November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956
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Trombonist, trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Tommy Dorsey was born on November 19, 1905 in Mahanoy Plane, Pennsylvania.
Tommy is the younger brother of swing bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. Until 1935, the two led the highly successful Dorsey Brothers Orchestra.
Tommy’s own band, which consistently released hits during the ‘30s and ‘40s, was one of the defining groups of the swing era.
Though he might not have the profile of a Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, or Harry James, Tommy James in fact was one of the most popular bandleader of the swing era in terms of record sales.
It took the arrival of the gyrator from Tupelo (that would be Elvis) to outsell him at RCA Victor. He aws consistently listed as being among the top two or three orchestras in the U.S. from the mid-19330s to the mid-1940s, the heart of the swing era.
Like so many musicians who went on to make a mark, he had a head start. His father was a music teacher and band director.