Louise Tobin

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Vocalist Louise Tobin grew up in the Denton, Texas, area and began singing in high school. She later won a contest at the local Dallas CBS radio affiliate. She was doing nightclub work in late 1938 when musicians from Benny Goodman’s band heard her sing and later recommended her to their boss. Goodman subsequently signed Tobin in the middle of next year to replace the departing Martha Tilton. She stayed with Goodman only a few months, working with Bobby Hackett later in 1939. She also appeared with Will Bradley in 1940 and Jack Jenney. By the early 1940s, she’d settled into radio work.

Tobin was the wife of trumpeter and bandleader Harry James, who didn’t feel comfortable with his spouse working for him. She reportedly called his attention to singer Frank Sinatra, whom she heard on the radio. In 1943, she obtained a quick Mexican divorce from James when she learned that he’d become “engaged” to actress Betty Grable, whom he’d met while working on the film Springtime in the Rockies. She then took their children and returned home to Texas.

Tobin returned to band work in late 1945, performing with Emil Coleman’s orchestra in a soundie for RCM. She then recorded as vocalist with Tommy Jones and His Orchestra on Sterling in 1946 and joined Ziggy Elman’s orchestra in 1948, staying with the band until at least 1951. In 1954, she recorded solo for the MGM label.

In 1967, Tobin married clarinetist Peanuts Hucko, with whose various groups she sang and recorded. The couple moved to Denver in the 1970s, where they operated a nightclub. They later settled in her native Texas, living in Denton. In 1987, the couple assumed leadership of the Benny Goodman Alumni Orchestra, with whom Tobin sang and toured.


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  • There'll Be Some Changes Made
    Benny Goodman (Louise Tobin), Columbia (1939)
  • Love Never Went to College
    Benny Goodman (Louise Tobin), Columbia (1939)
  • I Didn't Know What Time It Was
    Benny Goodman (Louise Tobin), Columbia (1939)
  • Scatter Brain
    Benny Goodman (Louise Tobin), Columbia (1939)
  • One Sweet Letter from You
    Benny Goodman (Louise Tobin), Columbia (1939)
  • Sunny Disposish
    Ziggy Elman (Louise Tobin), MGM (1951)

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  • Just One of Those Things
    "Just One of Those Things"
    Emil Coleman (Louis Tobin)
    RCM (1945)

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  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. “Wife Jean Parker Hasn't Settled Down.” The Sunday Morning Star [Wilmington, DE] 23 Oct. 1948: 38.
  3. “Goodman Signs Sepia Vocalist.” The Washington Afro-American 13 May 1939: 10.
  4. Dodson, Nell. “Spotlight.” The Afro-American [Baltimore, MD] 27 May 1939: 11.
  5. "Billie Holiday Garners Wax Honors of the Week,: The Afro-American [Baltimore, MD] 21 Sep. 1940: 14.
  6. “Bowling Comfort.” St. Petersburg, Times 7 Mar. 1942: 10.
  7. “Orchestra Leader Makes Settlement with Former Wife.” The Evening Independent [St. Petersburg, FL] 14 Oct. 1944: 3.
  8. “Movie Machine Reviews.” Billboard 15 Dec. 1945: 82.
  9. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 20 Apr. 1946: 33.
  10. “On the Stand: Ziggy Elman.” Billboard 11 Sep. 1948: 37.
  11. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 10 Nov. 1951: 94.
  12. “Reviews of New Pop Records.” Billboard 27 Nov. 1954: 40.
  13. “King of the Clarinet and Jazz Five Reminisce.” Ocala Star-Banner 9 Nov. 1976: 9A.
  14. de Yampert, Rick. “Musicians Play Tribute to Band Leader.” The News-Journal [Daytona Beach, FL] 31 Jan. 1992: 1D.
  15. de Yampert, Rick. “Vocalist Says Swing Finding a New Audience.” The News-Journal [Daytona Beach, FL] 31 Jan. 1992: 1D.
  16. Shelton, Keith. “Big Band is Back.” Grapevine Sun [Grapevine, Texas] 13 Jan. 1994: 1B.
  17. “Obituary: Peanuts Hucko.” Sarasota Herald-Tribune 25 Jun. 2003: 5.

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