[Dixielandjazz] Connie Haines Obit

Hal Vickery hvickery_80 at msn.com
Thu Sep 25 15:20:09 PDT 2008

Sad news.  The Dorsey band of the early '40s is one of my personal favorites.  Sinatra, Haines, and the Pied Pipers (with Jo Stafford occasionally breaking out with a solo number), that terrific trumpet section, Buddy Rich.  Arrangements by Sy Oliver, Paul Weston, and (I think) Axel Stordahl. 

And I'm not even old enough to remember the band....

Hal Vickery

(Who for once finds being "just" 58 years old a disadvantage.)
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Stephen G Barbone<mailto:barbonestreet at earthlink.net> 
  To: Hal Vickery<mailto:hvickery_80 at msn.com> 
  Cc: Dixieland Jazz Mailing List<mailto:dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com> 
  Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 11:50 AM
  Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Connie Haines Obit

  September 25, 2008 - NY TIMES - by Douglas Martin
  Connie Haines, Peppy Singer, Dies at 87

  Connie Haines, a peppy, petite, big-voiced singer with a zippy,  
  rhythmic style who most famously teamed up with Frank Sinatra as lead  
  vocalists with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, then went on to a prolific  
  career of her own, died on Monday in Clearwater Beach, Fla. She was 87.

  The cause was myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease, said  
  Roseanne Young, a friend.

  Miss Haines made 200 recordings, including 24 records that sold more  
  than 50,000 copies; regularly filled up prestigious nightclubs like  
  the Latin Quarter in New York; and performed five times at the White  
  House. Polls in music magazines in the 1940s rated her as one of the  
  top female band singers.

  While Sinatra specialized at the time in ballads and slow foxtrots,  
  Miss Haines threw herself into rhythmic up-tempo tunes.

  “Where did you learn to swing like that?” Dorsey asked when he first  
  heard her at a club in New Jersey. “And when can you join my band?”

  Her recordings including gospel, pop and soul, as well as big-band  
  barnburners. The best-selling ones included “You Might Have Belonged  
  to Another”; “Oh! Look at Me Now”; “What Is This Thing Called Love?”;  
  and “Will You Still Be Mine?” A crowd favorite was “Snootie Little  
  Cutie,” which often elicited ad libs from Sinatra.

  She made the most of her sultry Southern accent, sometimes to  
  Sinatra’s amusement. In her personalized rendition of “Let’s Get Away  
   From It All,” she improvised, “We’ll spend a weekend in Dixie. I’ll  
  get a real Southern drawl.”

  Sinatra piped in, “Another one?”

  Miss Haines appeared on the radio with Abbott & Costello, Bing Crosby,  
  Bob Hope and Jack Benny, among others. On television she appeared  
  withMilton Berle, Ed Sullivan, Eddie Cantor and Perry Como. Her work  
  on Frankie Laine’s variety show drew particular note.

  Her movies included her favorite, “Duchess of Idaho” (1950), with  
  Esther Williams and Van Johnson.

  Yvonne Marie Antoinette JaMais was born on Jan. 20, 1921, in Savannah,  
  Ga., but grew up in Florida. Her mother, who taught voice and dance,  
  pushed her talented daughter to excel. At 4, Yvonne appeared at the  
  Bijou Theater in Savannah in a “Saucy Baby” show. At 5, Baby Yvonne  
  Marie won state contests in the Charleston dance in Georgia and Florida.

  At 9 she won a talent contest sponsored by Uncle Ralph Feathers, who  
  in the South ran the sort of amateur contests for which Major Bowes  
  was famous. Before she turned 10, she parlayed that into a regular  
  radio show on the NBC affiliate in Jacksonville, Fla., billed as Baby  
  Yvonne Marie, the Little Princess of the Air. At 10 she appeared with  
  the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, and things accelerated even faster.

  She won the actual Major Bowes contest in New York, and appeared on  
  Fred Allen’s radio show. At 16 she was auditioning for a job in the  
  Brill Building, headquarters of Tin Pan Alley. Harry James, the  
  orchestra leader, happened to hear her and immediately hired her. But  
  he asked her to change her name, saying she looked like a Connie. More  
  pointedly, he said that if she used her full name, there would be no  
  room for him on the marquee. At first she thought he had named her  
  Ames, not Haines, and for a few days signed autographs that way.

  After James ran into financial trouble, both singers ended up with  
  Dorsey when he was adding a robustness and kick to his style, taking  
  on an innovative new arranger, Sy Oliver, and six new vocalists. The  
  others were Jo Stafford, who died on July 16, and the three-man vocal  
  group the Pied Pipers. Miss Haines said that Dorsey taught her  
  phrasing, how to take one big breath and let the words flow, she told  
  The Tampa Tribune in 1998. He told her to always think of telling a  
  story, of “acting to music.”

  At one point when she was performing with Dorsey, she remembered,  
  Sinatra saved her life. She was about to go on stage in Madison Square  
  Garden when a smoker in a balcony tossed a match and set her ruffled  
  tulle dress on fire. Sinatra threw his coat over her and fell on her,  
  smothering the flames, she said.

  Miss Haines’s marriage to Robert DeHaven, a World War II fighter ace  
  who died in July, ended in divorce. She is survived by her sister,  
  Barbara JaMais of Hemet, Calif.; her daughter, Kimberly Harlan of  
  Prineville, Ore.; her son, Robert DeHaven Jr. of San Francisco; and  
  her mother, Mildred JaMais of Clearwater, Fla., who is 109.

  On Wednesday Miss Haines’s voice — still strong and swinging — could  
  be heard on her answering machine. “I’ve got the world on a string,”  
  she sang.
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