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Dolly Dawn 7/21/01

Although Ina Ray Hutton was considered to be the first 'All Girl' Orchestra leader, a kind of gimmicky thing at the time, but possibly one of the most entertaining and energetic talents we had ever seen... it was Dolly Dawn while with the George Hall Orchestra that became the first girl singer, or any singer at that time, to become more popular than the bandleader. 

George Hall was then asked to hand his baton over to Dolly Dawn in 1935. She then earned her title of being... The first woman bandleader!

Unfortunately Miss Dawn passed away just a few months after this interview. 

Enjoy this historical interview

Biography for Dolly Dawn

During the golden age of the big bands, there were many female vocalists who became a defining element, and sometimes the star attraction, of the ensembles they worked with. Noteworthy examples include Bea Wain with Larry Clinton, Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb, and Doris Day with Les Brnwn. There was no other swing era association, however, that quite paralleled the unique partnership between Dolly Dawn and George Hall's Hotel Taft Orchestra. The diminutive and ebullient Miss Dawn evolved into the focal point of the band so promptly and decisively that Hall eventually decided it would be in everyone's best interests to hand her the reins of leadership! It was a remarkable turn of events, even though this new arrangement only lasted several months before Dolly decided to try and make her way as a solo artist. Nevertheless, the many splendid sides attributed to "Dolly Dawn & Her Dawn Patrol" rank high among the best-loved recordings of the era. Dolly proved to have an equally deft touch with both rhythm tunes and ballads and some of her finest moments have been collected for you here.

Our story begins with the early bandleading efforts of George Hall, who in the late '20s settled down for an extended stay at the Arcadia Ballroom in New York. Billed as George Hall's Arcadians, the band made its first recordings in 1927. They were largely uninspiring efforts devoid of any personality, due largely to the tact that Halt relied on stock arrangements and used prolific studio singers such as Scrappy Lambert and Irving Kaufman for the vocals. The band's lack of charisma was in many ways a direct reflection at Hall, who Metronome writer George Simon once characterized as, "an affable man who looked more like the chief buyer in a men’s clothing store than a bandleader.“ Hall was in fact a musician, and his chosen Instrument was the violin. Regrettably, rather than complementing his band's efforts, Hall’s fiddle playing often seemed intrusive, as though it were cutting against the grain of the overall presentation. He did manage to craft a “businessman's bounce“ sort of sound that many dancers found appealing, however, which made his group an ideal candidate for the hotel circuit.

The Hall band found its most enduring residency at New York's Hotel Taft. Using the tag line “Dance With Romance,“ they settled into the hotel's Grill Room in 1933 and remained a fixture there far several years. By this time Hall had recruited a few capable vocalists, including Johnny McKeever and Sonny Schuylur. His first major female singing star was an excellent vocalist named Loretta Lee, who joined the band in 1933 at the beginning of both its Hotel Taft engagement and a new recording contract with RCA's Bluebird subsidiary label. When Lee left the Hall band in 1935, she was replaced by a cherubic 16 year old who was born Theresa Maria Stabile in Newark, New Jersey on February 3, 1919. Armed with the more euphonious stage appellation of Dolly Dawn, she joined Hall in July of 1935 and struck a chord with the public almost immediately. By the following year she'd already been featured In a Vitaphone short subject with the band, and her vocals were boosting Hall's Bluebird recordings to new levels of popularity.

The main factor in transforming Hall and Dolly Dawn into national favorites was the phenomenal radio exposure afforded them by the Hotel Taft. For six days a week they broadcast a 30-minute program over the CBS radio network from noon to 12:30. It was not only an ideal platform from which to promote their recordings, but also an irresistible magnet for writers and song publishers seeking a high profile plug, giving them the first crack at a wide variety at material. The only trace at an Achilles' heel was Hall's failure to find an arranger to pen instrumental charts of a quality that would give the band a truly distinctive, individual sound. He employed some respected talent, including George Paxton, who played sax far Hall and later formed a band of his own, but never quite found someone with the magic touch. Instead, the burden of helping the Hall band stand out from the pack fell increasingly on the diminutive shoulders of Miss Dawn. Dolly proved equal to the task, and she deserves a great deal more credit for her talent than she is usually given in latter-day histories of the period.

Dolly Dawn was simply masterful when it came to selling a song. If the tune in question was an up-tempo novelty like “Okolehao“ or “0oooo-Oh Boom!,“ her infectious sense of swing and a strategically employed trill in her voice gave the material a tremendous boost. She was unusually adept at toying with tempos, sometImes sneaking up on the notes after lagging behind the beat, and occasionally punching up a lyric with a vocal wail that was somewhat reminiscent of Al Jolson. On ballads like “(Have You Forgotten) The You and Me That Used to Be“ and “How Did He Look?“, Dolly conveyed a knowing sense of sophistication was quite remarkable for her tender years. No less an authority on popular singing than Ella Fitzgereld has expressed admiration for Dolly's work once recalling that she used to skip school to hear Dawn sing. Her reputation in critical circles would no doubt be much higher today if Dolly had been featured with a celebrated swing ensemble Instead of a “hotel band,“ and made records more along the lines of those that Mildred Bailey turned out with Red Norvo. Although they collaborated on many wonderful recordings, Dolly sometimes found herself swimming against the tide of the Hall band’s staid approach.

A perfect example is their 1937 recording of “Bei Mir Bist Du Shon” Dolly's vocal is all that could be hoped for, but the instrumental arrangement sounds so stiff and clipped that it does little to flatter her efforts. This situation improved somewhat when Hall began featuring Dolly with the looser small group backing of several musicians culled from the main band, which is where the billing “Dolly Dawn & her Dawn Patrol Boys“ originated. It should be noted, however, that Hall noticeably improved the sound of his band as the years went by. By late 1939, shortly before he left the Taft Hotel, Hall had cut back considerably on his fiddling and hired some impressive new musicians, including a rhythm section featuring Tony Mottola on guitar, Nick Fatool on drums, Johnny Guarnieri on piano, and Doc Goldberg on bass. In a recent interview, guitarist Mottola recalled that his first recorded solo with the Hall band took place on their 1939 rendition of “Shine.“ By 1937 the band had switched its recording affiliation from Bluebird to Vocalion, the label on which they found their greatest commercial success.

TheIr all-time biggest hit arrived early in 1938 with a jaunty Interpretation of “You're a Sweetheart,“ the title song from a 1931 Universal musical starring George Murphy and Alice Faye. The tune fit Dolly like a glove, rapidly became a signature song for her, and in a few weeks the single release was the most popular record in the nation. Follow-up hits like “Who Blew Out the Flame?“ and “Goody Goodbye” were that era’s equivalent of top ten records. Dolly's appeal as a featured performer was growing at the same time that Hall’s interest In fronting the band was waning, twin developments that were soon to lead to an unusual changing of the guard. Hall had a nose for publicity as witnessed by the widely circulated but false story that he had at one point “adopted” Dolly (she already had parents of her own!). He capitalized on his decision to step back from the limelight and simply manage the band by hosting an elaborate ceremony at New York's Roseland Ballroom an July 4, 1941. At this event, which was attended by fellow bandleaders Vincent Lopez and Johnny Long among many other celebrated personalities, Hall publicly turned over the band’s leadership to Dolly. Dolly Dawn & Her Dawn Patrol kept flying until March of 1942 when they were grounded by the new realities of a country at war. With America's entry into World War II, many of the best musicians were suddenly drafted. It made increasingly little sense for Dolly to shoulder the numerous burdens of leading a band when the potential for lucrative nightclub work as a single loomed so beckoningly. Unfortunately, she never quite scaled the same heights as solo performer. The hits dried up after 1942, although she did score a modest comeback with her 1948 rendItion of “The Same Old Cry“ for Regent. Nevertheless, Dolly has continued recording and performing, and as of this writing she remains a vibrant reminder of a marvelous era in popular music, In 1998 she was honored with induction into the Big Band Hall of Fame, a worthy tribute to a great lady who is definitely a sweetheart, if there ever was one, JOSEPH F. LAREDO, 2001.

Dolly Dawn Discography

Records under the name of DOLLY DAWN or DOLLY DAWN AND HER DAWN PATROL are marked with an asterisk (*)

Unmarked are those under the name of GEORGE HALL'S Orchestra

New York, July 12, 1935

92596-1 Weather Man - • BLUEBIRD B-6017

92599-1 My Very Good Friend The Milkman -- BLUEBIRD B-6015

92701-1 I Never Saw a Better Night - (DOLLY DAWN- SONNY SCHUYLER) BLUEBIRD-6016

92702-1 When You Are In My Arms - -

92703-1 Young Ideas - BLUEBIRD B-6015

New York, September 14, 1935

95031-1 In The Dark - BLUEBIRD-B6100, REGAL ZONOPHONE MR-1905

95032-1 The Gentleman Obviously Doesn't Believe (In Love) -

95033-1 Accent On Youth - BLUEBIRD B-6099, REGAL ZONOPHONE MR-1916

95034-1 Will Love Find A Way? - BLUEBIRD B6101

95035-1 *As Long As The World Goes 'Round And Around - BLUEBIRD B-6098, REGAL ZONOPHONE MR-1901

95036-1 *No Strings (I'm Fancy Free) -

New York, September 27, 1935

95084-1 A Picture of Me Without You - (DOLLY DAWN- SONNY SCHUYLER) BLUEBIRD B-6l27

95085-1 Got A Bran' New Suit - -

93118-1 Santa, Bring My Mommy Back To Me - BLUEBIRD B-6172

98121-1 *Shine - *per Bluebird BLUEBIRD B-6170

98122-1 *Twenty-Four Hours A Day - -

98123-1 *Yankee Doodle Never Went To Town - BLUEBIRD B-6171

98124-1 *Georgia Rockin' Chair - BLUEBIRD B-6171

New York, December 20, 1935

98438-1 Moon Over Miami - BLUEBIRD B-6214

98439-1 *I'm Sittin' High On A Hill Top - BLUEBIRD B-6216

98440-1 *Quicker Than You Can Say Jack Robinson- BLUEBIRD B-6217,

98441-1 *Eeny Meeny Miney Mo - BLUEBIRD B-6216

98442-1 *The Broken Record - BLUEBIRD B-6217

New York, January 31, 1936

99024-1 I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket- -

99025-1 What's The Name Of That Song? - (DOLLY DAWN-JOHNNY MCKEEVER) BLUEBIRD B-6281

99026-1 If You Love Me - -

99027-1 *I'm Gonna Clap My Hands - BLUEBIRD B-6268,

99028-1 *Wake Up And Sing - -

New York, February 6, 1936

99544-1 Ev'ry Minute Of The Hour - BLUEBIRD B-6282,

New York, April 24, 1936

101533-1 Love Came Out Of The Night - -

101534-1 It's A Sin To Tell A Lie - BLUEBIRD B-6378,


101535-1 *Robins And Roses - BLUEBIRD B-6381,


101536-1 *Cabin In the Sky - BLUEBIRD B-6382

101537-1 *You Can't Pull The Wool Over My Eyes--REGAL ZONOPHONE MR-2137

101538-1 *I'll Stand By - BLUEBIRD B-6381, REGAL ZONOPHONE MR-2124

101539-1 Apple Dumpling - (DOLLY DAWN-JOHNNY MCKEEVER) BLUEBIRD B-6398

 New York, August 7, 1936

102425-1 There's Two Sides To Ev'ry Story - BLUEBIRD B-6510

102426-1 *When A Lady Meets A Gentleman Down South- BLUEBIRD B-6507,

102427-1 *Knock, Knock, Who's There? - -

104066-1 My Day Begins And Ends With You - BLUEBIRD B-6506

104067-1 Please Keep Me In Your Dreams - BLUEBIRD B-6509

New York, September 11, 1936

0418-1 *Sing A Song Of Nonsense (Pocketful of Love) - BLUEBIRD B-6576,


0419-1 *Copper-Colored Gal - REGAL ZONOPHONE MR-2323

0602-1 *Darling, Not Without you - BLUEBIRD B-6561

0604-1 Mickey Mouse's Birthday Party - BLUEBIRD B-6581

0605-1 Sweetheart, Let's Grow Old Together (w)- BLUEBIRD B-6562

0606-1 *Peter Piper - BLUEBIRD B-6561,


New York, September 17, 1936

0649-1 Who Loves You? - BLUEBIRD B-6591, REGAL ZONOPHONE MR-2303

0651-1 If We Never Meet Again - BLUEBIRD B-6579

New York, December 1, 1936

03501-1 *Better Get Off Your High Horse - BLUEBIRD B-6699

03502-1 *I Stumbled Over Love - BLUEBIRD B-6701

03503-1 *There's Frost On The Moon - BLUEBIRD B-6699,


03507-1 *A Treat For The Eyes - (DOLLY DAWN-JOHNNY MCKEEVER) BLUEBIRD B6701

03509-1 Heaven In My Heart - -

New York, January 27, 1937

04327-1 *I Can't Break The Habit Of You - BLUEBIRD B-6796

04328-1 *The Meanest thing You Ever Did Was Kiss Me - BLUEBIRD B-6797

04329-1 *What Will I Tell My Heart? - BLUEBIRD B-6796

04331-1 *How Could You? - BLUEBIRD B-6797, REGAL ZONOPHONE MR-2468

New York, January 30, 1937

04538-1 When The Poppies Bloom Again - BLUEBIRD B-6800

New York, March 4, 1937

06125-1 *I've Got Rain In My Eyes - BLUEBIRD B-6861

06126-1 *The Mood That I'm In - -

06127-1 Blue Hawaii - BLUEBIRD B-6859

06128-1 Sweet Leilani - -

06129-1 Vienna Dreams (w) - BLUEBIRD B-6874, REGAL ZONOPHONE MR-2459

06130-1 Seventh Heaven (w) - -

New York, March 25, 1937

M-308- Coronation waltz -v?? Variety

M-309- Sorority Waltz -v??

M-310- The Love Bug Will Bite You (If You Don't Watch out) -v??

M-311- Spring Cleaning (Getting Ready For Love) -v??

M-312- It's Swell Of You -v??

M-313- There's A Lull In My Life -v??

New York, March 31, 1937

M-345- *Hello, Hawaii! How Are You? - Variety

M-346 - *Okolehao -

New York, April 12, 1937

M-390 *To A Sweet Pretty Thing - Variety

M-391 *Swell People -

M-392- Where Is The Sun ? -v??

M-393- Old Plantation -v??

New York, May 6, 1937

M-443- Love Is Never Out Of Season -v?? Variety

M-444- *Alibi Baby - Vocalion 3770

M-445- A Message From The Man In The Moon -

M-446- Tomorrow is Another Day -

M-447- Our Penthouse On Third Avenue -v??

M-448- *(Have You Forgotten) The You And Me That Used To Be - Vocalion 3770

New York, July, 1937

M-573- My Cabin of Dreams - Vocalion 3775

M-574- Lovely One -v?? -

M-575- *Yankee Doodle band - Vocalion 3776

M-576- *Let's Have Another Cigarette - -

M-577- Am I In Love ? -v?? Vocalion 3781

New York, August 9, 1937

M-579- *Have You Got Any Castles, Baby? - Vocalion 3780, Variety VA621

M-580- *You've Got Something There - -

M-581- Remember Me ? -v?? Vocalion 3781

New York, September 15, 1937

M-636- If You Were Someone Else -v?? Vocalion 3791

M-637- You And I Know -v??

M636-1 *Blossoms On Broadway - Vocalion 3790

M-639-1 *You Can't Stop Me From Dreaming -

M-640-2 You're My Dish -+ Variety 663, Vocalion 3797

M-641-1 More Power To You -v??

New York, November 15, 1937

M-673- I've Hitched My Wagon to A Star - Vocalion 3887

M-674- How Many Rhymes Can You Get? (I Love To Rhyme With You) - v?? Vocalion 3873

M-675- *Let's Pitch A Little Woo -v?? Vocalion 3874

M-676- Let That Be A Lesson To You - Vocalion 3887

M-677- *You're A Sweetheart - Vocalion 3874

M-678- I'm The One Who Loves You -v?? Vocalion 3873

New York, December 15, 1937

M-697- *Two Dreams Got Together - Vocalion 3002

M-698- *Bei mir bist du schoen (Means That You're Grand)

New York, c. January 3, 1938

M-704- Sweet As A Song - Vocalion 3919

M-705- Half-Moon On The Hudson - -

M-706- *The One I Love - Vocalion 3933

M-707- *Melody Farm - -

M-708- I Simply Adore You -v?? Vocalion 3943

M-709- Always And Always -v?? -

New York, January 20, 1938

M-730- Did An Angel Kiss You (The Day You Were Born) -v?? Vocalion 3944

M-371- Smoke From A Chimney -v?? -

M-732- *On The Sentimental Side - Vocalion 3968, C 8995

M-733- Love Is Here To Stay - Vocalion 3957

M-734- I Was Doing All Right - -

M-735- My Heart Is Taking Less - Vocalion 3968

New York, February 24, 1938

M-762- *How'dja Like To Love Me? - Vocalion 4018

M-763- *You're An Education - Vocalion 4005, C 8995

M-764- Let's Sail to Dreamland - Vocalion 4004, C 8996

M-765- A Gypsy told me -v?? Vocalion 3991

M-766- Ti-Pi-Tin (w) - - C 8996

M-767- Sissy -v Vocalion 4004

M-768-1-2 *I Fall In Love With You Every Day- Rejected

M-769- You Better Change Your Tune -v?? Vocalion 4005

New York, Mar 21, 1938

M-769-3 *I Fall In Love With you Every Day - Vocalion 4018

  NOTE: - This may be a dubbing of one of the earlier takes.

New York, April 20, 1938

M-812- Says My Heart - Vocalion 4098, C 9045

M-813- Oh ! Ma-Ma (The Butcher Boy) - Vocalion 4085, C 9019

M-814- *As Long As We're Together - Vocalion 4128

M-815- Will You Remember Tonight Tomorrow? - Vocalion 4085

M-816- You Leave Me Breatless - Vocalion 4098, C 9045

M-817- *You'll Be Reminded Of Me - Vocalion 4128

New York, July 20, 1938

M-860-1-2 My Own - Vocalion rejected

M-861-1-2 I've Got A Date With A Dream - -

M-862-1-2 You're As Pretty As A Picture - -

M-863-1-2 This May Be The Night -v?? -

New York, July 30, 1938

M-860-3 My Own - Vocalion 4297, C 9150

M-861-3 I've Got A Date With A Dream - Vocalion 4283

M-862-2 You're As Pretty As A Picture - Vocalion 4297

m-863-3 This May Be The Night -v?? Vocalion 4283

New York, September 8, 1938

M-900- With You On My Mind - Vocalion 4407

M-901- *Who Blew Out The Flame ? - Vocalion 4383, C 9137

M-902- Why Not String Along With Me ? - Vocalion 4407

M-903- *The Girl Friend of The Whirling Dervish Vocalion 4383, C 9137 -

New York, November 15, 1938

M-920- *I Found My Yellow Basket - Vocalion 4509, C 9139

M-921-1 *Where Has My Little Dog Gone? -

M-922-1 Thanks For Ev'rything -v??

M-923-1 Say It with A Kiss -v??

New York, November 21, 1938

M-928-1 Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Heart - Rejected

M-929- You're Gonna See A Lot of Me- v?? Vocalion 4536

M-930-1 Do The Voodoo - v?? -

M-931- They Say - Vocalion 4523

New York, September 29, 1938

M-928-3 Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Heart - Vocalion 4523

New York, February 15, 1939

M-966-1 I Promise You - Vocalion 4682, C 9187

M-967- *Beethoven wrote it But It Swings - -

M-968- Chopsticks -v DOLLY DAWN Vocalion 4683

New York, March 2, 1939

M-986-1 Sing A Song Of Sunbeams - Vocalion 4723, C 9187

M-987- Hang Your Heart On A Hickory Limb - -

M-988-1 *Hooray For Spinach - Vocalion 4711

M-989-1 *Corn Pickin' - -

New York, March 30, 1939

WM-1013-1 Only When You're In My Arms -v?? Vocalion 4766

WM-1014-1 *The Lady's In Love With You - Vocalion 4804, C 9216

WM-1015-1 At A Little Hot Dog Stand - Vocalion 4766

WM-1016-1 *If You Ever Change Your Mind - Vocalion 4804, C 9216

New York, July 24, 1939

WM-1058-1 South Of The Border (Down Mexico Way) v?? Vocalion 5019, C 9295

WM-1059-1 *It's Funny To Everyone But Me - Vocalion 5045

WM-1060-1 Ding-Dong ! The Witch Is Dead - Vocalion 5019

WM-1061-1 *Love Grows On The White Oak Tree - Vocalion 5045

New York, September 27, 1939

WM-1079-A If What You Say Is True -v?? Vocalion 5142

WM-1080-A The Donkey Serenade -v?? -

WM-1081-A *Goody Goodbye - Vocalion 5160, C 9365

Wm-1082-A *Shine -

WM-1122-A *Smarty Pants - Vocalion 5293

WM-1123-A *Tic Tac Toe - -

WM-1124-A At Sundown - Vocalion 5160, Ca 9365

Wm-1125-A Faithful To You - -

New York, October 7, 1940

28798- *So You're The One - Okeh 5842

28799- Take Care - Okeh 5863

28780 *Hep-Tee-Hootie (Juke Box Jive) - Okeh 5842

28781 May I Never Love Again - Okeh 5863

 New York, December 4, 1940

2901- *I Could Kiss you For That - Okeh 5977

29202- It's Sad But True - Okeh 5954

29203- *How Come? - Okeh 5977

29204- How Did He Look ? - Okeh 5549

New York, July 24, 1941*

066976-1 *Marcheta - BLUEBIRD-B-11268

066977-1 *Are You Faithful? - -

066978-1 *Slow Poke - BLUEBIRD B-11251

066979-1 *Fancy Meetin' You - -

New York, September 11, 1941

067782-1 *All Alone - Rejected

067783-1 *A Gay Ranchero - BLUEBIRD B-11345

067784-1 *Hallelujah! - -

New York, December 1, 1941

068378-1 So It Goes - Rejected?

068379-1 Pig Foot Pete - BLUEBIRD B-11402

068380-1 The Meanest Thing You Ever Did Was Kiss Me Rejected ?

068381-1 There Goes My Dream - BLUEBIRD B-11402


W-135 *There Won't Be A Shortage Of Love - CLASSIC 5018

W-136 *She'll Always Remember - CLASSIC 5018

TS-101 * Ain't Nothing Wrong With That - Trojan 20101

TS-102 *What D'ya Do, Eh Joe? - Trojan 20101

3102 *You’re Not Worth My Tears v DOLLY DAWN Jubilee 6002

3103 *Be Anything (But Be Mine) v DOLLY DAWN Jubilee 6002

*It's Too Soon To Know - Jubilee 6036

*Oodle I Ay - Jubilee 6036

3109 *Smooth As Silk - Jubilee 6006

3107 *Getting Sentimental Over You - Jubilee 6006

5053 *Summertime - Regent 143

5054 *Cielito Lindo - Regent 143

5051 *The Same Old Cry - Regent 112

5052 *Something I Dreamed Last Night - Regent 112

*Give Thanks - OPAL 0113

*Still In Love - OPAL 0113

*Ace In The Hole - VANTONE 1001

*It May Be Wrong - VANTONE 1001

5059 * I Was Lucky - Regent 118

5074 * Money, Money, Money Regent 118

*I'm Through With Love - EVEREST 9-19302

*Runnin' Wild - EVEREST 9-19302

*W-132 Moonlight Cocktail - ELITE 5017

*W-136 Sing Me A Song Of The Islands - ELITE 5017

*If Someone Had Told Me -

*I Didn’t Know You Cared So Much (Acetate Demo) Associated Recording

*I Found You (Acetate Demo) Adelphi Sound

 Thanks to Reg and the invaluable American Dance Band Discography 1917-1942 by Brian Rust



Glenn MillerHarry JamesCab CallowayJimmy DorseyLouie ArmstrongLes Brown with Doris DayFrances LangfordSammy KayeThe Ink SpotsThe ModernairesBing CrosbyTex BenekeTommy DorseyFrank SinatraBob EberlyHelen ForrestRay eberleyKitty KallenBunny BerriganGene KrupaConnie HainesAlvino ReyThe Mills BrothersThe Andrews SistersAnita O'DayKeely SmithBillie EckstineCount_BasieDickHaymesVincent LopezWoody HermanHelen O'Connell