The Dorsey Brothers

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The Dorsey Brothers
Dorsey Brothers Orchestra 1934.jpg
Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, 1934. Bottom (L-R): George "Gus" Throw, Roc Hillman, Don Matteson, Skeets Herfurt, Ray McKinley. Standing (L-R): Bobby Van Epps, Delmar Kaplan, Tommy Dorsey, Kay Weber, Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Jack Stacey.
Background information
Genres Jazz
Years active 1928 (1928)-1935 (1935)
Past members

The Dorsey Brothers were a studio group fronted by musicians Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. They started recording under their name in 1928 with a series of studio recordings for the OKeh label (they had come to New York in the mid-1920s and were among the most sought musicians).


They did a few sides for the dime store labels (Banner, Cameo, Domino, Jewel, Oriole, Perfect, etc.) and also a handful of sides during their Brunswick period were issued on Vocalion.

They signed to Decca Records in 1934, basically formed a more traditional regular band, and even started performing live until they had their famous falling out in May 1935. Glenn Miller composed four songs for the Dorsey Brothers Band when he was a member in 1934 and 1935, "Annie's Cousin Fannie", "Dese Dem Dose", "Harlem Chapel Chimes", and "Tomorrow's Another Day".[1]

Johnny Mercer sang the lead vocals on the recording of "Dr. Heckle And Mr. Jibe", which was written by guitarist Dick McDonough.

In 1935, the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra had two no.1 recordings on Decca Records, "Lullaby of Broadway" with Bob Crosby on vocals, topping the charts for two weeks, and "Chasing Shadows", no.1 for three weeks. Tommy Dorsey would have seventeen number one hits while Jimmy Dorsey would have ten after they formed their own orchestras in 1935.

Tommy left the orchestra in 1935, effectively ending the group as most bandmembers either followed him or left altogether. The Dorseys reunited on March 15, 1945 to record a V-Disc at Liederkranz Hall in New York City. Released in June 1945, V-Disc 451 featured "More Than You Know", backed with "Brotherly Jump". The songs featured the combined orchestras of Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. They reunited again in 1947 to film the biopic The Fabulous Dorseys, in which they played themselves. In the 1950s, they had their own network TV series, Stage Show, broadcast by CBS. Elvis Presley made his national television debut on their show in 1956.

In 1996, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative Jimmy Dorsey and Tommy Dorsey postage stamp.

(See Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey's individual listings for more details).

Dorsey Brothers Orchestra in the studio, 1934: Pictured are (Back row, l-r): Don Mattison, trombone; Ray McKinley, drums; George Thow, trumpet; Glenn Miller, trombone; Bobby Van Epps, piano. (Middle row, l-r): Skeets Herfurt, tenor sax; Jack Stacy, tenor sax; Jimmy Dorsey, alto sax; Delmar Kaplan, bass; Roc Hillman, guitar; Tommy Dorsey, trombone. Seated in front are band vocalists Bob Crosby and Kay Weber.

Notable releases

  • "Coquette", 1928
  • "Dixie Dawn", 1928
  • "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)", 1929
  • "Sally of My Dreams", 1929
  • "Fine and Dandy", 1930
  • "Ooh! That Kiss", 1932
  • "Old Man Harlem", 1933
  • "I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You", 1934; later used by Tommy Dorsey as his Theme Song after he formed his own band
  • "Lost in a Fog", 1934
  • "What a Diff'rence a Day Made", 1934
  • "You're the Top", 1934
  • "Annie's Cousin Fannie", 1934, Brunswick and Decca versions, composed and arranged by Glenn Miller[2]
  • "Tomorrow's Another Day", 1935, composed and arranged by Glenn Miller
  • "Harlem Chapel Chimes", 1935, composed and arranged by Glenn Miller
  • "Chasing Shadows", 1935, No. 1[3]
  • "Every Little Moment", 1935
  • "Every Single Little Tingle of My Heart", 1935
  • "I'll Never Say Never Again Again", 1935
  • "I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'", 1935
  • "Dese Dem Dose", 1935, composed and arranged by Glenn Miller
  • "Lullaby of Broadway", 1935, No. 1
  • "Night Wind", 1935
  • "The Gentlemen Obviously Doesn't Believe (In Love)", 1935
  • "Tiny Little Fingerprints", 1935
  • "You Are My Lucky Star", 1935



  1. ^ Dorsey Brothers Orchestra. Red Hot Jazz.
  2. ^ Simon, George Thomas. Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. NY: Crowell, 1974.
  3. ^ The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra: Songs/Top Songs/Chart Singles/

External links

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