Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

 

During 1939, at the recommendation of “the dean of American popular music” Paul Whiteman, the Liggett and Meyers Tobacco Company and their advertising agency Newell-Emmett signed Glenn Miller to replace Whiteman on the weekly Chesterfield Cigarettes radio series that was broadcast over CBS on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern). In addition to changing the format for Miller to fifteen minute broadcasts every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10:00 p.m. (Eastern), the sponsor, agency and network hedged their bets by adding the Andrews Sisters vocal group for the first 13 weeks of the new series. Glenn Miller and the producers had to give at least one tune per program to the Andrews Sisters and therefore had a challenge fitting as much of Miller’s music into the programs as possible. In particular, Miller still wanted his own vocalists Ray Eberle, Marion Hutton and novelty singer/tenor saxophone star Tex Beneke to be featured on all of the programs. Their solution were the “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” medleys that were broadcast every Wednesday night during the joint tenure with the Andrews Sisters. With the exception of an hiatus during the 1941 ban by the radio networks of ASCAP-licensed music, Miller continued the medleys on his “Chesterfield Moonlight Serenade” broadcasts over CBS until he broke up his band in September 1942 to join the military. After joining the service, Miller brought the medley format back on his CBS and NBC “I Sustain the Wings” broadcasts in 1943 and 1944. The medley format was also used on “American Band of the AEF” braodcasts over AEFP and the BBC from London in 1944 and Paris in 1945. RCA Victor, BMG and Sony Legacy would later use some of the medleys for record and CD reissues culled from Glenn Miller’s broadcasts.

Detailed histories of the medleys arranged and performed by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra and the Glenn Miller Army Air Forces Orchestra can be found at the Glenn Miller Archive website among other historic studies:

https://www.colorado.edu/amrc/glenn-miller/gma-studies/marvelous-miller-medleys