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Ray Eberle

Vocalist, Bandleader

Ray Eberle joined the Glenn Miller band as vocalist in 1938. His brother, Bob Eberly (who had changed the spelling of the family name), was already established as the vocalist with the Jimmy Dorsey band. Despite complaints from critics and band members and Eberle’s own assertion that Miller pitched the songs too high for his range, he was a popular vocalist who introduced “The Nearness of You” in 1940 and “Skylark” in 1942. He had dozens of other hit songs with the band including “Moonlight Serenade” and “Stairway to the Stars” in 1939, “It’s a Blue World,” “Fools Rush In,” “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” and “Imagination” in 1940, and “At Last” in 1942.

After leaving Miller he sang with the Gene Krupa band and appeared in some Hollywood films before entering the military service in 1943. In 1945 he formed his own band, which took “Serenade in Blue” as its theme song and, despite his less than friendly break with Miller, featured the Miller band’s most popular tunes. After the break-up of his band, he joined Tex Beneke’s Glenn Miller Orchestra on tour and later reformed his own band, touring the nightclub circuit and playing its final concert at Madison Square Garden in 1978.

-- Sandra Burlingame

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