Sammy Kaye

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Sammy Kaye
Sammy Kaye (1952)
Sammy Kaye (1952)
Background information
Birth name Samuel Zarnocay, Jr.
Born (1910-03-13)March 13, 1910
Lakewood, Ohio
Died June 2, 1987(1987-06-02) (aged 77)
Manhattan, New York
Genres Big Band, Swing, Jazz
Occupation(s) Bandleader
Instruments Saxophone, Clarinet
Labels Vocalion Records, RCA Victor, Columbia Records, Bell Records, Decca

Sammy Kaye (March 13, 1910 – June 2, 1987), born Samuel Zarnocay, Jr., was an American bandleader and songwriter, whose tag line, "Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye", became one of the most famous of the Big Band Era.


Kaye, born in Lakewood, Ohio, graduated from Rocky River High School in Rocky River, Ohio.[1] At Ohio University in Athens, Ohio 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, Bell Records, and the American Decca record label. He was also a hit on radio. 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.

Shortly after the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, Sammy Kaye wrote the music and Don Reid wrote the words to "Remember Pearl Harbor", the tune of which was actually borrowed from Ohio University's "Alma Mater". His NBC Radio show was interrupted by the announcement of the attack. On December 17, 1941, RCA Victor recorded the song, with Sammy Kaye's Swing and Sway Band and The Glee Club.

His band members included Ralph Flanagan, Dale Cornell, John Murawski, Sid Rhein and Marty Oscard. Singers included Don Cornell (not related to Dale Cornell), Billy Williams (the country music singer with the Pecos River Rogeus), Tommy Ryan, Gary Willner, Barry Frank, Tony Russo, and Nancy Norman. All members of the band sometimes sang backing vocals in various combination as the "Kaydets".


Kaye had the following shows on network television:


Kaye died at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey. His body was returned to Lakewood, Ohio and after a Mass at St. Christopher Catholic Church in Rocky River he was buried in the family plot next to his parents at Lakewood Park Cemetery. Prior to his death in 1987, Sammy Kaye left his orchestra to Roger Thorpe of New Paltz, NY. Thorpe, an accomplished music professor at Suny Dutchess and director of the Dutchess Jazz Ensemble knew Sammy from over the years. Thorpe still continues to operate the orchestra to this day.

In popular culture

  • Kaye 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.
  • In the musical Bye Bye Birdie (1960), Kaye is mentioned in the lyrics of the song "Kids": "Why can't they dance like we did?/What's wrong with Sammy Kaye?"
  • Kaye is mentioned in the song "Opus No. 1" (1943).
  • In October 1939, Kaye's "sweet band" sound was satirized by Charlie Barnet and his Orchestra with the song "The Wrong Idea (Swing and Sweat with Charlie Barnet)" written by Charlie Barnet and Billy May.

Hit records

Year Single Chart positions
1937 "Swing and Sway" 15
"Josephine" 15
"Rosalie" 1
1938 "Sometimes I'm Happy" 18
"True Confession" 11
"Love Walked In" 1
"When They Played the Polka" 4
"I Married An Angel" 17
"All Ashore" 3
"Two Sleepy People" 6
"Carolina Moon" 15
"They Say" 11
"Hurry Home" 4
1939 "Star Dust" 16
"My Blue Heaven" 17
"Penny Serenade" 2
"There's a Hole In the Old Oaken Bucket" 10
"We've Come a Long Way Together" 8
"White Sails (Beneath a Yellow Moon)" 4
"My Heart Has Wings" 14
"Shabby Old Cabby" 7
"In Our Little Part of Town" 16
1940 "Last Night's Gardenias" 17
"Let There Be Love" 4
"Make Believe Island" 19
"Where Was I?" 11
"Dream Valley" 1
"A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" 21
"Along the Santa Fe Trail" 9
1941 "The Mem'ry of a Rose" 24
"Until Tomorrow (Goodnight My Love)" 10
"Daddy" 1
"The Reluctant Dragon" 12
"Harbor of Dreams" 22
"Minka" 14
1942 "The Shrine of St. Cecelia" 7
"(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover" 11
"Madelaine" 9
"Remember Pearl Harbor" 3
"Dear Mom" 21
"On the Street of Regret" 21
"Here You Are" 25
"Johnny Doughboy Found a Rose In Ireland" 13
"Wonder When My Baby's Coming Home" 19
"I Left My Heart At the Stagedoor Canteen" 3
"Where the Mountains Meet the Sky" 20
"I Came Here To Talk For Joe" 8
"My Buddy" 23
1943 "There Will Never Be Another You" 20
"Taking a Chance On Love" 13
1944 "There Goes That Song Again" 8
1945 "You Always Hurt the One You Love" 10
"Always" 10
"Don't Fence Me In" 4
"Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)" 6
"Just a Prayer Away" 10
"All of My Life" 10
"Gotta Be This or That" 6
"Good, Good, Good (That's You, That's You)" 10
"Chickery Chick" 1
"Walkin' With My Honey (Soon, Soon, Soon)" 10
"Promises" 17
"I Can't Begin To Tell You" 9
"It Might As Well Be Spring" 4
1946 "Atlanta, G.A." 6
"I'm a Big Girl Now" 1
"The Gypsy" 3
"Laughing On the Outside, Crying On the Inside" 3
"The Old Lamp-lighter" 1
"Sooner or Later (You're Gonna Be Comin' Around)" 8
"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" 11
1947 "The Egg and I" 16
"After Graduation Day" 22
"That's My Desire" 2
"The Red Silk Stockings and Green Perfume" 8
"The Echo Says 'No'" 17
"An Apple Blossom Wedding" 5
"The Little Old Mill (Went Round and Round)" 24
"Serenade of the Bells" 3
"Hand In Hand" 21
"Dream Again" 21
"I'll Hate Myself In the Morning" 20
1948 "I Love You, Yes I Do" 10
"Tell Me a Story" 8
"Baby Face" 11
"Down Among the Sheltering Palms" 14
"Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)" 4
1949 "Careless Hands" 3
"Powder Your Face With Sunshine" 13
"Kiss Me Sweet" 29
"Room Full of Roses" 2
"The Four Winds and the Seven Seas" 3
"Baby, It's Cold Outside" 12
"Dime a Dozen" 24
1950 "It Isn't Fair" 2
"Wanderin'" 11
"Roses" 5
"Harbor Lights" 1
1951 "Longing For You" 16
"Sin" 25
1952 "You" 28
"Walkin' To Missouri" 11
1953 "In the Mission of St. Augustine" 15
1961 "Welcome Home" 68
1964 "Charade" 36 10


  • All Ashore—vocals: Tommy Ryan (9-19-1938)
  • Along the Santa Fe Trail—vocals: Jimmy Brown (11-12-1940)
  • Chickery Chick—vocals: Nancy Norman and Billy Williams (11-8-1945)
  • Come Dance to the Hits—Decca DL 74502 (1964)
  • Daddy—vocals: Choir (3-31-1941)
  • Dance to My Golden Favorites—Decca DL 74121
  • Dreamy Dancing—Columbia CL-1254 (1959) Mono
  • Harbor Lights—Columbia (1950)
  • Here You Are—vocals: Elaine Beatty (4-7-1942, Chicago)
  • I Left My Heart at the Stagedoor Canteen—vocals: Don Cornell (6-5-1942)
  • I Married an Angel—vocals: Jimmy Brown (5-19-1938)
  • In Our Little Part of Town—vocals: Clyde Burke (12-5-1939, NY)
  • Josephine (8-25-1937, NY)
  • Let There Be Love—vocals: Tommy Ryan (3-20-1940, NY)
  • Minka—vocals: Tommy Ryan (6-18-1944)
  • Music Maestro Please—Columbia CL-668 (1956)
  • My Buddy—vocals: Tommy Ryan (12-30-1941)
  • Penny Serenade—vocals: Jimmy Brown (1-20-1939, NY)
  • Remember Pearl Harbor—vocals: Glee Club (12-17-1941)
  • Rosalie—vocals: Tommy Ryan (7-7-1937, NY)
  • Sammy Kaye Plays Swing & Sway for Your Dancing Pleasure—Decca DL 74306 (19??)
  • Serenade of the Bells—Columbia CL 1173 (19??)
  • Songs I Wish I Had Played...The First Time Around—Decca DL 74154 (19??)
  • Star Dust (5-27-1938, NY)
  • The Shrine of St. Cecelia—vocals: Don Cornell (10-23-1941)
  • The White Cliffs of Dover—vocals: Arthur Wright (11-11-1941)
  • True Confession—vocals: Charlie Wilson (10-27-1937)
  • Two Hearts That Pass in the Night—vocals: Arthur Wright (3-31-1941)
  • Until Tomorrow (Goodnight, My Love)—vocals: The Three Kaydettes (12-23-1940, NY)
  • What Makes Sammy Swing & Sway—Columbia CL 891 (1956)
  • White Sails (Beneath a Yellow Moon)—vocals: Clyde Burk (5-17-1939, NY)
  • Wonder When My Baby's Coming Home—vocals: Nancy Norman (6-5-1942, NY)


Sammy Kaye wrote or co-wrote the following songs: "Remember Pearl Harbor", "Until Tomorrow (Goodnight, My Love)", "Belmont Boogie", "Kaye's Melody", "Wanderin'", "I Gotta See A Dream About a Girl", and "Hawaiian Sunset".



  • Sammy Kaye's song "Red Silk" is featured in the 2011 video game L.A. Noire

See also


  1. Bona, Marc (February 12, 2012) "Sammy Kaye: Your 2 p.m. Buckeye Bits A&E trivia" The Plain Dealer
  2. Alex McNeil, Total Television, p. 770

External links