Last of Andrews Sisters dies at 94
BY Wire reports
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 4:46 AM
Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the singing Andrews Sisters, whose hits such as the rollicking "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" and the poignant "I Can Dream, Can't I?" captured the home-front spirit of World War II, died Wednesday in Northridge, Calif. She was 94.
Patty was the Andrews in the middle, the lead singer and chief clown, whose raucous jitterbugging delighted servicemen abroad and audiences at home. She could also deliver sentimental ballads like "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time" with a sincerity that caused hardened GIs far from home to weep.
"When I was a kid, I only had two records, and one of them was the Andrews Sisters. They were remarkable. Their sound, so pure," said Bette Midler, who had a hit cover of "Bugle Boy" in 1973. "Everything they did for our nation was more than we could have asked for."
From the late 1930s through the 1940s, the Andrews Sisters produced one hit record after another, beginning with "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" in 1937 and continuing with "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar," ''Rum and Coca-Cola" and more. They recorded more than 400 songs and sold more than 80 million records, several of them going gold.
The Andrews Sisters' rise coincided with the advent of swing music, and their style fit perfectly into the new craze. They aimed at reproducing the sound of three harmonizing trumpets.
"I was listening to Benny Goodman and to all the bands," Patty once said. "I was into the feel, so that would go into my own musical ability. I was into swing. I loved the brass section."
Unlike other singing acts, the sisters recorded with popular bands of the '40s, fitting neatly into the styles of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Bob Crosby, Woody Herman, and Guy Lombardo. They sang dozens of songs on records with Bing Crosby, including the million-seller "Don't Fence Me In." They also recorded with Carmen Miranda, Danny Kaye, Al Jolson and Jimmy Durante.
The Andrews' popularity led to a contract with Universal Pictures, where they made a dozen low-budget musical comedies between 1940 and 1944. In 1947, they appeared in "The Road to Rio" with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.
Their only hit was "Buck Privates," which made stars of Abbott and Costello and included the trio's blockbuster "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B."
The trio continued until LaVerne's death in 1967. By then, their harmony had turned to discord, and the sisters had feuded openly.
Midler's cover of "Bugle Boy" revived interest in the trio. The two survivors joined in 1974 for a Broadway show, "Over Here!" It ran for more than a year, but disputes with the producers led to the cancellation of a national tour, and the sisters didn't perform together again.
Patty continued on her own, finding success in Las Vegas and on television variety shows. Her sister Maxene also toured solo until her death in 1995.
The vocal trio the Andrews Sisters: Maxene Andrews (from left), Patty Andrews, and LaVerne Andrews. Patty Andrews, the last survivor of the three, died Wednesday. She was 94. Associated Press file