Hubert Prior Vallee, 28 July 1901, Island Pond, Vermont, USA, d. 3 July 1986, North Hollywood, California, USA. An immensely popular singer during the 20s and 30s, Vallee sang through a megaphone and is generally regarded as the first crooner - a precursor of Russ Columbo and Bing Crosby. He was also one of the first entertainers to generate mass hysteria among his audiences. Vallee was brought up in Westbrook, Maine, and learnt to play the saxophone in his teens, taking the name Rudy because of his admiration for saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft. During 1924/5 he took a year off from university to play the saxophone in London with the Savoy Havana Band led by Reginald Batten. At this time his singing voice, which was rather slight and nasal, was not taken seriously.
In 1928 he led his first band, at the exclusive Heigh-Ho Club on New Yorks 53rd Street. Billed as Rudy And His Connecticut Yankees, Vallee made an...
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