Vaughn Monroe

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Vaughn Monroe
Vaughn Monroe.jpg
Background information
Birth name Vaughn Wilton Monroe
Born (1911-10-07)October 7, 1911
Akron, Ohio, United States
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Stuart, Florida, United States
Genres Big band, traditional Pop
Years active 1940–1963
Labels RCA Victor, Dot Records
Website Vaughn Monroe Big Band Era Singer

Vaughn Wilton Monroe (October 7, 1911 – May 21, 1973) was an American baritone singer, trumpeter and big band leader and actor, most popular in the 1940s and 1950s. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; for recording and radio.


Monroe was born in Akron, Ohio, United States, on October 7, 1911.[1] He graduated from Jeannette High School in Pennsylvania in 1929,[2] where he was Senior Class President and voted "Most Likely to Succeed." After graduation, he attended Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he was an active member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. Monroe attended New England Conservatory for one semester in 1935, studying voice with Clarence B. Shirley.

Monroe formed his first orchestra in Boston in 1940 and became its principal vocalist. He began recording for RCA Victor's subsidiary Bluebird label. That same year, Monroe built The Meadows, a restaurant and nightclub on Route 9 in Framingham, Massachusetts, west of Boston.

The summer of 1942 brought a 13-week engagement on radio, as Monroe and his orchestra had a summer replacement program for Blondie on CBS.[3]

Monroe hosted the Camel Caravan radio program from The Meadows, starting in 1946 and, during this time, was featured in a Camel cigarettes commercial.[4] In 1952, Monroe and his orchestra had a weekly program on Saturday nights on NBC radio. Those programs originate on location from wherever the band happened to be touring. Each program featured a focus on a college in the United States.[5]

The Meadows burned to the ground in December 1980 after sitting shuttered and vacant for a number of years.

Monroe was tall and handsome, which helped him as a band leader and singer, as well as in Hollywood. He was sometimes called "the Baritone with Muscles," "the Voice with Hair on its Chest," "Ol' Leather Tonsils,"[6] or "Leather Lungs".[citation needed]

Monroe recorded extensively for RCA Victor until the 1950s, and his signature tune was "Racing With the Moon" (1941). It sold over one million copies by 1952, becoming Monroe's first million-seller, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.[7] Among his other hits were "In the Still of the Night" (1939), "There I Go" (1941), "There I've Said It Again" (1945), "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" (1946), "Ballerina" (1947), "Melody Time" (1948), "Riders in the Sky" (1949), "Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)" (1949), "Sound Off" (1951), and "In the Middle of the House" (1956). He also turned down the chance to record "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer".[2]

Movies also beckoned, although he did not pursue it with vigor. Monroe appeared in Meet the People (1944), Carnegie Hall (1947), Singing Guns (1950), and The Toughest Man in Arizona (1952). He co-authored The Adventures of Mr. Putt Putt (1949), a children's book about airplanes and flying.

Monroe as a guest star in a 1962 Bonanza episode.

He hosted The Vaughn Monroe Show on CBS Television (1950–51, 1954–55) and appeared on Bonanza, The Mike Douglas Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, Texaco Star Theatre, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and American Bandstand.[2] He was a major stockholder in RCA and appeared in print ads and television commercials for the company's TV and audio products.

After leaving the performing end of show business, he remained with RCA for many years as a TV spokesperson, executive, and talent scout. In the latter capacity, he helped give Neil Sedaka, among others, his first major exposure.[citation needed] He was awarded two Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for Recording at 1600 Vine Street and one for Radio at 1755 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.[8][9]

Personal life

Monroe married Marian Baughman, April 2, 1940, in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, where they had met as high school students. They did not date in high school but became romantically inclined toward each other when their paths crossed again in New York City, twelve years after graduation. They came back to Jeannette for their wedding. They had two children: Candace (born 1941) and Christina (born 1944). They remained married until Vaughn's death in 1973.[8][9] Monroe was a licensed pilot and often flew himself to tour dates in his own Lockheed 12A airplane.


Monroe died on May 21, 1973 at Martin County Memorial Hospital, shortly after having stomach surgery for a bleeding ulcer.[1][2][10] He was buried in Fernhill Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum in Stuart, Florida.[11]

Monroe Orchestra personnel

  • Moonmaids, a female vocal quartet (1946 to 1952)
  • Frank L. Ryerson, arranger & trumpeter (1944)
  • Ziggy Talent
  • George Robinson, Trombone (1944-1945)


Year Title Chart positions
1940 "There I Go" 5
1941 "So You're the One" 18
"High on a Windy Hill" 15
"There'll Be Some Changes Made" 20
"G'bye Now" 14
"Yours (Quiereme Mucho)" 18
1942 "The Shrine of Saint Cecilia" 20
"Tangerine" 16
"Three Little Sisters" 18
"My Devotion" 5
"When the Lights Go On Again" 2
1943 "Let's Get Lost" 8
1944 "The Trolley Song" 4
"Take It, Jackson" 20
"The Very Thought of You" 14
1945 "Rum and Coca-Cola" 8
"There! I've Said It Again" 1
"Just a Blue Serge Suit" 17
"Something Sentimental" 12
"Fishin' for the Moon" 11
"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" 1
1946 "Are These Really Mine?" 12
"Seems Like Old Times" 7
"Who Told You That Lie?" 15
"It's My Lazy Day" 16
"The Things We Did Last Summer" 13
1947 "I Wish I Didn't Love You So" 2
"Kokomo, Indiana" 10
"You Do" 5
"Ballerina" 1
"How Soon? (Will I Be Seeing You)" 3
1948 "Cool Water" 9
"The Maharajah of Magador" 19
"Ev'rday I Love You (Just a Little Bit More)" 22
"In My Dreams" 20
1949 "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" 3
"Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend"A 1
"Someday" 1
"That Lucky Old Sun" 6
"Vieni Su (Say You Love Me Too)" 29
"Mule Train" 10
1950 "Bamboo" 4
"Thanks, Mister Florist" 20
1951 "On Top of Old Smoky" 8
"Sound Off (The Duckworth Chant)" 3
"Old Soldiers Never Die" 7
"Meanderin'" 28
1952 "Charmaine" 27
"Mountain Laurel" 22
"Lady Love" 18
"Idaho State Fair'" 20
1954 "They Were Doin' the Mambo" 7
1955 "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots" 38
1956 "Don't Go to Strangers" 38
"In the Middle of the House" 11
1959 "The Battle of New Orleans" 87
1965 "Queen of the Senior Prom" 132
  • APeaked at #2 in Billboard Country singles.


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  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wertz, Marjorie "Singer Vaughn Monroe's road to stardom went through Jeannette" Feb. 9, 2007 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
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External links