Glenn Miller

The Golden Years of Glenn Miller

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It's amazing to realize that Glenn Miller, still considered by many historians to be the quintessential (and most popular) '40s big-band leader, reigned for less than three years. Miller thoroughly dominated U.S. record sales from early 1939 until late 1942, at which time he joined the army air force, disbanded his group and, two years later, died when his plane crashed into the English Channel. But what a few years he had. The list of big band classics associated with Miller is astounding. Signed to Bluebird Records, he reeled out one Top Ten hit after the next, many of them reaching number one and becoming indelibly associated with the era. "In the Mood," "Tuxedo Junction," "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "Moonlight Cocktail," "The Woodpecker Song," his version of "Over the Rainbow" -- they're all here in their hit versions on this generous three-CD, 60-track collection from the U.K. The box set also includes "Moonlight Serenade" (Miller's theme), "Pennsylvania 6-5000," "Wishing Will Make It So" (Miller's first chart-topper) and dozens more. The nearest comparisons are BMG/Bluebird's Platinum, a 40-track set released in 2003, and Legacy's 38-track The Essential Glenn Miller, released a couple of years later. By necessity there is a lot of repetition on all three sets, but the British collection ups the ante by going beyond the basics to dig a bit deeper into the catalog (though, oddly, it is missing some key tracks, like the number one "When You Wish Upon a Star").

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