49 Facts About Benny Goodman


Benjamin David Goodman was an American clarinetist and bandleader known as the "King of Swing".


From 1936 until the mid-1940s, Benny Goodman led one of the most popular swing big bands in the United States.


Benny Goodman performed nearly to the end of his life while exploring an interest in classical music.


Benny Goodman was the ninth of twelve children born to poor Jewish emigrants from the Russian Empire.


On Sundays, his father took the children to free band concerts in Douglass Park, which was the first time Benny Goodman experienced live professional performances.


Benny Goodman received two years of instruction from the classically trained clarinetist and Chicago Symphony member, Franz Schoepp.


Benny Goodman performed on Lake Michigan excursion boats, and in 1923 played at Guyon's Paradise, a local dance hall.

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Benny Goodman attended the Lewis Institute in 1924 as a high-school sophomore and played clarinet in a dance hall band.


Benny Goodman learned quickly, becoming a strong player at an early age, and was playing in bands.


Benny Goodman made his professional debut in 1921 at the Central Park Theater on the West Side of Chicago.


Benny Goodman entered Harrison Technical High School in Chicago in 1922.


Benny Goodman moved to New York City and became a session musician for radio, Broadway musicals, and in studios.


Benny Goodman's first recording pressed to disc occurred on December 9,1926, in Chicago.


Benny Goodman played with the bands of Red Nichols, Ben Selvin, Ted Lewis, and Isham Jones and recorded for Brunswick under the name Benny Goodman's Boys, a band that featured Glenn Miller.


Benny Goodman reached the charts for the first time when he recorded "He's Not Worth Your Tears" with a vocal by Scrappy Lambert for Melotone.


Benny Goodman hired Henderson's band members to teach his musicians how to play the music.


Benny Goodman's band was one of three to perform on Let's Dance, playing arrangements by Henderson along with hits such as "Get Happy" and "Limehouse Blues" by Spud Murphy.


An engagement was booked at Manhattan's Roosevelt Grill filling in for Guy Lombardo, but the audience expected "sweet" music and Benny Goodman's band was unsuccessful.


Benny Goodman spent six months performing on Let's Dance, and during that time he recorded six more Top Ten hits for Columbia.


Benny Goodman started the evening with stock arrangements, but after an indifferent response, he began the second set with arrangements by Fletcher Henderson and Spud Murphy.


In November 1935 Benny Goodman accepted an invitation to play in Chicago at the Joseph Urban Room at the Congress Hotel.


Benny Goodman's stay there extended to six months, and his popularity was cemented by nationwide radio broadcasts over NBC affiliate stations.


Benny Goodman played three concerts produced by Chicago socialite and jazz aficionado Helen Oakley.


Benny Goodman contracted Artists Recording Studio to make two sets.


Benny Goodman started playing "Rose Room" on the assumption that Christian didn't know it, but his performance impressed everyone.

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The bebop recordings Benny Goodman made for Capitol were praised by critics.


Benny Goodman consulted his friend Mary Lou Williams for advice on how to approach the music of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.


Benny Goodman commissioned compositions for clarinet and chamber ensembles or orchestra that have become standard pieces of classical repertoire.


Benny Goodman premiered works by composers, such as Contrasts by Bela Bartok; Clarinet Concerto No 2, Op.


Benny Goodman made a recording of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in July 1956 with the Boston Symphony String Quartet at the Berkshire Festival; on the same occasion he recorded Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major, K 622, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Munch.


Benny Goodman reunited the band to tour with Louis Armstrong.


Armstrong left Benny Goodman hanging during a joint performance where Benny Goodman called Armstrong back onstage to wrap up the show.


Armstrong refused to perform alongside Benny Goodman, which led essentially to the end of their friendship.


Benny Goodman's band appeared as a specialty act in the films The Big Broadcast of 1937; Hollywood Hotel ; Syncopation ; The Powers Girl ; Stage Door Canteen ; The Gang's All Here ; Sweet and Low-Down, Benny Goodman's only starring feature; Make Mine Music and A Song Is Born.


Benny Goodman continued to play on records and in small groups.


Benny Goodman continued to play swing, but he practiced and performed classical pieces and commissioned them for clarinet.


Benny Goodman died on June 13,1986, from a heart attack while taking a nap at his apartment in Manhattan House.


Benny Goodman married Hammond's sister, Alice Frances Hammond Duckworth, on March 20,1942.


Benny Goodman sometimes performed in concert with him, beginning when she was sixteen.


Benny Goodman appeared on a 1975 PBS tribute to Hammond but remained at a distance.


On June 25,1985, Benny Goodman appeared at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City for "A Tribute to John Hammond".


Benny Goodman was regarded by some as a demanding taskmaster, by others as an arrogant and eccentric martinet.


Many musicians spoke of "The Ray", the glare that Benny Goodman directed at a musician who failed to perform to his standards.


Vocalists Anita O'Day and Helen Forrest spoke bitterly of their experiences singing with Goodman: "The twenty or so months I spent with Benny felt like twenty years," said Forrest.


Benny Goodman hired Teddy Wilson for his trio and added vibraphonist Lionel Hampton for his quartet.

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In 1962, the Benny Goodman Orchestra toured the Soviet Union as part of a cultural exchange program between the two nations after the Cuban Missile Crisis and the end of that phase of the Cold War; both visits were part of efforts to normalize relations between the United States and the USSR.


Benny Goodman was a member of the radio division of the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.


Benny Goodman's papers were donated to Yale University after his death.


Benny Goodman received honorary doctorates from Union College, the University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Bard College, Brandeis University, Columbia University, Harvard University, and Yale University.