February 16th, 1918 to January 30th013
February 16th, 1918 to January 30th013
Maxene, Patty, LaVerne
Participants of the World War II era are slowly fading.
"Patty Andrews Dead: Last Surviving Member Of The Andrews Sisters Dies At 94"
January 30th, 2013
The Huffington Post
Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the singing Andrews Sisters trio whose hits such as the rollicking "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" and the poignant "I Can Dream, Can't I?" captured the home-front spirit of World War II, died Wednesday. She was 94.
Andrews died of natural causes at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge, said family spokesman Alan Eichler in a statement.
Patty was the Andrews in the middle, the lead singer and chief clown, whose raucous jitterbugging delighted American servicemen abroad and audiences at home.
She could also deliver sentimental ballads like "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time" with a sincerity that caused hardened GIs far from home to weep.
"When I was a kid, I only had two records and one of them was the Andrews Sisters. They were remarkable. Their sound, so pure," said Bette Midler, who had a hit cover of "Bugle Boy" in 1973. "Everything they did for our nation was more than we could have asked for. This is the last of the trio, and I hope the trumpets ushering (Patty) into heaven with her sisters are playing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."
From the late 1930s through the 1940s, the Andrews Sisters produced one hit record after another, beginning with "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" in 1937 and continuing with "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar," `'Rum and Coca-Cola" and more. They recorded more than 400 songs and sold over 80 million records, several of them going gold.
Other sisters, notably the Boswells, had become famous as singing acts, but mostly they huddled before a microphone in close harmony. The Andrews Sisters – LaVerne, Maxene and Patty – added a new dimension. During breaks in their singing, they cavorted about the stage in rhythm to the music.
Their voices combined with perfect synergy. As Patty remarked in 1971: "There were just three girls in the family. LaVerne had a very low voice. Maxene's was kind of high, and I was between. It was like God had given us voices to fit our parts."
Kathy Daris of the singing Lennon Sisters recalled on Facebook late Wednesday that the Andrews Sisters "were the first singing sister act that we tried to copy. We loved their rendition of songs, their high spirit, their fabulous harmony."
The Andrews Sisters' rise coincided with the advent of swing music, and their style fit perfectly into the new craze. They aimed at reproducing the sound of three harmonizing trumpets.
"I was listening to Benny Goodman and to all the bands," Patty once remarked. "I was into the feel, so that would go into my own musical ability. I was into swing. I loved the brass section."
Unlike other singing acts, the sisters recorded with popular bands of the `40s, fitting neatly into the styles of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Bob Crosby, Woody Herman, Guy Lombardo, Desi Arnaz and Russ Morgan. They sang dozens of songs on records with Bing Crosby, including the million-seller "Don't Fence Me In." They also recorded with Dick Haymes, Carmen Miranda, Danny Kaye, Al Jolson, Jimmy Durante and Red Foley.
The Andrews' popularity led to a contract with Universal Pictures, where they made a dozen low-budget musical comedies between 1940 and 1944. In 1947, they appeared in "The Road to Rio" with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.
The trio continued until LaVerne's death in 1967. By that time the close harmony had turned to discord, and the sisters had been openly feuding.
Midler's cover of "Bugle Boy" revived interest in the trio. The two survivors joined in 1974 for a Broadway show, "Over Here!" It ran for more than a year, but disputes with the producers led to the cancellation of the national tour of the show, and the sisters did not perform together again.
Patty continued on her own, finding success in Las Vegas and on TV variety shows. Her sister also toured solo until her death in 1995.
Her father, Peter Andrews, was a Greek immigrant who anglicized his name of Andreus when he arrived in America; his wife, Olga, was a Norwegian with a love of music. LaVerne was born in 1911, Maxine (later Maxene) in 1916, Patricia (later Patty, sometimes Patti) in 1918.
All three sisters were born and raised in the Minneapolis area, spending summers in Mound, Minn., on the western shores of Lake Minnetonka, about 20 miles west of Minneapolis.
Listening to the Boswell Sisters on radio, LaVerne played the piano and taught her sisters to sing in harmony; neither Maxene nor Patty ever learned to read music. All three studied singers at the vaudeville house near their father's restaurant. As their skills developed, they moved from amateur shows to vaudeville and singing with bands.
After Peter Andrews moved the family to New York in 1937, his wife, Olga, sought singing dates for the girls. They were often turned down with comments such as: "They sing too loud and they move too much." Olga persisted, and the sisters sang on radio with a hotel band at $15 a week. The broadcasts landed them a contract with Decca Records.
They recorded a few songs, and then came "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," an old Yiddish song for which Sammy Cahn and Saul Kaplan wrote English lyrics. (The title means, "To Me You Are Beautiful.") It was a smash hit, and the Andrews Sisters were launched into the bigtime.
Their only disappointment was the movies. Universal was a penny-pinching studio that ground out product to fit the lower half of a double bill. The sisters were seldom involved in the plots, being used for musical interludes in film with titles such as "Private Buckaroo," `'Swingtime Johnny" and "Moonlight and Cactus."
Their only hit was "Buck Privates," which made stars of Abbott and Costello and included the trio's blockbuster "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B."
In 1947, Patty married Martin Melcher, an agent who represented the sisters as well as Doris Day, then at the beginning of her film career. Patty divorced Melcher in 1949 and soon he became Day's husband, manager and producer.
Patty married Walter Weschler, pianist for the sisters, in 1952. He became their manager and demanded more pay for himself and for Patty. The two other sisters rebelled, and their differences with Patty became public. Lawsuits were filed between the two camps.
"We had been together nearly all our lives," Patty explained in 1971. "Then in one year our dream world ended. Our mother died and then our father. All three of us were upset, and we were at each other's throats all the time."
Patty Andrews is survived by her foster daughter, Pam DuBois, a niece and several cousins. Weschler died in 2010.
"Patty Andrews, last surviving member of The Andrews Sisters, dead at 94"
Dominant 'girl group' had more than 90 chart hits themselves and two dozen more with Bing Crosby.
January 31st, 2013
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the greatest "girl group" of all time, died Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94.
The Andrews Sisters, who included Patty, Maxene and Laverne, were the dominant female vocal group of the mid-20th century, scoring more than 90 chart hits themselves and two dozen more with their frequent singing partner, Bing Crosby.
Their close harmony style influenced dozens of subsequent groups and singers, from the McGuire Sisters and the Pointer Sisters to En Vogue, Bette Midler and Christina Aguilera.
Their songs became standards of the era, often associated with World War II.
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," later recorded by Midler and others, was a wartime classic. Their other most popular songs included "Bie Mir Bist Du Schon," "Rum and Coca Cola," "Ferryboat Serenade,"
"Shoo Shoo Baby," "I Can Dream, Can't I?" and "I Wanna Be Loved."
Their No. 1 hits with Crosby included "Don't Fence Me In" and "Hot Time In the Old Town of Berlin."
They sold an estimated 100 million records over their career, and were noted for their versatility.
They could sing close harmony ballads, but also country-style tunes, jazz and swing. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" is widely considered one of the first songs in the style that after World War II would be known as rhythm and blues.
The sisters also appeared in 17 movies, many of them low-budget musicals, but also including "The Road to Rio."
All three sisters were born to an immigrant family in Mound, Minn. They formed a singing group when Laverne was 14, Maxene was 9 and Patty 7, with Patty as the lead singer.
Their early models included the popular Boswell Sisters, and their successful shows at local theaters eventually propelled them to greater success on the road.
They became radio, stage and touring fixtures during the War, and continued performing together until 1951, when Patty left for a solo career without notifying Maxene or Laverne.
This led to a bitter two-year battle that also involved their parents' estate, and reflected the fact the sisters had not always gotten along as well off-stage as they did while performing.
They reunited in 1956 and performed together for the next decade. Their final date together came on the "Dean Martin Show," Sept. 27, 1966. Laverne died of cancer the following year.
Maxene and Patty performed together for a while after Laverne's death, but then split for good in the early 1970s. Maxene continued as a solo artist until her death in 1995 and Patty also performed as a soloist for many years.
They only had a few brief reunions over the years, and Maxene said shortly before her death that her estrangement from Patty was one of her few regrets.
Patty Andrews was married to Terry Melcher for two years, 1947-1949. She married the group's pianist, Walter Weschler, in 1951, and they remained married until his death in 2010.
"Patty Andrews, Singer With Her Sisters, Is Dead at 94"
January 30th, 2013
The New Yorl Times
Patty Andrews, the last of the Andrews Sisters, the jaunty vocal trio whose immensely popular music became part of the patriotic fabric of World War II America, died on Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94.
Lynda Wells, a niece, confirmed the death.
With their jazzy renditions of songs like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B),” “Rum and Coca-Cola” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me),” Patty, Maxene and LaVerne Andrews sold war bonds, boosted morale on the home front, performed withBing Crosby and with theGlenn Miller Orchestra, made movies and entertained thousands of American troops overseas, for whom the women represented the loves and the land the troops had left behind.
Patty, the youngest, was a soprano and sang lead; Maxene handled the high harmony; and LaVerne, the oldest, took the low notes. They began singing together as children; by the time they were teenagers they made up an accomplished vocal group. Modeling their act on the commercially successful Boswell Sisters, they joined a traveling revue and sang at county fairs and in vaudeville shows. Their big break came in 1937 when they were signed by Decca Records, but their first recording went nowhere.
Their second effort featured the popular standard “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” but it was the flip side that turned out to be pure gold. The song was a Yiddish show tune, “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (Means That You’re Grand),” with new English lyrics bySammy Cahn, and the Andrews Sisters’ version, recorded in 1937, became the top-selling record in the country.
Other hits followed, and in 1940 they were signed by Universal Pictures. They appeared in more than a dozen films during the next seven years — sometimes just singing, sometimes also acting. They made their film debut in “Argentine Nights,” a 1940 comedy that starred the Ritz Brothers, and the next year appeared in three films with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello:“Buck Privates,” “In the Navy”and “Hold That Ghost.” Their film credits also include “Swingtime Johnny” (1943), “Hollywood Canteen” (1944) and the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby comedy “Road to Rio” (1947).
After selling more than 75 million records, the Andrews Sisters broke up in 1953 when Patty decided to go solo. By 1956 they were together again, but musical tastes were changing and they found it hard to adapt. When LaVerne Andrews died of cancer in 1967, no suitable replacement could be found, and Patty and Maxene soon went their separate ways. Patty continued to perform solo, and Maxene joined the staff of a private college in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Patricia Marie Andrews was born on Feb. 16, 1918, in Minneapolis. Her father, Peter, was a Greek immigrant who changed his name from Andreos to Andrews when he came to America. Her mother, Olga, was Norwegian.
Like her older sisters, Patty learned to love music as a child (she also became a good tap dancer), and she did not have to be persuaded when Maxene suggested that the sisters form a trio in 1932. She was 14 when they began to perform in public.
As their fame and fortune grew, the sisters came to realize that the public saw them as an entity, not as individuals. In a 1974 interview with The New York Times, Patty explained what that was like: “When our fans used to see one of us, they’d always ask, ‘Where are your sisters?’ Every time we got an award, it was just one award for the three of us.” This could be irritating, she said with a touch of exasperation: “We’re not glued together.”
The Andrews Sisters re-entered the limelight in the early 1970s when Bette Midler released her own recording of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” modeled closely on theirs. It reached the Top 10, and its success led to several new compilations of the Andrews Sisters’ own hits.
The previous year, Patty Andrews had appeared in a West Coast musical called “Victory Canteen,” set during World War II. When the show was rewritten for Broadway and renamed “Over Here!,” the producers decided that the Andrews Sisters were the only logical choice for the leads. They hired Patty and lured Maxene back into show business as well. The show opened in March 1974 and was the sisters’ belated Broadway debut. It was also the last time they sang together.
The sisters got into a bitter money dispute with the producers and with each other, leading to the show’s closing in January 1975 and the cancellation of plans for a national tour. After that, the sisters pursued solo careers into the 1990s. They never reconciled and were still estranged when Maxene Andrews died in 1995.
Patty Andrews’s first marriage, to the movie producer Marty Melcher, lasted two years and ended in divorce in 1949. (Mr. Melcher later married Doris Day.) In 1951 she married Wally Weschler, who had been the sisters’ pianist and conductor and who later became her manager. They had no children. Mr. Weschler died in 2010. Ms. Andrews is survived by her foster daughter, Pam DuBois.
A final salute to the Andrews Sisters came in 1991 in the form of “Company B,” a ballet by the choreographer Paul Taylor subtitled “Songs Sung by the Andrews Sisters.” The work, which featured nine of the trio’s most popular songs, including “Rum and Coca-Cola” and, of course, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” underscored the enduring appeal of the three sisters from Minneapolis.
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Of Company B
I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time
In The Mood
Rum and Coca Cola
The Andrews Sisters [Wikipedia]
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy [Wikipedia]