Legends & Legacies View More

The Little Lady of the Big Band

Published: 9/22/2012

Connie Haines died four years ago today. The petite singer with the big, big voice lit up the stage with Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey. Originally published September 2008 on Obit-Mag.com.

When Connie Haines joined Frank Sinatra as lead vocalist of Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra, she was already something of a known talent. Dorsey, the trombone-playing bandleader, heard Haines sing in a New Jersey club just once before he asked her to join his band. Clearly, Dorsey wasn’t listening to Fred Allen’ NBC radio program a decade earlier in 1935 when Haines, then a 13-year-old, won an amateur signing contest under her birth name, Yvonne JaMais. Though the names were different, Dorsey would have instantly recognized the wide-open timbre of her voice and the rapid rhythms of her delivery.

Connie Haines: Singin' and Swingin' (Amazon.com)

Connie Haines: Singin' and Swingin' (Amazon.com)



Haines, a petite, black-haired beauty with a voice as big as an orchestra, died on September 22, 2008. She was 87.

Dorsey’s orchestra was Haines’ big break, and it rocketed her to World War II-era stardom. Haines scored hits sassy numbers like, “Lemme Go” and versions of “Shoo Shoo Baby” and “A Bushel and a Peck.”

According to the New York Times Obit:

“Miss Haines made 200 recordings, including 24 records that sold more than 50,000 copies; regularly filled up prestigious nightclubs like the Latin Quarter in New York; and performed five times at the White House. Polls in music magazines in the 1940s rated her as one of the top female band singers.”

Haines kept performing well into her 80s, lighting up nostalgic fires at clubs near her home in Clearwater Beach, Florida.





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