Terry Allen

Nothing is written about vocalist Terry Allen’s early life. Allen first appears in the historical record in early 1938, when he joined Red Norvo’s orchestra, working alongside famed singer Mildred Bailey, who was also Norvo’s wife. Allen remained with Norvo after the band reorganized at the end of 1938, and when Bailey left the orchestra for health reasons in early January 1939 Allen became sole vocalist.

Norvo’s band went through a rough period in summer 1939, and Norvo put the group on hiatus that August. Allen then joined Larry Clinton, where he stayed until becoming part of Will Bradley’s orchestra in January 1941. When Bradley’s co-leader, Ray McKinley, left the group in January 1942, Allen remained with Bradley.

Bradley decided to give up leading his orchestra for health reasons in June 1942, and he offered Allen the job of fronting it. Allen turned him down and instead joined Claude Thornhill, where he replaced Dick Harding. Allen stayed only a couple of months with Thornhill before joining Hal McIntyre’s orchestra. Allen soon fell victim to the draft, however, leaving in October for the Navy. He was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, where he sang with Saxie Dowell’s naval band.

Allen apparently suffered an injury or affliction in 1944 as he spent two-and-a-half months in the hospital before being given an honorable discharge mid-year. Reports suggested he would form his own band. He instead joined Johnny Long’s orchestra, though he did not stay. He earned his own daily CBS radio program in September and became a regular performer at the famous Stage Door Canteen.

Allen recorded for the Atlantic label in 1948, singing film composer David Broekman’s “Jade Green,” an experimental, exotic tune. He continued singing into the 1950s.


  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. The Online Discographical Project. Accessed 27 Jul. 2015.
  3. “'Illness Split Ork', Says Norvo.” Down Beat Jan. 1939: 2.
  4. “Terry Allen Changes.” Down Beat Sep. 1939: 13.
  5. “F. Leary Junks Horn to Sing.” Down Beat 15 Nov. 1939: 4.
  6. “New Recordings Are Announced.” Berkeley Daily Gazette 4 Sep. 1940: 8.
  7. “Butch Stone, Carroll Join Larry Clinton.” Down Beat 1 Feb. 1941: 12.
  8. Gum, Coburn. “On the Records.” St. Petersburg Times 1 Jun. 1941.
  9. “Separate Bands for Will and Ray.” Billboard 31 Jan. 1942: 9.
  10. “Here's That New Will Bradley Band.” Down Beat 15 Apr. 1942: 3.
  11. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 27 Jun. 1942: 21.
  12. “Will Bradley Drops Band.” Down Beat 1 Jul. 1942: 3.
  13. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 8 Aug. 1942: 23.
  14. “McIntyre Has New Boy Singer.” Down Beat 15 Nov. 1942: 2.
  15. “Saxie Dowell Defends Bands in the Service.” Down Beat 1 Jan. 1943: 11.
  16. “Music Grapevine.” Billboard 5 Aug. 1944: 16.
  17. “T. Allen, Ex-Gob, With Long.” Billboard 26 Aug. 1944: 16.
  18. “Music Grapevine.” Billboard 16 Sep. 1944: 19.
  19. “Terry Allen Grabs Weekly Air Show.” Down Beat 1 Oct. 1944: 13.
  20. “Music Grapevine.” Billboard 7 Oct. 1944: 20.
  21. “Premature Singling and Fronting Hurts Chirps, Sideman, Say Handlers.” Billboard 2 Mar. 1946: 16.
  22. “The Wax Works.” St. Petersburg Times 28 Nov. 1948: n. pag.
  23. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 18 Dec. 1948: 35.
  24. Niccoli, Ria A.“Dixie Gets Daily Radio Airing.” Down Beat 23 Mar. 1951: 4.