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Choral Groups in the late Forties

Choral groups from many genres are in the Knott family record collection. During the swing era almost every big band had a backup vocal group. Paul Whiteman had the Rhythm Boys, Glenn Miller had the Modernaires, and Woody Herman had the Blue Flames.

As the swing era faded, vocal groups often recorded under their own names with the orchestra accompanying the singers, not the other way around.

When the Tommy Dorsey orchestra disbanded, the Pied Pipers got their chance. From 1948, “Highway to Love” sounds like it could be automotive advertising:

 The other side has “My Happiness”:


Between late 1947, through the summer of 1948, five recordings of “My Happiness” were released. This contrasts with today’s music industry which relies on performers who write and perform their own material. The Pied Pipers charted twelve times in the late forties. Their last number one appearance was singing backup on Sam Cooke’s R&B hit “You Send Me” in 1957.

The Skylarks performed with several of the big bands before striking out on their own. From 1949, we have a surprisingly modern performance of “Cruising Down the River”. This would stylistically fit well on a late fifties or early sixties television variety show.

The Skylarks were active long enough to appear on the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour in the early seventies.


The Pied Pipers (1947)

“Highway to Love”

“My Happiness”

The Skylarks (1948)

“Cruising Down the River”