Big Noise from Winnetka

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"Big Noise from Winnetka" is a jazz song co-written by composer and bass player Bob Haggart and drummer Ray Bauduc with lyrics by Gil Rodin and Bob Crosby, who were members of a sub-group of the Bob Crosby Orchestra called "The Bobcats". They also were the first to record it, in 1938. That recording is remarkable for its unusual duet feature: Haggart whistles the melody and plays the bass, while only Bauduc accompanies him on the drums. Halfway through the solo, Bauduc starts drumming on the strings of the double bass, while Haggart continues to play with his left hand, creating a percussive bass solo. The original version was just bass and drums but many other arrangements have been performed including one by the Bob Crosby big band with the band's vocal group.

After the success of the initial recording, Haggart and Bauduc performed the song frequently for the rest of their careers, including in several films, most notably in 1941's Let's Make Music and 1943's Reveille with Beverly. The original recording was featured on the soundtrack of Raging Bull. Nick Nolte and Debra Winger danced to a version credited to Bob Crosby and the Bobcats in the 1982 film Cannery Row.


The song was a spontaneous composition, created at the Blackhawk in Chicago in 1938.[1] When some of the band were late getting back from a break, Haggart and Bauduc started free improvising while they waited and "Big Noise" was the result. It was a joint composition, later formalized by arranger Haggart. Later, lyrics were written by Gil Rodin and Bob Crosby.

Winnetka is a North Shore suburb located approximately 16 miles (26 km) north of downtown Chicago,

Tom Carten ([email protected]), 1048 Holy Cross House, Notre Dame IN 46556: (I have just written an article 8/17/2018 from an interview with a person whose brother was responsible for being part of the "Big Noise" that came from Winnetka. Here it is:


    For you hipsters (and hipsterettes) who were into the music scene from 1938, the big hit in those days was Bob Crosby’s recording of “The Big Noise from Winnetka.”  
    “Oh, yeah!” said Tom McNally, recently. “My brother, Don McNally, was one of the original ‘big noise.’  There was a place in nearby Chicago, the Blackhawk, where a group of his friends hung out.  They were a sizeable bunch from the New Trier High School in Winnetka and were pretty noisy, which caused complaints when they were there, which was frequent.
    “The musicians were ‘The Bob Cats,’ a small group from Bob Crosby’s band.  They started calling my brothers’ pals the ‘Big Noise from Winnetka,’ which later became a hit song and is still fairly popular.  Two of them were Bob Haggart on 

bass and whistling; Ray Baduc on drums.

    “My brother Don went to the Air Corps, a P-47 pilot, and named his plane the Big Noise from Winnetka.  He went out for reconnaissance one day and never returned; that was the end of the ‘Big Noise’ airplane.  They were not sure if he was shot down, or what happened to him; neither his nor his companion’s plane returned so nobody was sure of his fate.”
    To hear a recording, search “Big Noise from Winnetka” and look for: “The BOBCATS, Big Noise from Winnetka.”  Runs 2:29.  Best site you will ever see; highly recommended.

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In Popular Culture


  1. ^ Zeldes, Leah A. (November 5, 2009). "So long, spinning salad bowl! Don Roth's Blackhawk to close". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Services in One Place". TV Ad Music. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  3. ^ "Skokie Lifestyles and Entertainment - Skokie Review". 

External links

  • Bob Crosby video - yes, Bing's little brother - of Big Noise from Winnetka on YouTube
  • CLOUDS video of Big Noise from Winnetka on YouTube
  • Audio of Big Noise from Winnetka
  • Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
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