October 7, 2006

Michigan's Musical Connection: Johnny Desmond

Welcome to the weekly installment of Michigan's Musical Connection. This week I have selected Johnny Desmond as the featured artist. Let's get crackin' -
Wikipedia -
Johnny Desmond (November 14, 1919-September 6, 1985) was an American popular singer.

He was born Giovanni Alfredo De Simone in Detroit, Michigan. As a boy, he sang on a local radio station, but at age 15 he quit to work at his father's grocery. He still retained a love of music, however, and went to the Detroit Conservatory of Music briefly before heading to the night club circuit, playing piano and singing.

In 1939 he formed his own singing group. The group was first called the Downbeats, but after being hired to work with Bob Crosby's big band in 1940, it was renamed the Bob-O-Links. The group appeared on fifteen commercial recordings by the Crosby orchestra, including two charted hits, "You Forgot About Me" (which reached #15), and "Do You Care?" (#18).

In the middle of 1941, however, Johnny decided to leave the Bob-O-Links to go solo. He became the featured vocalist for Gene Krupa's band, replacing Howard Dulaney, in September, recording over a dozen songs, the last of which was "All Those Wonderful Years," a song from the movie Keep 'em Flying, which reached #21 on the US charts.

In 1942 he enlisted in the United States Army, but his military service was in fact a continuation of his singing career. He was a member of Glenn Miller's Army Air Forces Orchestra and from November 1943 until some time in 1944 he toured Europe, mainly serving as a replacement for Tony Martin. He made a number of radio broadcasts with the Miller band and was even given his own show by the British Broadcasting Corporation, "A Soldier and a Song."
Not only was Desmond a popular singer but he was also an actor / director.
From Answers.com
While in the military, Desmond, who could sing in Italian, French, and German, performed with Glenn Miller on radio broadcasts designed to rattle the enemy. Following the war, he began his radio and television career. Desmond's last film appearance was as himself in the documentary tribute to the recently deceased Miller, Glenn Miller: A Moonlight Serenade in 1984. A year later Desmond passed away.

Unfortunately, I could not locate any video clips featuring Johnny Desmond.

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