by Don Cornell, 1972 "Red Sails in the Sunset."

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So You Want To Lead A Band?!

It was at the Commodore Hotel in New York City in the early forties that Sammy's popular musical contest "So You Want To Lead A Band" was started. One night a young man and his date danced by Sammy and the young man called out, "I could lead the band its not that hard." Sammy said if he would let him dance with the fellows girl he would let him lead the band. The rest is history. It was such a success that Sammy started doing it each night with 3-4 contestants coming up to lead the band. Each contestant received an engraved Sammy Kaye autographed conductors baton and the winner was chosen by the audience applause. It finally became part of his radio, stage and television shows. An applause meter was added to leave no room for mistakes in deciding who the winner of the contest was. It became "in thing" to have said you lead the Sammy Kaye band! Movie stars, radio personalities and even presidents led the band and received their coveted baton. Sammy would never give a baton to anyone unless they earned it by leading the the band. The Sammy Kaye Orchestra still does "So You Want To Lead A Band" and contestants from years ago come up to the band with batons that they have saved from their once in a lifetime chance to LEAD A BAND!