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Sammy Kaye

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Sammy Kaye (1910 — 1987) was a famous U.S. bandleader and songwriter.

He graduated from Rocky River High School in Rocky River, Ohio in 1927. He attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where he was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity. Kaye could play the saxophone and the clarinet, but he never featured himself as a soloist on either one.

A leader of one of the so-called “Sweet” bands of the Big Band era, he made a large number of records for Vocalion Records, RCA Victor, Columbia Records, and the American Decca record label. Kaye was known for an audience participation gimmick called “So You Want To Lead A Band?” where audience members would be called onto stage in an attempt to conduct the orchestra, with the possibility of winning batons. Kaye was also known for his use of “singing of song titles”, which was emulated by Kay Kyser and Blue Barron.

Musicians included Ralph Flanagan, Dale Cornell and Marty Oscard. Singers included Don Cornell (not related to Dale Cornell), Billy Williams, and Nancy Norman.

He was posthumously inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1992 and for his contribution
to the recording industry has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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