Dee Parker

Photo of Dee Parker

The ca­reer of vo­cal­ist Dee Parker is con­fus­ing. There may have been two Dee Parkers—one who sang with Vaughn Monroes or­ches­tra and an­other who sang with Jimmy Dorsey. It’s not com­pletely clear from sources whether they were the same per­son or two dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

The first Parker sang with Monroe from April to August 1944. After leav­ing the band, she worked on Broadway, briefly ap­pear­ing in the mu­si­cal Mexican Hayride be­fore join­ing Star and Garter on the road in Chicago.

In November 1945, the sec­ond Parker joined Dorsey’s band. Reports at the time state that this Parker had been ap­pear­ing as a soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and that she was mar­ried to Michigan Theater Orchestra con­duc­tor and WXYZ mu­si­cal di­rec­tor Phil Brestoff. The same source also states that she had been singing un­der her own name of Del Parker” and would change it to Dee in or­der to avoid con­fu­sion with an­other Del Parker. This would seem to sug­gest a com­pletely dif­fer­ent per­son than the for­mer Monroe vo­cal­ist, yet a week later one re­viewer re­ferred to her as an ex-Vaughn Monroe ca­nary.”

Whatever the con­nec­tion, the sec­ond Parker im­pressed crit­ics. She re­mained with Dorsey through sum­mer 1947, of­ten duet­ing with Bob Carroll. In 1948, she recorded solo on the Mercury la­bel. By 1951, though, Parker had set­tled back in Detroit, where she sang with her hus­band’s or­ches­tra. By 1952, she was ap­pear­ing on Detroit area tele­vi­sion sta­tion WXYZ. Known as Auntie Dee,” she hosted six dif­fer­ent half-hour shows, which each had dif­fer­ent spon­sors, as well as her own 25-minute ra­dio pro­gram. Over the years she pro­moted and show­cased many up-and-com­ing lo­cal singers.

Music

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  • Doin' What Comes Natur'lly
    Jimmy Dorsey (Dee Parker), Decca (1946)
  • Quien Sabe? (Who Knows?)
    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Carroll and Dee Parker), MGM (1947)

All recordings are from the Internet Archive's 78rpm collection. Copyright owners, please see our removal policy.

Sources

  1. Smith, Bill. “On the Stand: Vaughn Monroe.” Billboard 8 Apr. 1944: 20.
  2. “Broadway Showlog.” Billboard 14 Oct. 1944: 21.
  3. “Del Parker Joins J.D. And Becomes Dee Parker.” Billboard 24 Nov. 1945: 17.
  4. “Vaudeville Reviews: Capitol, New York.” Billboard 1 Dec. 1945: 33.
  5. “J.D.'s Booking Agency Hush-Hush.” Billboard 23 Aug. 1947: 40.
  6. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 19 Jun. 1948: 57.
  7. “Music as Written.” Billboard 21 Jul. 1951: 17.
  8. “Detroit Spots Hold to 1951 Gross Level.” Billboard 16 Aug. 1952: 68.
  9. “Music as Written.” Billboard 1 Aug. 1953: 43.