b. Billy Blissett, Toronto, Canada. Bishop changed his name after entering the USA in the 40s. Previously he had formed the Blissett-McLean Orchestra in his native Toronto in 1931, before leading his first own-name band at the Silver Slipper venue in the same city. Frequent radio plays from the Canadian Radio Commission and NBC networks helped to spread his name, as did engagements in the holiday resorts of Quebec and Montreal. He also appeared overseas, notably at the International Sporting Club in Monte Carlo and in London, England. Although potential success in England was thwarted by the advent of World War II, he did manage to record widely with Victor Records and HMV Records, as well as appearing on radio shows such as The Rinso Radio Revue and Waltz Time. His first American-based band was formed in California in 1940, before relocating to Chicago. Billy Bishop And His Orchestra became a staple at such Midwest venues as the Aragon Ballroom, the Trianon Ballroom, the Blackhawk Restaurant and the Shroeder Peabody, as well as the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. However, by 1953 the big band era was in decline, and Bishop retired to take up a career in stockbroking. Together with his wife, Alice Mann, who had been the group’s vocalist, he retired to San Diego in 1969.
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