Wendy Bishop

Photo of Wendy Bishop

A native of Peoria, Illinois, blonde vocalist Wendy Bishop sang with Cincinnati bandleader Deke Moffitt in early 1939. Moffitt, long popular as an orchestra leader in local theaters, had just formed his first dance band. By April 1939, however, Bishop was with Dick Stabile, leaving by June for Bunny Berigan, where she again stayed only briefly. She married pianist Arturo Arturos, with whose seven-piece Latin combo she also sang in Atlantic City.

After leaving Berigan, Bishop sang with Dick Messner’s orchestra. She was with Eddie Varzos in early February 1940 when she left to become part of Les Brown’s band, replacing Shirley Gaye. As she had with all her other orchestra jobs, she stayed with Brown for only a short time, leaving in July. Doris Day replaced her. In September, Bishop, known to radio audiences as the “Captivating Coed of Song,” was singing with Lang Thompson’s band. By early-1941 she had returned to her husband’s group, where she remained as vocalist through at least the end of 1942.

Striking out on her own, Bishop became a popular staple on the New York night club circuit. In 1946, she made two soundies: Blue Moon for RCM and I Fall in Love With You Every Day with fellow night club singer Johnny Thompson for Soundies. She appeared in Miami clubs during 1948. Critics always complimented Bishop’s voice. Sadly, though, she never entered the recording studio, and her soundies appear to have been lost to history. Modern audiences can only guess how she sounded.

A very pretty girl, Bishop was often the subject of pin-up photos in which she bared her legs. Those photos became a favorite of Down Beat magazine during 1940 and 1941. Down Beat twice gave Bishop’s age as 24 in 1940. She wrote them a letter of correction in August of that year, stating that her true age was 19.

Sources

  1. “The Reviewing Stand: ‘Deke’ Moffitt.” Billboard 18 Mar. 1939: 14.
  2. “Tyro Songwriters Get Big Break on Cincy Sabbath Show.” Down Beat Apr. 1939: 27.
  3. Advertisement. The Sandusky Star-Journal 21 Apr. 1939: 9.
  4. Advertisement. Warren Times-Mirror 21 Jun. 1939: 2.
  5. “Benny Goodman Is Next Show Of Week Feature.” The Bronxville Review-Press [Bronxville, New York] 1 Feb. 1940: 6.
  6. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 10 Feb. 1940: 10.
  7. “On the Down Beat.” The Gettysburgian [Gettysburg, PA] 22 Feb. 1940: 2.
  8. “Bishop Joins Brown.” Down Beat 1 Mar. 1940: 21.
  9. “Stuff's Here.” Down Beat 15 Mar. 1940: 4.
  10. “Orchestra Personnels: Les Brown.” Down Beat 15 Jun. 1940: 14.
  11. “Who's Who in Music: Les Brown's Orchestra.” Down Beat 1 Jul. 1940: 11.
  12. “Doris Day Goes With Les Brown.” Down Beat 15 Aug. 1940: 2.
  13. “Brings Band Here.” The Charleston Daily Mail [Charleston, WV] 14 Sep. 1940: 4.
  14. “Windy Shot.” Down Beat 1 Aug. 1941: 24.
  15. Bishop, Wendy. “More Chords, Discords: Error About Age.” Down Beat 15 Aug. 1941: 11.
  16. “After Dark.” The Washington Evening Star [Washington, DC] 7 Apr. 1942: B-12
  17. “Night Clubs-Vaudeville: Park Central Hotel, Cocoanut Grove, New York.” Billboard 14 Nov. 1942: 13.
  18. “In Short.” Billboard 10 Jun. 1944: 21.
  19. “Night Club Reviews: Leon & Eddie's, New York.” Billboard 17 Jun. 1944: 22.
  20. “Glass Hat, N.Y.” Billboard 12 Aug. 1944: 27.
  21. “Movie Machine Reviews.” Billboard 30 Mar. 1946: 140.
  22. “Movie Machine Reviews.” Billboard 29 Jun. 1946: 117.
  23. “Follow-Up Reviews: Glass Hat, Belmont Plaza Hotel, New York.” Billboard 6 Jul. 1946: 47.
  24. “Night Club Reviews: Glass Hat, Belmont Plaza Hotel, New York.” Billboard 22 Feb. 1947: 36.
  25. “It Begins To Dawn on Miami The Cocoanut's Over-Sized.” Billboard 14 Feb. 1948: 4.