Trumpet star Harry James was born in Albany, Georgia on March 15, 1916.
He began playing as the featured soloist with the Ben Pollack Band in 1935 and joined Benny Goodman and His Orchestra in 1937. He started his own band in 1938 with featured vocalist Frank Sinatra and by the 1940’s the Harry James’ Orchestra was one of the most popular and successful.
The orchestra was built around James’ trumpet and its featured vocalists including Sinatra, Doris Day, Helen Humes, Dick Haymes, Helen Forrest, Jimmy Saunders, Johnny McAfee, Kitty Kallen, Buddy DeVito, Willie Smith and Ginnie Powell. Band members through the years included trombonist Juan Tizol, drummer Buddy Rich and arrangers Ray Conniff and Neal Hefti.
Among the nearly 75 top twenty hits are the #1 recordings ‘I Don’t Want to Walk Without You’ (1942), ‘Sleepy Lagoon’ (1942), ‘Mister Five By Five’ (1942), ‘I Had the Craziest Dream’ (1942), ‘I’ve Heard that Song Before’ (1943), ‘All or Nothing At All’ (1943), ‘I’ll Get By (As Long as I Have You)’ (1944), ‘I’m Beginning to See the Light’ (1945) and ‘It’s Been a Long, Long Time’ (1945).
Harry James remained active up to his death on July 5, 1983.