On this section we will take you on a visit to the wonderful, musical world of Big Bands,
guided by our host, Jay's Dad - Joe Graydon. After you have read this, you will agree with me
that being born with these genes and growing up in such a musical home - it is no wonder Jay is
such a gifted musician.
On this section below we had planned for you to get to know Joe Graydon closer, but fate had other plans
for him and on May 19, 2001 he was sadly taken away from this planet after some time of illness.
We will keep this section as a tribute to Joe Graydon and for a short intro you can read
Joe's brief bio on the
"Wall Of V.I.P.'s" section on Jay's site and listen to Joe Graydon singing his huge hit
Joe Graydon had his own TV Show in the 50s - THE JOE GRAYDON TV SHOW -the first music and talk show in the Los Angeles
area. The TV show aired
live on KLAC Channel 13 and is probably never filmed. During the late 1940s, Joe Graydon served as a conductor for
radio station KLAC's house band, which became known as the Joe Graydon Orchestra for both the radio station and
KLAC-TV, and he was featured as a singer-bandleader on early TV shows including Al Jarvis/Betty White's daytime
From 1948 through some time in the 1960's, my Dad had many local TV shows and radio shows in LA, Las Vegas, and
San Diego. I have
a Kinescope of one of those shows from 1948 or possibly 1949 and donated it to UCLA Film & Television
Archive. After doing some
research, I think the show was aired in 1949 since the song AGAIN (my Dad sang that song with the
Gordon Jenkins Orchestra in
February 1949) is used in the intro and outro of the show (just the instrumental part of the song). My Dad's
Christmas song is used so I assume the show was aired near Christmas time. - Jay
The original video had a huge ground hum problem, which Jay fixed, using his expertise in recording and
engineering. You can
read all about his work with
that in the article on this page.
You may also enjoy reading Joe's written down memories
from Jay's earliest radio days on the
Jay Story section.
Joe Graydon was a singer on the highly popular radio show, "Your Hit Parade." He took Frank Sinatra's place as the
leading male singer on "Your Hit Parade" with an air of mystery. Referred to only as "Joe" when he debuted on the
show in the mid-1940s, the mystery surrounding his identity only increased his popularity.
A successful singing career followed, and he is best known for his definitive version of
in collaboration with bandleader Gordon Jenkins, Graydon was one of the most popular singers of the big band era. In
1950 he was offered a job in television as well. "The Joe Graydon Show" was broadcast on Los Angeles and San Diego
television stations for much of the first half of the 1950s.
In the last 20+ years Joe Graydon's corporation, JOMAR Productions, Inc., became THE
largest producer of Big Band events in the entire entertainment industry. Many of Joe's
concert attractions were coast to coast tours ranging up to three months duration.
He not only produced these shows but also wrote and directed them. His tours were sold out
through 1998 and 1999 offered even more. Here below Joe is sharing with us some highlights of
his life and musical career in a letter from 1999.
1999 was supposed to be my year of beginning retirement but I entertained that thought with great misgivings. Many
opportunities have surfaced and as one of my very old friends said, "It is hard to walk away from the table when the dice
keep rolling sevens". I have never been a gambler but the thought has substance.
I am now packaging another Big Band show. This one will be called BIG BAND/COMMAND PERFORMANCE and will star the music
of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. I will use a band which I put together a few years
back---THE BIG BAND ALUMNI ORCHESTRA---so named because it is comprised of men who actually played with the great
bands named above and men who helped shape and form the music of the Big Band era.
The concert is approximately two hours in duration and I use four conductors, each for about 30 minutes. Within each
segment we are able to pack the biggest hits of each orchestra so that the entire concert is a series
of "blockbuster" hits.
In order to accomplish this I use four different conductors who are particularly adept at handling their 30
ABE MOST, doing the Benny Goodman segment. Abe played the sound tracks for all of the Benny Goodman sides
which were released on the famous Time/Life recordings.
FRED RADKE, played 1st trumpet with Harry James when he was 18. He is a great trumpeter and Harry was always
his idol. Fred is also a professor of music at one of Seattle's universities.
MARK TEEL, a trombone virtuoso from San Francisco who is also a fine emcee and authority on Tommy Dorsey's style of
REX ALLEN, another trombonist from San Francisco. Rex is best known from having played with the "World's greatest
Jazz Band", is an outstanding emcee and perfect for the Glenn Miller role. TRUE CONFESSION TIME. Other than when
we are on tour, that is to say when we are doing one nighters in the greater Los Angeles area, I conduct this
segment of the show.
BERYL DAVIS, who looks amazingly beautiful, actually sang with the Glenn Miller Air Force band during World War II
and we also use her in the Glenn Miller segment. She does a very touching thing about her last night with the band
before Glenn Miller's ill fated flight. She, literally, has herself and the audience in tears.
We then ask all of the members of our audience, (usually at least half of the house) who served in any
capacity during the war to stand and be recognized. Everyone on stage then gives those attendees a rousing
ovation. We follow this with what I call the National Anthem for the Big Band Era, "IN THE MOOD". That usually nets
us a very lengthy standing ovation which can only be quelled by an announcement of appreciation followed by a curtain.
You would think this would be more than enough for one
man... but... there is more.... much more... listen to this...
I'm also putting name attractions into Indian Casinos, especially in the desert area where we have our second
home, i.e., Palm Desert, California. Lately we have played Jerry Vale, (twice) Buddy Greco, Kay Starr and the
Four Freshmen are next.
And, finally, other than doing a lot of one nighters, we are putting all of the star attractions into another
Performing Art center in Whittier, California, just about a short hour from downtown L.A.
There is a lot of pressure on me to write a book, especially from Steve Allen, who has written a few. Mine would be a
biography about my experiences in the F.B.I, where I served as a Special Agent under J. Edgar Hoover for 6
years, combined with a plethora of "showbiz" stories.
Since you so kindly ask for more information on my activities, I will tell you that I am deeply involved in producing
shows for the years 2000, and 2001. One of them I am calling "BIG BAND COMMAND PERFORMANCE". This is where I use my
Big Band Alumni Orchestra---made up of men who played with many of the famous big bands and I augment them by using
four different conductors. We play only the biggest hits of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Harry James and Tommy
Dorsey and what we are really offering is a "smorgasbord" of the biggest hits of that famous era. We always get
a standing ovation and sometimes from people who can hardly stand..
Another show is dedicated solely to the music of Cole Porter. I used a band and four singers and I write, produce
and direct it. We toured it very successfully, for four months, nine years ago and it's time to do it again.
We plan to repeat another show which I toured before, "4 Girls 4", starring, of course, four girl singers of considerable
fame and a big band. I will probably use Kay Starr, Gloria DeHaven, Fran Warren and Beryl Davis, who sang with Glenn
Miller's Air Force band or Nanette Fabray.
I'm trying to create a new show called "Funny Ladies" but anticipate difficulty in casting it since I need some
pretty big names.
Finally, I work with a company which produces Broadway Shows in a most outstanding manner and I hope to get them sold
on a tour.
Now, is this a busy music man or what?! You may wonder how it all started. Well, ladies and gentlemen, in
Joe's own words, here goes...
I was born in Washington, D.C. on the site which is now the Supreme Court of the United States. So, I can
into that building and say, "Somewhere under this floor is the exact spot where I was born. No big deal but I
had to start somewhere.
I started singing and leading a dance band when I was in high school, in D.C.and continued doing
that, in fact, worked my
way through college, Catholic University Of America Law School, by pursuing the musical thing. Upon
graduating from law
school, I immediately joined the F.B.I. under J.Edgar Hoover and worked as a Special Agent for six
years. Of course, I
did all the things that FBI agents do---counter espionage, criminal cases, et. al.
After six years I was very anxious to get back into music. Luckily, the ad agency which handled the American Tobacco
Company's shows heard one of my demos and I was immediately hired to sing on the Lucky Strike "Your Hit Parade", before
my resignation from the Bureau had become final. I was co-starred with Johnny Mercer and that lasted for about six months.
I decided to give Hollywood a try and---this is hard to believe---my first day of making the rounds with a brand new
agent I was offered contracts by both Paramount and Warner Brothers motion picture studios. I signed with Warner
Bros. and worked, briefly in two pictures. Warner's told me to forget about singing because they had Gordon
MacRae. I couldn't handle that and I had received an offer from Decca Records. I left Warner Bros. and recorded
my first song, AGAIN with Gordon Jenkins
Orchestra. It jumped to #1 on all
of the charts and stayed there for many weeks. I also recorded with Victor Young and did at least a dozen sides
with no name backing.
Television was happening and I got my own "Joe Graydon Show" on Channel 13, in L.A. which had me on for five days
a week, two hours a day and one half hour evening show in prime time. After a few years I moved to Channel 7, (ABC)
and did five days a week and a another prime time show for a year.
Suddenly I found myself in the night club business, operating the Joe Graydon Supper Club, in Long Beach,
California. I opened with the Bobby Troup Trio and segued to Big Band singing stars like Helen Forrest, The Pied
Pipers, et.al. One year of this and I was ready for something new.
Las Vegas beckoned and I spent 2 years there, singing in the lounges and doing TV and radio (I had been a disc jockey
in Washington,D.C., and Los Angeles. -----Here I have to insert that I was on a 50,000 watt station in L.A. and I
had my own private engineer who controlled four turntables and a large tape machine. He was an 11 year old electronic
genius and his name was Jay Graydon. He'll tell you that this was one of the most exciting things in his entire life.
Rock and roll hit the scene and I viewed it as a major "tidal wave" and no place for my type of singing. I had long
harbored an ambition to become a personal manager, feeling that my legal background would be of great help in that
field. It wasn't long before I began to pick up clients from the Big Band era. Helen Forrest was my first and she
is still one of my dearest friends, though she is not singing anymore. I also represented Connie Haines, Dick
Haymes, Johnny Desmond, The Pied Pipers, The Modernaires, Ray Eberle and other stars of that time frame.
I did this for 20 years and then decided to try my hand at producing shows, using people whom I represented. My first
show, "The Fabulous Forties" starred Dick Haymes, Helen Forrest, The Pied Pipers and an 18 piece band. Twenty years
later I am still producing such shows and our corporation, JOMAR Productions, Inc., has become the largest producer
of Big Band events on this planet.
All of these shows became cross country tours which lasted for three months of one nighters. Sandwiched between them I
produced tours with Steve Allen, Mel Tormé, Vic Damone, Gordon MacRae, and many others beside writing, producing
and directing a 4 month tour devoted solely to the music of Cole Porter. That worked so well that we repeated the
formula and did a six month tour of nothing but Irving Berlin music.
Here is a compilation album by the Gordon Jenkins Orchestra - released in 2006,
featuring for instance Joe Graydon singing Again
on CD 2 track 3.
Gordon Jenkins - A Musical Prodigy
Released: November 10, 2006
Number of Discs: 2
Label: Jasmine Music
Cat.no: JASCD 660
TRACKS: Disc: 1
1. Manhattan Tower-A Musical Narrative: Magical City/The Party/New York's
2. You Have Taken My Heart
3. Blue Prelude
4. When a Woman Loves a Man
5. With You So Far Away
6. Homesick, That's All
7. P.S. I Love You
8. Blue Evening
10. Alone Again
11. Marietta's Waltz
12. Lady and the Cellist
13. Mood at Midnight
14. California: A Musical Narrative
1. Maybe You'll Be There
2. I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Any More
3. Again 4. Don't Cry Joe (Let Her Go, Let Her Go, Let Her Go)
5. My Foolish Heart
7. First Dream: The Professor - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
8. Second Dream: The Conductor - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
9. Third Dream: The Caretaker - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
10. Fourth Dream: The Cocktail Party - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
11. Fifth Dream: The Pink Houseboat - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
12. Sixth Dream: The Nightmare - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
13. Seventh Dream: The Girl on the Rock - Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, Bill Lee
Label: BMG/RAZOR & TIE
Catalog number: RE 2143-2
1. Part- I Magical City
2. Part- II The Party
3. Part- III New York's My Home
4. Part- IV Love In A Tower
5. Married I Can Always Get
6. Maybe You'll Be There
7. Goodnight Irene
8. For You, For Me, For Evermore
9. I Don't See Me In Your Eyes Any More
Razor & Tie Showbiz Series
10. You're Mine, You
11. Again 12. I Can Dream, Can't I
13. Tzena, Tzena, Tzena
14. Don't Cry Joe (Let Her Go, Let Her Go, Let Her Go)
15. God Bless The Child
16. My Foolish Heart
18. So Long (It 's Been Good To Know Yuh)
19. It's All In The Game
20. I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
21. The Nightmare- Episode 6 Of The Seventh Dream
Joe Graydon also sings MY FOOLISH HEART with Gordon Jenkins on the compilation album
1950, "MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC!" 20 Original Recordings, Transfers by David Lennick and Graham Newton, NAXOS
NOSTALGIA 8.120637 [57.21]
Here is a review of Joe Graydon's performance...
Next comes a soft and slow introduction from Gordon Jenkins and his orchestra leading in Joe Graydon in
singing "My Foolish Heart" recorded in November 1949 in Los Angeles. It’s a short song but what you hear is
gentle and silvery from both the orchestra and Joe Graydon, who has a voice that is soothing and mellow without
being too cloying.