Jimmy Dorsey

Jimmy Dorsey
  • Born
    February 29, 1904
    Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
  • Died
    June 12, 1957
    New York, New York (age 53)

Though Jimmy Dorsey’s band never reached the heights of his brother Tommy’s orchestra, it far surpassed it in terms of stability and camaraderie. The elder Dorsey became a reluctant bandleader in 1935 after Tommy walked out during a performance of their combined band, upset at a remark Jimmy made as he beat off the tempo to a song. Tommy never came back, and the usually shy and reserved Jimmy, who was always content to be in the background while Tommy led, suddenly found himself having to step up and take over.

The real reason for Tommy’s departure was jealousy. Jimmy was well-liked by almost everyone, a marked difference to his explosive brother, who resented that the musicians’ considered Jimmy their pal but often kept him at arm’s length. Jimmy’s easy-going demeanor was what made his band successful over the long term, but it also kept it from ever reaching the level of greatness achieved by others. He didn’t have the drive or demeanor to push his musicians harder.

Jimmy’s orchestra is probably best remembered for singers Bob Eberly and Helen O’Connell, who topped vocalists polls in the early 1940s. Musically, the band could never decide what style it wanted to play at first, moving between swing, sweet and two-beat jazz, even attempting an opera song at one point. Finally the band’s sound settled down into a swing groove, and by 1943 it had surpassed Tommy’s orchestra, then past its prime, in popularity. Jimmy kept his outfit plugging along, disbanding once but quickly jumping back in again, until 1953, when he and Tommy decided to combine their orchestras and create a new Dorsey Brothers’ band.


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  • Joseph! Joseph!
    Jimmy Dorsey (June Richmond), Decca (1938)
  • I Haven't Changed a Thing
    Jimmy Dorsey (June Richmond), Decca (1938)
  • It's Funny to Everyone But Me
    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Eberly), Decca (1939)
  • Man, That's Groovy
    Jimmy Dorsey (Helen O'Connell), Decca (1941)
  • Tangerine
    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Eberly, Helen O'Connell), Decca (1941)
  • Besame Mucho
    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Eberly, Kitty Kallen), Decca (1943)
  • They're Either Too Young or Too Old
    Jimmy Dorsey (Kitty Kallen), Decca (1943)
  • Sweet Dreams, Sweetheart
    Jimmy Dorsey (Teddy Walters), Decca (1944)
  • Magic Is the Moonlight (Te Quiero Dijiste)
    Jimmy Dorsey (Teddy Walter, Patti Palmer), Decca (1944)
  • Dream
    Jimmy Dorsey (Teddy Walters), Decca (1945)
  • Doin' What Comes Natur'lly
    Jimmy Dorsey (Dee Parker), Decca (1946)
  • If I'm Lucky
    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Carroll), Decca (1946)
  • The Language of Love
    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Carroll), Decca (1946)
  • The Whole World Is Singing My Song
    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Carroll), Decca (1946)
  • Quien Sabe? (Who Knows?)
    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Carroll and Dee Parker), MGM (1947)
  • Time After Time
    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Carroll), MGM (1947)

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


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  • Rubber Dolly
    "Rubber Dolly"
    Jimmy Dorsey (Helen O'Connell)
  • Tangerine
    Jimmy Dorsey and Helen O'Connell (Bob Eberly)
    from the film The Fleet’s In, Paramount (1942)
  • Green Eyes
    "Green Eyes"
    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Eberly, Helen O'Connell)
    from the film The Fabulous Dorseys, United Artists (1947)

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Copyright owners, please see our removal policy.