Marion Hutton – mostly overshadowed by her exuberant younger sister Betty – was the loveliest, the most human asset to the otherwise perfectly drilled Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Her intonation wasn’t always the firmest, and she seemed to be unable to deliver a slow tune.

She was cast as “the girl next door”, the slap-happy blonde in the up-tempo novelties department; and the corny duet routine with her big crush tenor saxophonist & vocalist Tex Beneke sounds quite dated today.

It goes like this:

Marion sings a chorus; the orchestra jumps in with ‘ba-doo-ba-doo–ba-ba-doodle-de-
doodle-de-doo’; then a happily whistlin’ Tex comes accidentally strolling by; Marion ‘n’ Tex do a little jive, backed by a saxy riff; ‘ba-doo-ba-doo–ba-ba-doodle-de-doodle-de-doo’ again; Moe Purtill hammers a wild drum-break; then Tex with an over-groovy tenor solo; big finish

Anyway, her charm, and her infectious cheerfulness will let you forget Marion’s minor musical shortcomings.

The seven gems I’ve chosen for today’s playlist are widely unfamiliar. Only the I-got-em-all types among collectors of the swinging big bands, and of course the thousands+ of Glenn Miller experts will know them (all tracks have been transferred from the pictured LP albums):

1. I Want My Share Of Love – ‘Live’ from Glen Island Casino, May 29, 1939 – One of the better tunes, sweetly delivered by Marion.




2. A Cabana In Havana – Chicago, June 13, 1940 – A nice latin tune, unjustly forgotten.





3. The Gentleman Needs A Shave into Slumber Song (Theme) – Marion & Tex – ‘Live’, Café Rouge, October 18, 1940 – I’ve left the closing theme there because it’s so lovely. 




4. Jack And Jill – Marion, Tex & The Mods – ‘Live’, October 23, 1941 – Never recorded commercially because of some “questionable” lyrics.




5. I Know Why – Marion & The Mods – ‘Live’, Sunset Serenade Broadcast, November 22, 1941 – Besides honoring Marion Hutton is this the other reason why I have posted this article on this very day. It’s by the way Marion’s only known ballad feature with the Miller Band.




6. Happy In Love – NY, December 8, 1941 – Listen to Jerry Gray’s outstanding introduction & first chorus, played by a very tight orchestra. Once again one of the slightly-above-average songs for Marion to deliver, with a melancholy undertone (look at the date, and you know why she sounds a bit depressed.)




7. Blues In The Night – Marion, Tex & The Mods – ‘Live’, Chesterfield Broadcast, December 18, 1941 – Just a great chart, never recorded commercially. It was too long for fitting on a 78-shellack disc.

Here comes the ultimate Marion Hutton playlist: 


…clickety-click on it… 😉

— As a P.S. in motion pictures, here are Marion Hutton’s two memorable appearances in a highly speculative music flick & morale booster, painting a rosy picture of the various affairs of totally fictitious Orchestra Wives, as they lived, loved & laughed in 1942.

The funny fairy tale features a very relaxedly swingin’, wonderfully choreographed Glenn Miller Orchestra, Marion & Tex as the all-American girl & boy, the band’s balladeer Ray Eberle & the orchestra’s brilliant boy group ‘The Modernaires’.

Further, we have leading Lady Anne Rutherford, comedians George Montgomery (as trumpeter, dubbed by Johnny Best) & Cesar Romero (faking the band’s pianist, dubbed by Chummy McGregor), Jackie Gleason (clowning “on bass”, dubbed by Doc Goldberg who had to take it serious), some real musicians like drummer Maurice “Moe” Purtill & trumpeter/ arranger Billy May, and last but not least the super-hep ‘Nicholas Brothers’ who scat about all our darling Marion:

“Oh, what a gal! – A real pipperoo!”
“She’s a fine chick!”

Yes, Lady Marion, you surely are!

Before you’re gonna watch the two clips from “Orchestra Wives”, I’d recommend that you’d learn more about Marion Hutton, about her career after Glenn Miller, about her life-long struggle with alcoholism, and how she overcame that addiction:

She was truly one brave woman.

(I’ve Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo
Words: Mack Gordon
Music: Harry Warren

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H

I got a gal in Kalamazoo
Don’t want to boast but I know she’s the toast of Kalamazoo
(Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo)

Years have gone by, my my how she grew
I liked her looks when I carried her books in Kalamazoo
(Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo)

I’m gonna send a wire: hoppin’ on a flyer, leavin’ today
Am I dreamin’? I can hear her screamin’
“Hiya, Mr. Jackson”
Everything’s OK, A-L-A-M-A-Z-O

Oh, what a gal, a real pipperoo
I’ll make my bid for that freckle-faced kid I’m hurryin’ to
I’m goin’ to Michigan to see the sweetest gal in Kalamazoo
(Zoo, zoo)
(Zoo, zoo, zoo, Kalamazoo)
K (K)
A (A)
(Oh, oh, oh, oh what a gal, a real pipperoo)
(We’re goin’ to Michigan to see the sweetest gal in Kalamazoo)
(Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo)

This entry was posted in Big Band Vocalist, CD review, Glenn Miller, Jazz Stories & Tales, Jive, Marion Hutton, Swing Era and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Marc says:

    Fine article about a fine and sadly underappreciated singer. Kudos to you.

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