After his discharge from the Navy in 1945, former Glenn Miller saxophonist and singer Tex Beneke was recruited by Miller’s widow to lead his former employer’s Army Air Force orchestra when it returned to the states. He readily accepted, and the group, billed as Tex Beneke and the Miller Orchestra, made their first civilian performance in January 1946. The band quickly became one of the most popular in the country, charting many hits over the next few years and playing to record-breaking crowds. Vocalists included Lillian Lane, Garry Stevens, Artie Malvin and Beneke himself. The Crew Chiefs, Miller’s wartime vocal group also sang as did vocal groups the Moonlight Serenaders and the Mello Larks.
Beneke, however, was not content with the restrictions placed upon him by Miller’s estate. He was forced to stick with Miller’s original and wartime books and allowed no innovation. He felt that Miller’s sound was capable of being expanded upon and often argued that Miller himself had planned to explore new directions after the war.
Finally in December 1950, Beneke broke his official ties with Miller, continuing on with the band under his own name. Numerous changes in the line-up made it an almost entirely new outfit. The orchestra remained highly popular for many years. Members of note include vocalist Eydie Gorme and arranger Henry Mancini.
See Tex Beneke’s entry as a vocalist for a more complete biography.
Give Me Five Minutes More
Tex Beneke and the Miller Orchestra (Tex Beneke), RCA Victor (1946)
Uncle Remus Said
Tex Beneke and the Miller Orchestra (Lillian Lane and vocal group), RCA Victor (1946)
Tex Beneke and the Miller Orchestra (Garry Stevens), Victor (1947)