Paul Specht Biography

1895, USA, d. April 1954, New York City, New York, USA. The Paul Specht Orchestra was formed as a sextet in 1916 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Led by Specht himself on violin, the band soon enlarged to a 12-piece formation. A range of musicians would be employed by the band at various times, including Johnny O’Donnell, Russ Morgan, Harold Saiers, Don Lindley, Francis Smith, Frank Guarante, Chauncey Morehouse, Arthur Schutt, Harold Deppe, Joe Tarto, Hal Monquin, Arch Jones, Frank Quartell, Henry Wade, Roy Smeck, Charlie Spivak, Johnny Egan, Charlie Butterfield, Frank Kildert, Gil Detton, Billy Wolfe, Ted Noyes, Johnny Morris, Al Philburn, Ernie Warren, Foster Morehouse, Lou Calabrese, Jack Cressy, Bob Chester, Peter Van Steeder, Artie Shaw and Orville Knapp. Many of these sidemen would later become famous band leaders and musicians in their own right. Specht also employed a six-piece group, the Georgians, made up from the larger band’s ranks, to accompany him on personal appearances and recording sessions. Songs such as ‘Moonlight On The Ganges’, ‘Who Takes Care Of The Caretaker’s Daughter’ and the band’s twin theme tunes, ‘Evening Star’ and ‘Sweetheart Time’, were released on Columbia Records and OKeh Records. The group’s broadcast over the WWJ station in Detroit in the 20s was cited by many as the radio debut of the big band sound. Specht soon became a radio regular, prompting a flush of live performances. Often these were conducted by separate units contracted to appear under Specht’s name, of which there no less than 14 at one time. After a brief stay in Philadelphia he relocated permanently to New York, from where he also launched a European tour. However, he eventually left the band to form his own booking agency. Ultimately he was unable to compete with the industry monoliths such as MCA in this role. Nevertheless his legacy lived on in the very fabric of 30s and 40s dance band music, which he and his colleagues did so much to pioneer.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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