7 October 1911, Akron, Ohio, USA, d. 21 May 1973, Stuart, Florida, USA. Monroe was a Wisconsin State Trumpet Champion in 1926 with an ambition to become an opera singer. This eventually led him to join Austin Wylie And His Golden Pheasant Orchestra and Larry Funk And His Band Of A Thousand Melodies. He studied voice at the New England Conservatory Of Music, and in 1939 sang and played for the Jack Marshard Orchestra. Monroe then formed his own band in Boston in 1940, and immediately had a big hit with There I Go, quickly followed by My Devotion, When The Lights Go On Again, Lets Get Lost and his theme tune Racing With The Moon. His robust baritone, sometimes called The Voice With Hairs On Its Chest, sold the band to the public, although Monroe also had some leading sidemen such as future Glenn Miller trumpeter Bobby Nichols, guitarist Carmen Mastren, drummer Alvin Stoller and vocalist Marilyn Duke.
Throughout the 40s Monroe had great success in clubs, radio and especially on records. There! Ive Said It Again, Ballerina and Riders In The Sky each sold over a million, while Someday, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, Red Roses For A Blue Lady, The Trolley Song, Seems Like Old Times, How Soon and Sound Off all made the US Top 10. Monroe also made two movies in the 40s: Meet The People (1944) with Lucille Ball and Dick Powell, and Carnegie Hall (1947), which featured Monroe with the New York Symphony Orchestra. He disbanded the orchestra in the early 50s and worked in television. Monroe was also involved in movies such as Singing Guns (1950) and many other B-movie westerns, sometimes as a singing cowboy. In 1955 he also flirted with the rock age by getting his recording of Leiber And Stollers Black Denim And Motor Cycle Boots into the US Top 40. He had his biggest US hits the following year with Dont Go To Strangers (number 38) and In The Middle Of The House (number 11). He was still active, touring, playing clubs and running his own Massachusetts restaurant until his death in 1973.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.