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Glenn Miller was one of the most popular pioneers of the big band sound that ruled the roost in the music scene in the mid thirties to mid forties in the USA.


Despite being an accomplished trombonist. Miller’s  particular gift was as a musical arranger, and he spent many years striving to find the perfect sound for his orchestra, which when he did, brought them tremendous popularity.  Tragically, Miller’s life was to be cut short in a plane crash while serving with the US Army towards the end of World War Two. Probably more than other, Miller’s music has lived on in history as a glorious memorial of these tumultuous times.



Miller was born and raised  up in the poverty stricken mid West of America town of  Grant, Missouri in  the early years of the twentieth century. As a young man Glenn began to display his taste for music, first with the mandolin, which didn’t quite suit him, moving on to the horn before finding his one true love, the trombone.

Despite his love and talent for music, Glenn Miller, encouraged by his parents, was determined to complete his education, which he did, achieving top grades, enough to get  the young trombonist accepted for the University of Colorado in 1923.

However it didn’t take too long for the call of  music became too strong, and Glenn decided to take some time out from his studies to see how far his musical career could stretch.

After thoroughly checking his options, Miller chose to become a part of  the popular West Coast band headed by  Ben Pollack. Glenn remained with Pollack for five years till he gradually reached the conclusion that he had reached as far as he could go as a band member, instead concentrating on developing his musical arrangement skills.


In the summer of 1928, Miller parted ways with Pollack, setting off for the East Coast of the US  where he felt that exciting new opportunities would be waiting for him. These opportunities were slow in  coming, especially as the country had fallen into a  depression, meaning that  Glenn had to get by working as a session musician with the occasional musical arrangement assignment coming his way.



Glenn got his  long overdue breakthrough from in the spring of 1934 when Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey asked him to join them in their recently formed Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, as their lead trombonist and music arranger.  As the Dorsey Brothers band grew in popularity, Miller played a major part in their success, thanks as much to  his musical arrangement skills  as his excellent skills on the trombone.  

After only a year with the Dorsey Brothers Glenn was approached by an up and coming UK bandleader called Ray Noble who wanted to form a band in the US.  Glenn was happy to accept Noble’s offer as it provided  him  with even more of a free hand to sharpen his musical arrangement skills.

By the summer of 1935, Glen Miller decided that the time was right to form an orchestra of his own. His decision was easier to make because he had a hard core of talented musicians, who had worked beside him with Ray Noble and were out of work after the Englishman had called it quits and gone back home.

The newly formed  Glenn Miller Orchestra did not get off the the best of starts, as the ever pedantic and often obsessive Miller strived to perfect the perfect sound, a sound that would be outstandingly different from the greats of the swing period. By then Miller was in his thirties, and the unique sound and the  success that he had been striving for seemed to as near and as far  away.



By 1939 Miller and his orchestra, who had remarkably stayed loyal to him during  their years in the musical wilderness, finally struck gold when the sound that Miller had been searching for finally came together.  The  Gelm Miller sound was based around the combination of a clarinet set at a very high pitch with a saxophone played exactly one octave lower.

Suddenly the Glenn Miller Orchestra became an overnight success which had taken 15 years to achieve and  the US music buying public couldn’t get enough of it, snapping up string after string of hits, each one a classic to this day.  


Glenn Miller rapidly rose to become the most popular bandleader in the U.S. staying at the top for most of the war years,  becoming the  best selling artist in the US for 1941 and 1942.

However, for as long as it took him to build up his orchestra and perfect their sound, it only took Glenn Miller a matter of weeks to disband them when he decided to answer the call from his country to entertain the troops overseas.

While he was serving his country  in 1944, on a short flight over the English Channel, that  Miller’s plane went down.  Glenn was listed as missing in action as his body was never discovered. He was just forty years old.


The wonderful music that Glen Miller created will live on forever in history. Why not browse through the links below and pick out a tune.



  Blue Berry Hill Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Bugle Call Ragtime Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Chatanooga Choo Choo Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree Listen to this song on You Tube  
  In the Mood Listen to this song on You Tube  
  It Don't mean a Thing Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Little Brown Jug Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Moonlight Serenade Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Pennsylvania 6-500 Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Perfidia Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Rhapsody in Blue Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Stardust Listen to this song on You Tube  
  String of Pearls Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Summertime Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Sunrise Serenade Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Tuxedo Junction Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Yes My Darling Daughter Listen to this song on You Tube