Para español, seleccione de la lista

The Ladies Lament


The Knott’s record collection has both torch songs and laments. Female vocalists sometimes gained prominence when big bands were forced to downsize during the war. This was not unlike women’s increased wartime presence in other industries.

After stints with several big bands, Jo Stafford recorded “Someone to Love” backed by Paul Weston’s Orchestra:

Similarly, after working with Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee ventured out on her own, here complaining “What More Can a Woman Do?” :

And, we have “Don't Tell a Lie About Me” by Woody Herman’s Orchestra. The vocalist is Billie Rogers.  In addition to being the ‘girl singer’, Ms. Rogers was also a member of the horn section. She was the first woman to hold such a position in a major band. Here, she sings and provides a trumpet solo:

Jo Stafford and Peggy Lee outgrew their roles as ‘girl singers’ and went on to become important artists in their own right. Billie Rogers left the Woody Herman Orchestra and led her own jazz combo.

Billie Rogers was an example of Herman’s practice of employing the best young talent he could find to keep his band relevant. As a result, his band was one of the few from the swing era to survive the war.  Herman’s band produced leading edge jazz musicians well into the 1980s.


Woody Herman’s (1942)

A: “Don't Tell a Lie About Me”


Jo Stafford & Paul Weston (1943)

A: “Someone to Love”

Peggy Lee & Dave Barbour Orchestra (1944)

A: “What More Can a Woman Do?”