Peggy Mann

Photo of Peggy Mann
  • Birth Name

    Margaret Germano
  • Born

    September 28, 1918
    Yonkers, New York
  • Died

    August 13, 1988 (age 69)
  • Orchestras

    Larry Clinton
    Henry Halstead
    Johnny Johnson
    Gene Krupa
    Enoch Light
    Ben Pollack
    Teddy Powell
    Harry Wearne

Vocalist Peggy Mann sang for a series of orchestras from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s, though she’s probably best remembered today for the single recording she made with Benny Goodman’s quintet in 1944. Well-liked by critics and audiences, Mann maintained a solid career until the late 1940s. Like many other singers of her era, she was unable to adjust to the changing styles of the post-band period, and she semi-retired in 1949. A comeback attempt in 1953 kept her active through at least the late 1950s.

A native of Yonkers, New York, Mann came from Italian ancestry. According to her official bio, widely circulated in early 1942, she was regarded as a “great child dancing star” in her early years. After graduating high school, she registered with Smith College but then decided to forego higher education to study “voice culture.” When bandleader Ben Pollack was in need of a new female vocalist, her singing teacher recommended her, and she won the job after an audition in late summer 1937.

Mann’s bio, however, stretched the truth in an attempt to make her appear two years younger. She was quite active before joining Pollack’s band and had begun using the stage name Peggy Mann by December 1934. In February 1935, she sang with Harry Wearne and His Blue Lions, and in mid-1935 she had her own fifteen-minute radio show on the Mutual Network. By January 1937, she was with Henry Halstead’s orchestra, where she reportedly received many offers from “top bands” but declined them to stay with Halstead, which she did through at least July of that year. By September, she was with Pollack, making her first recordings that same month.

Rise in Popularity

How long Mann remained with Pollack is unknown, as there is no mention of her with his band other than in September 1937. She later sang with Johnny Johnson’s orchestra before joining Enoch Light at the Hotel Taft in Manhattan at some point prior to November 1938. With Light, she began to make a name for herself, thanks in part to the band’s regular CBS broadcasts. She stayed with Light’s orchestra through at least March 1940, when he finally grew tired of working in the same location night after night and took his band on the road for the first time in two years.

In September 1940, Mann joined Larry Clinton’s orchestra, where she replaced Helen Southern. Singing with Clinton further raised her profile, especially with the younger swing crowd, and she began to be noticed by the press. She remained with Clinton until November 1941 when the leader took a two-week vacation to Bermuda, during which time he didn’t pay his musicians and singers. He lost about half his band, including Mann, who left to join Teddy Powell.

Mann continued to prove popular while with Powell’s band. Powell liked to swing but focused mostly on the hotel circuit, where he had to restrain his tendency to play loud and fast, which matched well with Mann’s style. Mann apparently was happy with the band. In April 1942, she signed a two-year contract. While with the group, in January 1943, she married baritone sax player Larry Molinelli, who was then in the navy playing with Saxie Dowell’s band at Norfolk, Virginia. When her contract with Powell was up in early 1944, she considered leaving but decided to remain. She and Powell made the cover of Down Beat magazine for March 15, 1944.

Post-Band Years

Mann finally left Powell at the end of June 1944 to join Gene Krupa, who had recently organized a new band which included strings, much to the dismay of his earlier fans. The new group struggled, making several disappointing recordings, and Mann left in October to do radio work, starting that month on the NBC program The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, which unfortunately went off the air soon after. Mann was not without work however. Artie Shaw reportedly tried to hire her for his new band, but she turned him down. In December, Columbia Records signed Mann to a contract so that she could record one song with Benny Goodman’s quintet. The label also planned to build her up as a solo artist, sending her to Philadelphia to sing with Johnny Warrington’s band on its popular national broadcasts, though she ultimately did not make any other recordings for Columbia. As part of the build-up, Mann made the cover of Down Beat again on January 15, 1945.[1]

At some point around the beginning of 1945, Mann became the stand-in for Joan Edwards on the popular Your Hit Parade radio program. When Edwards began having trouble with her voice later that year, Mann took over. When Edwards finally returned, still not completely recovered, Mann was required to be present at each broadcast so that she could quickly step in if Edwards couldn’t continue.

Mann’s presence on Your Hit Parade gave her an added publicity boost. In mid-1945, Orpheus Records signed her to sing with Henry King’s orchestra on an early long-playing record, a twelve-inch disc with multiple songs on each side. In November, RCA Victor signed Mann to sing on an album of songs from the Broadway musical Show Boat, backed by Tommy Dorsey’s band.[2] In January 1946, she recorded with Ray McKinley’s orchestra on Majestic. She made a Soundie in early 1946 featuring one of her popular Your Hit Parade songs, “Oh! What It Seemed to Be.” In spring 1946, she joined the RCA Victor show Swing vs. Classics.

After taking time off from radio work in mid-1946 for unspecified reasons, Mann returned to the airwaves in August, appearing as a guest on several programs and once again standing in for Edwards on Your Hit Parade when Edwards went to Hollywood for picture work. When Edwards returned in October, she and Mann shared female vocal duties. Mann became a regular on Frank Sinatra’s radio show later that year and toured theaters in early 1947. She also appeared on Andy Russell’s radio program.

Later Career

Continuing to tour in 1948, Mann sometimes teamed up with Del Courtney’s orchestra, beginning a long association with the bandleader. In 1948, she recorded on Victor with both Russ Case and Eddie Heywood. Her career began to fade as the decade grew towards a close however. An early 1949 review of Mann’s performance at New York’s Paramount Theater described her material as old-fashioned. She semi-retired not long after, moving to San Francisco, where she performed locally with Courtney, with whom she may have been romantically linked. She also appeared on local television during the early 1950s.

In early 1953, Mann recorded with Courtney’s orchestra on the Cavalier label and then signed with Coral as a solo artist, making a comeback attempt. Her recordings failed to catch the public’s ear, and she only sporadically appears in the press beyond that point. In 1955, she made a guest appearance on Johnny Desmond’s radio program, and in 1957 she recorded the album Music for Going Steady with Vic Damone on the Hollywood label. She then disappears. Peggy Mann passed away in 1988 at the age of 69.

Mann reportedly had the unusual hobby of collecting stage money. She possessed several million dollars worth of fake script used in film and theater productions.


  1. Many bios of Mann say she sang for Goodman’s orchestra. She did not. She only worked with Goodman for that single recording. ↩︎

  2. Dorsey at the time was having trouble finding and keeping a female vocalist. ↩︎


  1. Advertisement. “R.K.O. Coliseum Theatre.” The Columbia Spectator [New York, New York] 8 Feb. 1935: 5.
  2. “Capital's Radio Programs.” The Washington, D.C., Evening Star 17 Jun. 1935: B-12.
  3. “Radio Programs.” Chester Times [Chester, Pennsylvania] 29 Aug. 1935: 20.
  4. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 9 Jan. 1937: 14.
  5. “Choice Chunks of Chatter from the Chowder Front.” Down Beat Jul. 1937: 3.
  6. “The Reviewing Stand: Enoch Light.” Billboard 19 Nov. 1938: 13.
  7. “A Little Eyeful.” Down Beat Jan. 1939: 15.
  8. Sampas, Charles. G. “Cavalcade.” The Lowell Sun [Lowell, Massachusetts] 2 Jun. 1939: 15.
  9. “Orchestra Personnels: Enoch Light.” Down Beat Jul. 1939: 18.
  10. “The Reviewing Stand: Enoch Light.” Billboard 9 Dec. 1939: 12.
  11. “Vaudeville Reviews: Paramount, New York.” Billboard 10 Feb. 1940: 23.
  12. “Out in the Cold!” Down Beat 15 Mar. 1940: 2.
  13. Durham and McKee. “Jazz Jottings.” The Gettysburgian [Gettysburg, Pennsylvania] 24 Oct. 1940: 2.
  14. Advertisement. “Larry Clinton.” The Auburn Plainsman [Auburn, Georgia] 8 Nov. 1940: 12.
  15. “Clinton's Band Celebrates.” Down Beat 1 Jan. 1941: 24.
  16. “Night Club Reviews: Hotel Sherman, Panther Room, Chicago.” Billboard 22 Feb. 1941: 20.
  17. “'Not Junking My Band'—Larry Clinton.” Down Beat 15 Oct. 1941: 19.
  18. “The Solder Steals a Kiss.” Down Beat 15 Nov. 1941: 1.
  19. “Peggy Mann for Powell Band.” Down Beat 15 Nov. 1941: 7.
  20. “Larry Clinton To Concentrate On Recordings.” Down Beat 15 Nov. 1941: 15.
  21. “Vaudeville Reviews: Strand, New York.” Billboard 22 Nov. 1941: 22.
  22. Advertisement. “A Jolly Seasonal Greeting from Teddy Powell and His Orchestra.” Down Beat 15 Dec. 1941: 30.
  23. “Powell's Singer Is a Beauty.” The Raleigh Register [Beckley, West Virginia] 21 Jan. 1942: 3.
  24. “'Faz' Pops Up With Powell.” Down Beat 15 Apr. 1942: 1.
  25. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 25 Apr. 1942: 23.
  26. “Navy Sax Player Weds Peggy Mann.” Down Beat 1 Feb. 1943: 11.
  27. Grennard, Ellio. “On the Air: Teddy Powell.” Billboard 27 Mar. 1943: 22.
  28. “Singing Wives Discuss Wedlock.” Down Beat 15 Jun. 1943: 9.
  29. “Vaudeville Reviews: Chicago, Chicago.” Billboard 28 Aug. 1943: 20.
  30. “Five Years Ago This Month.” Down Beat 1 Dec. 1943: 2.
  31. “Your Kiss Autograph.” Down Beat 1 Dec. 1943: 2.
  32. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 1 Feb. 1944: 5.
  33. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 1 Mar. 1944: 5.
  34. “Teddy, Peggy On the Cover.” Down Beat 15 Mar. 1944: 1.
  35. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 15 Jun. 1944: 5.
  36. “Vaudeville Reviews: Capitol, New York.” Billboard 29 Jul. 1944: 26.
  37. “Peggy Mann To Do Solo.” Down Beat 15 Sep. 1944: 1.
  38. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 1 Oct. 1944: 5.
  39. “Shaw Expects To Start New Band In Minneapolis.” Billboard 14 Oct. 1944: 12.
  40. “Ginnie Powell to Gene Krupa Ork.” Down Beat 15 Oct. 1944: 5.
  41. “Columbia Records Farms Out Peggy Mann for Build-Up.” Billboard 18 Nov. 1944: 20.
  42. “Peggy Mann To Net Air Boost.” Down Beat 1 Dec. 1944: 1.
  43. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 1 Dec. 1944: 5.
  44. “Peggy Mann On The Cover.” Down Beat 15 Jan. 1945: 1.
  45. “Two Indies Cutting Multi-Tune Disks.” Billboard 16 Jun. 1945: 16.
  46. “Advance Record Releases.” Billboard 8 Dec. 1945: 30.
  47. “Stand-ins New Air Routine?” Down Beat 14 Jan. 1946: 15.
  48. “Movie Machine Reviews.” Billboard 29 Jan. 1946: 117.
  49. “Busy Peggy.” Down Beat 6 May 1946: 1.
  50. “Music As Written.” Billboard 10 Aug. 1946: 24.
  51. “Peggy Mann Back on Air.” Down Beat 12 Aug. 1946: 2.
  52. “Radio Neglects Music Good Programs Listed.” Down Beat 21 Oct. 1946: 12-13.
  53. “Too Short for a Head.” Billboard 7 Dec. 1946: 10.
  54. “Davis Ork Sags To 24G at Boston.” Billboard 4 Jan. 1947: 23.
  55. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 1 May 1948: 33.
  56. Advertisement. “BMI Pin Up Sheet.” Billboard 5 Jun. 1948: 22.
  57. “Courtney and Mann So Their 'Treasury' Stint.” Down Beat 25 Aug. 1948: 1.
  58. Ronan, Eddie. “On the Sunset Vine.” Down Beat 20 Oct. 1948: 9.
  59. “Vaudeville Reviews: Paramount, New York.” Billboard 2 Apr. 1949: 59.
  60. Gleason, Ralph. J. “Swingin' the Golden Gate.” Down Beat 19 Oct. 1951: 16.
  61. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 27 Aug. 1952: 15.
  62. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 8 Apr. 1953: 3.
  63. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 14 Mar. 1953: 50.
  64. “Music as Written.” Billboard 21 Mar. 1953: 31.
  65. “Peggy Mann Signs Contract With Coral.” Down Beat 22 Apr. 1953: 16-S.
  66. “Today's Radio Highlights.” Wisconsin State Journal [Madison, Wisconsin] 30 Jul. 1955: 1-13.
  67. Advertisement. “Stampler's.” Dubuque Telegraph Herald 23 May 1958: n.p.
  68. “New York, Birth Indexes outside of New York City, 1881-1942,” FamilySearch ( : Sat Mar 09 15:59:51 UTC 2024), Entry for Margaret M Germano, 29 Sep 1918.
  69. “New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957,” FamilySearch ( : Sat Mar 09 18:42:20 UTC 2024), Entry for Peggy Mann, 1935.