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Bob Eberly (1916 - 1981)

Robert Eberle

Bob Eberly won the Amateur Hour competition on Fred Allen’s radio show and was discovered by the Dorsey brothers in 1935. When Tommy Dorsey left to form his own group, Eberly stayed with Jimmy, recording several hits with Helen O’Connell. Three of their vocals--“Maria Elena,” “Amapola” (“Pretty Little Poppy”), and “Green Eyes”--were among the top ten hits in 1941. In 1942 they sang “Tangerine” in the film The Fleet’s In and it sold millions. “Brazil” was their last hit before O’Connell left the band.

In the 1943 release of MGM's I Dood It, starring Red Skelton and Eleanor Powell, Eberly and O'Connell introduced the jazz standard “Star Eyes.” And Ebrly's recording of “Besame Mucho” enjoyed great popularity in 1944. He also appeared in three films, culminating with The Fabulous Dorseys (1947).

During his eight years with Dorsey’s band Eberly was considered one of the top male vocalists of the day. His romantic baritone influenced many up-and-coming crooners.

After serving in the military, where he sang with Wayne King’s orchestra from 1943-1945, he was unable to revive his career. Except for regular appearances on TV’s Top Tunes and a season on television with O’Connell and the Ray Anthony band in 1953, he was relegated to singing in small clubs.




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