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Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904 - 1944) was an American jazz musician and band leader[?] in the swing era. One of his most famous pieces was "In the Mood", probably the most well-known recording of the style.

During the 1930s, Miller worked as a trombonist in several big bands, before forming his first band in 1937 (see 1937 in music), but it failed to distinguish itself from the many others of the era. Returning to New York after it broke up, at some point (Miller himself apparently could not recall exactly when) soon after he realised that his band's distinctive reed sound, formed by the clarinet and tenor saxophone playing the melody line with a number of other saxes harmonising, should be emphasised and that the sound might lift him above the crowd of other big bands of the era.

He formed a second band, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, in 1938 (see 1938 in music), which immediately attracted attention and big crowds to venues, and a series of recordings followed. On February 11, 1941 (see 1941 in music) Miller was presented with the first ever Gold record for "Chattanooga Choo Choo[?]".

His other popular hits included "Pennsylvania 6-5000", "String of Pearls", and "Moonlight Serenade".

In 1942 (see 1942 in music) Miller joined the US Air Force to play for American troops overseas. On December 14, 1944, he was scheduled to fly from England to Paris to play for the soldiers that had recently liberated the city. Miller's death remains somewhat of a mystery. The official explanation is that his plane went down somewhere over the English Channel, although many alternate theories have been suggested. The fact that neither Miller's remains, nor the wreckage of the Norseman plane he was travelling in were ever recovered from the channel have led to many conspiracy theories over the years.

To add fuel to the mystery, the official records of the airfield that Miller supposedly took off from on his way to Paris say that no planes took off that day due to bad weather. In addition, many supposed eye witnesses report to have seen Miller after the official date of death. Some former friends of Miller's have claimed to have seen him in France on the 15th. Others have claimed to see him at a party in Washington DC a few days later. Some have suggested that Miller had been killed during a secret mission, which led to his actual cause of death being covered up. Other sources think, he died after a heart attack in a brothel in Paris.

One possible supporting piece of evidence to the official record comes from members of a bomber crew that was returning to England on the day Miller was headed to Paris. The bomber's mission had been abandoned. Standard procedure called for the bombers to drop their unused payload into a specified location in the English Channel on their way back to England. One of the crew members claims to have seen a Norseman flying underneath the bombers as they dropped their bombs. Miller's Norseman would only have had to travel a few miles off of its course to be positioned directly under the returning bombers.

Miller's music is familiar to many born long after his death, after its use in a number of movies (notably "Moonlight Serenade" in Tom Hanks' Big). In 1989 (see 1989 in music), it was even used as the instrumental theme for Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers "Swing the Mood", a compilation mix that also included many early rock and roll tunes and was a number one single in Britain, Australia, and several other countries.



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