Marion Morgan

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Marion Morgan was a vocalist of the 1940s and early '50s who broke into the big time as the singer in Harry James' postwar band. She was singing in a Chicago-based outfit run by Caesar Petrillo when James…
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Marion Morgan was a vocalist of the 1940s and early '50s who broke into the big time as the singer in Harry James' postwar band. She was singing in a Chicago-based outfit run by Caesar Petrillo when James spotted her and hired her in the spring of 1946. She recorded a string of modestly successful sides with the band, starting with "If I'm Lucky" and "Life Can Be Beautiful," before scoring a hit with "Heartaches" in April of 1947. She and James enjoyed a productive relationship until the singer overheard the bandleader, in a fit of candor that was unfortunate in its timing and unfair to Morgan, expressing his disdain for vocalists to veteran bandleader Ben Pollack at the Hollywood Palladium at the end of 1948. Morgan left the band barely a day later, and went on to a solo career. She was also heard onscreen, dubbing Dorothy Malone's singing in the movie One Sunday Afternoon. Morgan signed with Columbia Records in early 1949 and cut singles of "Embraceable You" and "Maybe It's Because," the latter (which reached number 22 on the charts) backed by Bob Crosby's band. She appeared as both a musical guest and a personality guest on various television quiz and variety shows. She later did radio work in New York and had a contract with MGM Records, where she turned down a chance for a film contract. Morgan spent the rest of her career singing in clubs and eventually settled in Los Angeles, where she married and raised a family, squeezing in some television work when she could, including a stint as co-host with Harry Babbitt (of Kay Kyser's band) on Bandstand Review. She is still remembered in the early 21st century as a singing star, principally for the sides -- not two dozen in all -- that she cut with James over a period of 17 months in the 1940s. In 2005, Collectables Records released Sentimental Souvenirs, assembling all of Morgan's work with James on one CD.