A is for Andrews Sisters

Prelude: for this round of ABC Wednesday, I decided to do musical groups that featured family members. I actually found 24 groups, for all the letters except Q and U, though I did have to stretch some definitions. No Doobie Brothers, though.

Undoubtedly, I was inspired by writing about the Green Family Singers, and further when I watched The Sound of Music.
It may have been Bette Midler who introduced me to the music of the Andrews Sisters with her cover of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B in the early 1970s – LISTEN to a version by the Andrews. But in fact, I already owned some Andrews Sisters through Bing Crosby’s classic Christmas album, which featured Jingle Bells and Mele Kalikimaka [LISTEN], though I didn’t know the singers at the time, and I don’t recall if they were credited.

Fortunately, I have a friend named Fred Hembeck who is a fairly rabid Andrews Sisters fan, so now I actually have a couple albums of the classic tunes by Patty (the youngest, blonde), Maxene (middle sister, a brunette), and LaVerne (the eldest, the redhead). They were quite popular from the late 1930s on. “In the 1940s the sisters found themselves in high demand, and became the most profitable stage attraction in the entire nation, earning $20,000 a week. Aside from singing, the sisters were established radio personalities, and made appearances in 17 Hollywood movies. During the mid 1940s the sisters released eight new singles, six of which became bestsellers. Some of the hits include Rum and Coca Cola [LISTEN] and ‘I’ll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time.'”

Patty left the group in 1954, which also caused a personal schism; her sisters learned about it by reading it in the newspapers. They got back together, “professionally and personally,” in 1956 with a newer sound that “did not gain popularity with the public, who preferred hearing old hits.”

Laverne died in 1968 from cancer at the age of 55. Patty and Maxene continued to perform, together, but usually apart, into the 1990s. “In 1995, while on vacation in Cape Cod, Maxene had a heart attack and died. She was 79.” Patty died in January 2013, a few weeks shy of her 95th birthday.

I find that I really enjoy listening to them, more now than in my callow youth.

Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, the song for which I probably know them best
I Can Dream, Can’t I, which went #1 in late 1949 or early 1950
Don’t Fence Me In, with Bing Crosby, which went to #1 in 1944

A segment of the TV show What’s My Life (1959).



ABC Wednesday – Round 14


26 thoughts on “A is for Andrews Sisters”

    1. SP- nah, I found a workaround for Q. want to write what inherently interests me. Now my X will interest no one except me, I gather.


  1. “Rum and Coca-Cola” is one of my all time faves. I’m not sure when or why that song just hit with me, but it makes me feel so good… I think the reason I like a lot of the period’s time music is that it just makes me feel like life is both simpler and more relaxed than I tend to make it.

    I’m sort of toying in my mind with doing this round of ABC Wednesday…


  2. Oh gosh! I remember them well from my childhood because my parents were young adults in the ’40s and loved them, too.

    abcw team


  3. I’ve known their voices since I was a kid because of my mom’s love of music. She had some of their records. I grew up on music from the 1930s and 1940s. Then when I became a teen, my mom loved rock ‘n roll too.


  4. Hi, Roger!
    Thank you for introducing me to the Andrews Sisters! I just watched a video where they sing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B, so cute, and wonderful voices!
    Quite a challenge you have for your ABCs, can’t wait to see more groups. 🙂


  5. Beautiful harmonies. I think I’ve heard a different version of them singing Rum and Coca Cola which I remember a being a slightly faster. Love that song and its still played on the radio today. Some things are timeless.


  6. I think I saw them on some Abbot and Costello episodes. Looking forward to your posts in this theme. I did a music theme sometime ago and it was great fun.


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