24 April 2018 Phantom Dancer – Bea Wain First To Record ‘Over The Rainbow’

You’ll hear some very loving and touching words on today’s Phantom Dancer.

The Phantom Dancer, presented every week by actor, Greg Poppleton, Australia’s only authentic 1920s-30s singer goes live from 107.3 2SER Sydney every Tuesday after the noon news.

It’s your non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV sent to 22 radio stations of the Community Radio Network and online.

Hear this week’s Phantom Dancer (after 24 April), and past Phantom Dancers, online at radio 2ser.com

In the mix this week, live 1930s-60s radio by Bob Crosby, Sammy Kaye, Al Trace, Larry Clinton and Bea Wain. See the full play list below.


“Beautiful, Bea Wain, beautiful.”

Who’s Bea Wain? She’s one of the greatest singers of the Swing Era and my absolute favourite.

Who said those words? You’ll hear them on today’s Phantom Dancer in the Bea Wain set, incidentally.

It was Andre Baruch, award-winning network radio announcer, who said them spontaneously as the announcer for the 1939 ‘Your Hit Parade’ after Bea Wain sang, ‘O, You Crazy Moon’.

They were married in 1938 and remained together until his death 53 years later. Bea Wain died last August aged 100.


Bea Wain began singing on local radio at age six. She lived in the Bronx. Her accent disappeared when she sang. She had four No. 1 hits. And she never had a singing lesson.

She also had her name shortened from Beatrice to Bea by some unknown radio exec, to save space on record labels.

Quoting from her New York Times obituary,
“I never wanted anybody to teach me how to sing,” she said in an interview with Sara Fishko for the New York public radio station WNYC in 2013. “I had piano, elocution and dancing lessons, but never singing lessons.”

And she went on to sing professionally past the age of 90.


Was a big band arranger and in 1938 was forming a swing band with big RCA – NBC promotion. You’ll hear the band broadcasting ‘The RCA Campus Club’ from the Glen island Casino on today’s Phantom Dancer. The singer he hired to front this important band was Bea Wain.

How’d he find her.

She was in the chorus for the Kate Smith Radio Show. She stepped forward for an eight bar solo. That was enough for Clinton. She was hired. Again quoting from her NYT obit:

“The impeccable Wain never fails to captivate us as Clinton’s brassmen play natty little curlicues around her,” Will Friedwald wrote in his book “Jazz Singing: America’s Great Voices From Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond” (1990).Bea wain


In 1939 Billboard magazine’s college poll voted her the most popular female vocalist. Ella Fitzgerald was second.

In 1938 she was the first to record ‘Over The Rainbow’ from the film, ‘The Wizard of Oz’. MGM, which owned the rights, stopped the record from being issued until after the film, and Judy Garland’s version (who sang it in the movie) was released.

Wain’s ‘Over The Rainbow’ is the Phantom Dancer Video of the Week. It’s interesting to hear the first-ever version, totally untouched by Garland’s version.

Wain said in a 1988 interview, that when Helen O’Connell, a fellow big band singer, was asked how it felt to be a part of music history, she replied, “If I knew it was history, we would have paid more attention.”


In a short recording career of just a few years (she got tired of touring and the poor recording fees and rarely made records after 18 months with the Clinton band), Bea Wain had four hit records, all with Larry Clinton’s Orchestra .
1. Heart and Soul, which she introduced in the short ‘A Song is Born’ announced by Andre Baruch
2. Deep Purple
3. Cry, Baby, Cry
4. My Reverie, an up-tempo version of the Debussy piano piece ‘Reverie’ with lyrics by Larry Clinton.

‘My Reverie’ became Bea Wain’s theme song but, quoting from her New York Times obituary, “it was almost scrapped when Debussy’s heirs learned, to their horror, that the music had been adapted for a pop audience with a brisk tempo and lyrics.

But when Larry Clinton sent them his recording, Wain recalled, they replied, “If this girl sings it, O.K”


After the World War Two, during which Bea Wain sung in Army Camps and her husband, Andre Baruch served overseas, the couple became ‘Mr and Mrs Music,’ a daily program on WMCA, New York, on which they doubled as disc jockeys and interviewers.

bea wain and andre baruch


They continued on radio when they moved to Palm Springs in 1973 and retired from being DJs in 1980.

After that, Bea Wain sang on TV and in clubs, (there’s a 1983 TV medley of her 1938-39 hits on YouTube).

Quoting from the Wiki article on Wain, she told Christopher Popa in a 2004 interview, “Actually, I’ve had a wonderful life, a wonderful career. And I’m still singing, and I’m still singing pretty good. This past December, I did a series of shows in Palm Springs, California, and the review said, “Bea Wain is still a giant.” It’s something called Musical Chairs. I did six shows in six different venues, and I was a smash. And I really got a kick out of it.”


Your Phantom Dancer Video of the Week the first recording of ‘Over The Rainbow’ sung by Bea Wain in 1938 but not released until after the ‘Wizard of Oz’ (in which the song features) came out in 1939. Enjoy this original take wholly uninfluenced by Judy Garland…

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #313

107.3 2SER Tuesday 24 April 2018
After the 2SER 12 noon news, 12:04 – 2:00pm (+10 hours GMT)
National Program:
ArtSoundFM Canberra Sunday 7 – 8pm
and early morning on 22 other stations.

Set 1
Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye
Theme + Elmers Tune
Sammy Kaye Orchestra (voc) The Three Kaydettes
‘Spotlight Bands’
Washington DC
Blue Network
31 Jan 1942
Ad + It’s a Great Feeling
Sammy Kaye Orchestra (voc) The Kaydettes
‘Sammy Kaye Showreel’
Radio Transcription
Medley: How Deep is the Ocean? + I’m In The Mood For Love + Avalon + Close
Sammy Kaye Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Hotel Astor Roof
New York City
AFRS Re-broadcast
27 Aug 1945
Set 2
Bob Crosby
Open + Mama Why Don’t You Dance With Me
Bob Crosby and The Modernaires (voc) Jerry Gray Orchestra
‘Club 15’
25 Nov 1947
Don’t Forget Tonight Tomorrow
Bob Crosby (voc) Bob Crosby Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Hollywood Palladium
AFRS Re-broadcast
27 Aug 1945
Muskrat Ramble
Bob Crosby Bobcats
‘Marine Corp Show’
Radio Transcription
Set 3
WGN Parade of Bands Home Recordings
Open + Isn’t It Romantic
Al Trace and his Shuffle Rhythm
‘WGN Parade of Bands’
Blackhawk Restaurant
WGN Chicago
c 1950
Marie + Linger Awhile
Ted Fio Rito Orchestra
‘WGN Parade of Bands’
Chez Paree
WGN Chicago
c 1950
Bella Bella Marie + Medley: In My Dreams + I Love You So Much It Hurts
Jimmy Featherstone Orchestra (voc) JF and Peggy Murdoch
‘WGN Parade of Bands’
Walnut Room
Bismarck Hotel
WGN Chicago
c 1950
Set 4
Bea Wain
East of the Sun
Bea Wain (voc) Larry Clinton Orchestra
‘RCA Campus Club’
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle NY
2 Jul 1938
Try, Try Again
Bea Wain and Band (voc) Larry Clinton Orchestra
‘RCA Campus Club’
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle NY
2 Jul 1938
Oh, You Crazy Moon
Bea Wain
‘Your Hit Parade’
7 Oct 1939
Set 5
Swing Trumpet Stars on Ballads
Cirribirribin (theme) + You’re In Love With Someone Else
Harry James Orchestra (voc) Helen Forrest
Hotel Astor Roof
28 Aug 1942
Oh What It Seemed To Be
Erskine Hawkins Orchestra (voc) Jimmy Mitchell
‘One Night Stand’
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln NY
AFRS Re-broadcast
1 May 1946
Goodnight, Good Neighbour
Charlie Spivak Orchestra (voc) Irene Daye
‘One Night Stand’
Century Room
Hotel Commodore NY
AFRS Re-broadcast
25 Feb 1945
Henry Busse Orchestra (voc) Carl Grayson
Radio Transcription
Set 6
Hal Kemp and Skinnay Ennis Sells Beauty Creme
When Summer Is Gone (theme) + You’ve Got Me Crying Again
Hal Kemp Orchestra (voc) Skinnay Ennis
‘Lavena Program’
Radio Transcription
New York City
Last Year’s Girl
Hal Kemp Orchestra (voc) Skinnay Ennis
‘Lavena Program’
Radio Transcription
New York City
It’s Only A Paper Moon + Ad
Hal Kemp Orchestra (voc) Skinnay Ennis
‘Lavena Program’
Radio Transcription
New York City
I Couldn’t Tell Them What To Do
Hal Kemp Orchestra (voc) Skinnay Ennis
‘Lavena Program’
Radio Transcription
New York City
Set 7
1950s-60s Radio Swing Bands
One O’Clock Jump + Blee Blop Blues
Count Basie Orchestra
‘Stars in Jazz’
14 Jan 1953
Cohn’s Alley
Woody Herman’s Third Herd
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Peony park
Song of India
Dorsey Brothers’ Orchestra
Cafe Rouge
Hotel Statler
Dec 1955
Flashback From The Future
Duke Ellington Orchestra
24 Oct 1965
Set 8
Mickey Mouse Bands Live and Transcribed
Romance (theme) + We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye
Ray Herbeck and his Music with Romance Orchestra (voc) Lorraine Benson
Trianon Ballroom
WGN Chicago
24 Nov 1947
I’ll See You In My dreams
Jan Garber Orchestra
Radio Transcription
Would It Make Any Difference To You?
Carl Ravazza Orchestra (voc) CR
Radio Transcription
Can’t We Be Friends?
Johnny Mesner Orchestra
Radio Transcription
New York City

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