Probably very few Jehovah's Witnesses realize that the composer of "Sentimental Journey" became one of their own ministers in the early '50s, breaking away from quite a successful career in the music business. Then again, this could also be another aspect of this organization branching out into control of many aspects of life in America, including the insurance industry, various disaster aftermath services, and fast food chains. Ben Homer went to New York City in 1938 following studies at the New England Conservatory. In the thriving Big Apple music scene of that era he found many bandleaders hungry for appealing material, among them trombonist and singer Jack Teagarden, clarinetists Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman, and the unique bandleader and inventor Raymond Scott. Homer became a staff composer for dance band maestro Les Brown in 1940. Homer, his frequent co-writer Bud Green, and Brown comprise the colorful songwriting triumvirate credited with "Sentimental Journey," a hit for Doris Day and one of the most frequently covered songs in American history. Other titles by Homer before he became a minister hardly deserve to be as forgotten as they are, such as "Shoot the Sherbet to Me Herbert," "Joltin' Joe Di Maggio," and "Bizet Has His Day."
Ben Homer Biography
by Eugene Chadbourne