Beryl Davis Day

March 16, 1924 – October 28, 2011

 

A tribute to the British swing singer

Singer Beryl Davis was born March 16, 1924 in Plymouth, England.

One of the most popular British performers of the World War II. era, she gained early experience singing with her father’s group, the Oscar Rabin Band, starting when she was just eight.

Davis sang with Geraldo and the Sky Rockets Dance Orchestra, making her first significant jazz recording on a session with Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in 1939 when she was 15.

She also recorded with Arthur Young’s Hatchett Swingtette (1939-40), Stephane Grappelli (1943) when his group included pianist George Shearing, the Sky Rockets, the Squadronaires, and pianist Mel Powell.

During World War II. Davis often sang for British and American troops, sometimes live on the radio while German bombs during the Blitz fell close by.

She was discovered by Glenn Miller and performed with his Army Air Force Orchestra.

Beryl Davis also worked as an actress including in London Town (1946), Merry-Go-Round (1948) and Around The World Revue (1956)

In 1947, she moved to Los Angeles at the invitation of Bob Hope who featured her on his radio show.

For a year she was part of Your Hit Parade with Frank Sinatra on Your Hit Parade, and she sang on a few occasions with Benny Goodman.

Among her later musical activities was being part of the Four Girls singing group with Jane Russell, Rhonda Fleming, and Connie Haynes, having a hit with “Do Lord” in 1954.

She continued to sing at nightclubs and cruise ships into the 1970s, passing away on October 28, 2011 at the age of 87.

Here is Beryl Davis singing “Undecided” in 1939 with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, featuring Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.

-Scott Yanow

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