Skip to comments.Patty Andrews, Last Surviving Member of The Andrews Sisters, Dead at 94
Posted on 01/31/2013 9:40:14 AM PST by nickcarraway
Dominant 'girl group' had more than 90 chart hits themselves and two dozen more with Bing Crosby.
Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the greatest "girl group" of all time, died Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94.
The Andrews Sisters, who included Patty, Maxene and Laverne, were the dominant female vocal group of the mid-20th century, scoring more than 90 chart hits themselves and two dozen more with their frequent singing partner, Bing Crosby.
Their close harmony style influenced dozens of subsequent groups and singers, from the McGuire Sisters and the Pointer Sisters to En Vogue, Bette Midler and Christina Aguilera.
Their songs became standards of the era, often associated with World War II.
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," later recorded by Midler and others, was a wartime classic. Their other most popular songs included "Bie Mir Bist Du Schon," "Rum and Coca Cola," "Ferryboat Serenade,"
"Shoo Shoo Baby," "I Can Dream, Can't I?" and "I Wanna Be Loved."
Their No. 1 hits with Crosby included "Don't Fence Me In" and "Hot Time In the Old Town of Berlin."
They sold an estimated 100 million records over their career, and were noted for their versatility.
They could sing close harmony ballads, but also country-style tunes, jazz and swing. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" is widely considered one of the first songs in the style that after World War II would be known as rhythm and blues.
The sisters also appeared in 17 movies, many of them low-budget musicals, but also including "The Road to Rio." All three sisters were born to an immigrant family in Mound, Minn. They formed a singing group when Laverne was 14, Maxene was 9 and Patty 7, with Patty as the lead singer.
Their early models included the popular Boswell Sisters, and their successful shows at local theaters eventually propelled them to greater success on the road. They became radio, stage and touring fixtures during the War, and continued performing together until 1951, when Patty left for a solo career without notifying Maxene or Laverne.
This led to a bitter two-year battle that also involved their parents' estate, and reflected the fact the sisters had not always gotten along as well off-stage as they did while performing.
They reunited in 1956 and performed together for the next decade. Their final date together came on the "Dean Martin Show," Sept. 27, 1966. Laverne died of cancer the following year. Maxene and Patty performed together for a while after Laverne's death, but then split for good in the early 1970s. Maxene continued as a solo artist until her death in 1995 and Patty also performed as a soloist for many years.
They only had a few brief reunions over the years, and Maxene said shortly before her death that her estrangement from Patty was one of her few regrets. Patty Andrews was married to Terry Melcher for two years, 1947-1949. She married the group's pianist, Walter Weschler, in 1951, and they remained married until his death in 2010.
We were sitting out on the patio next to the Bocce Court at my Italian Club listening to the WW II radio station. One of the youngins asked what the hell we were listening to. The old timer said, “It’s music we bombed Japan to.”
I remember these girls and their songs. Our world is slipping away.
I loved their BOOGIE WOOGIE BUGLE BOY:
...absolutely great, marvelous to watch...and Patty, in addition to being a tremendous vocalist, was also real easy on the eyes...they were, in short, a great natural resource...
Buck Privates would not have been the same without them.
Always loved watching them in the old Abbott and Costello movies.
Just saw that in the theater for the first time recently.
You might enjoy this youtube video.
These ladies were very supportive of our WW11 troops.
I saw Patti in concert around 1989. He still sounded good.
Whoops. Make that “Patty.” My dad really enjoyed seeing someone he grew up listening to.
Huh? BWBB could be called a lot of things, but R&B is not one of them.
Which one of them bit the head off a live bat while on stage, or was that Ozzy Osborne?
Maybe, not by current standards, but, absolutely, yes.
Purdy Dames. Luv’d watching them in Black and Whites like “Road to Rio” when I was but a mere lad...
Did “he” now?
some of the iconic faces and voices of WW2 and the early 50’s.
A great loss , as is that era compared to today
My Uncle Jack played piano by ear.
One time in WW2, the Andrews Sisters showed up at his USO, but there was no band to accompany them. So Jack volunteered to play piano. They gave him some charts, but he couldn’t read music, so he just “winged it” for the entire show. It went great!
Now they are all gone...
WOW! She was still alive?
Great music. Too bad the sisters early on had falling outs.
"In Nazi Germany it was also a hit until its Jewish origins were discovered, at which point it was promptly banned."
As I recall, the Krauts first thought it was some kind of Old German.
I would disagree. Just because the players weren’t black doesn’t make it untrue. I hate how “R&B” is really code for “black”.
Interesting, but it IS German; nothing odd old or Jewish about it. Literally it means By me are you pretty.
In 1973, another artist did a cover version of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” which became a hit. As a result, the Andrews Sisters’ original version got some airplay.
Bei Mir, aka Nichevo (Russian for "nothing")--Charlie & His Orchestra, c. 1943
“Bei Mir” was originally written in Yiddish—a German dialect written in the Hebrew script. The English lyrics were written by Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin, both of whom were sons of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.
I knew it was a Yiddish song. The Original song was a duet (like "You're the Top"), with the lovers exchanging compliments. The English adaptation sung by the Andrews Sisters is obviously from the point of view of a female. The title was Germanized for the Andrews Sisters adaptation, as well, obviously. Still lovin' on the fact that it pissed off the Nazis. "Arayan" musical is as sterile and inane as "Arayan" physics.
I’ve always been more familiar with the Benny Goodman version of the tune. Martha Tilton on vocal. Didn’t even know the Andrews had their first hit with it until a few years back.
Saw Patty at an event about twenty years ago. It was weird when her ornery sister Maxine passed away a few years back, and the media gave it a ton of coverage, as if it were the end of an era, basically ignoring the fact that Patty was still very much around and very much kicking.
I was talking about the title in question only. Not surprising about it being Jewish authored, lots of Jewish songwriters. Interesting.
I may have written it wrong. There are many variations on the spelling. I think the real spelling is Yiddish and the variations might be similar languages, where people are writing what it sounds like to them.
NOT GUILTY, VERY NOT GUILTY, GUILTY!
I used to love their appearances in so many of the Saturday afternoon movies I watched on TV as a kid. I never forgot them.
I know alot of people in Heaven celebrating this news, but it makes me sad.
I know you won’t believe me because I’m a relatively young buck, but “what difference does it make!”, but I used to know all of Andrew’s sisters when they were little girls!
It always has been .URBAN is the new code word for black music.
R&B was the name Jerry Wexler (Atlantic Records) came up with in attempt to change the chart designation from "race records" to something else.
White people were likewise slurred by the establishment media. Country Western used to be called "hillbilly" in the trade publications (like Variety and Billboard). That was the chart, "the hillbilly chart". ASCAP wouldn't publish country or R&B. BMI would. When the two dejected forms morphed into rock and roll, ASCAP no longer had the hits (they wouldn't publish R&R either) so they alleged "tricks" and "payola" as the reason they no longer owned the charts.
However, Elvis and other artists DID manage to get the #1 hit on the R&B, Country, and Pop charts all at the same time. Something that the industry doesn't want to see happen ever again. The industry doesn't like small labels (whether they are called Sun or Sub-Pop) coming up with the "next big thing". Too many outdated artists are under longterm contracts to let some new fad ruin their plans and release schedules.
Note the hot babe (sorry Laz, she’s croaked) pretending to play the conductor, who steals the show: