Irene Daye

Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, singer Irene Daye landed her first professional singing job with orchestra leader Dan Murphy shortly before her high school graduation. She flew back to her hometown on graduation night to receive her diploma. She remained with Murphy two-and-a-half years before joining Mal Hallett. Five months after she began with Hallett, bandleader Gene Krupa heard her sing at an engagement in Philadelphia and asked her to try out for his group. When her night’s work with Hallett had ended, she made a 4 a.m. audition and landed the job.

With Krupa, Daye found success, singing on such hit records as “Drum Boogie” and “Drummin’ Man.” She quickly became one of the top vocalists in the country. Daye remained with Krupa from 1938 to 1941, when she quit so that she could travel to the West Coast and marry left-handed trumpeter Corky Cornelius, who had recently left Krupa to join the Casa Loma Orchestra. She then sang for Sam Donahue, who had also recently left Krupa to front his own band again.

After the birth of her daughter in 1943, Daye retired from show business. Sadly, Cornelius passed away from nephritis in August of that year, and Daye returned to singing. She auditioned for Charlie Spivak and was performing with the band by October. With Spivak, Daye found even greater success, making several hit records with the band, including “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home,” “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” “Golden Earrings” and “I’ll Never Say Goodbye.” Daye also found romance. She and Spivak were married in 1950.

In the late 1950s, Spivak and Daye moved to Miami, Florida, where he fronted a small outfit with Daye managing his business affairs. Illness forced him to retire briefly in 1963. After recovering, he led bands in Las Vegas and Miami before organizing another small outfit in 1967 that played regularly at the Ye Olde Fireplace restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina, with Daye as vocalist. Daye battled cancer during the last years of her life, finally losing her fight in 1971, age 53.


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  • Drummin' Man
    Gene Krupa (Irene Daye), Columbia (1939)
  • You Taught Me to Love Again
    Gene Krupa (Irene Daye), Brunswick (1939)
  • Deep in the Blue
    Gene Krupa (Irene Daye), Okeh (1940)
  • Do You Care?
    Sam Donahue (Irene Daye), Bluebird (1941)
  • Drum Boogie
    Gene Krupa (Irene Daye), Columbia (1941)
  • It's Been a Long, Long Time
    Charlie Spivak (Irene Daye), Victor (1945)
  • Tennessee
    Charlie Spivak (Irene Daye), Victor (1947)

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


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  • One Night Stand: Charlie Spivak
    October 1, 1943 (AFRS) 29:31


  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. Walker, Leo. The Wonderful Era of the Great Dance Bands. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1972.
  3. “Collegiate Choice of Female Vocalists.” Billboard 2 May 1942: 21.
  4. “The Final Curtain.” Billboard 21 Aug. 1943: 29.
  5. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 16 Oct. 1943: 16.
  6. “Irene Daye Is Singer in Spivak Orchestra.” The Montreal Gazette 18 Jun. 1945: 2.
  7. Obituary. The Deseret News [Salt Lake City, UT] 3 Nov. 1971: 4A.

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