b. USA. Formerly a vocalist with the Carol Lofner Orchestra, McDonald later became a member of the Three Midshipmen with Kay Thompson. He formed his own dance band in 1936 in Balboa, California, USA. His sidemen included Ernie Barrell, Leon Gray, Harry Forbes, Hi Davidson, Ollie Mitchell, Bill Lamberton, Ian Bernard and Bob Handaway, performing under the tag line Billy McDonald And The Royal Highlanders. They concentrated on engagements in the Midwest and west coast of America, performing sentimental songs such as ‘Friendly Arms And Western Skies’, ‘I’m Going Home’, ‘Everybody Dance’, ‘It’s A Rainy Day’, ‘The Meaning Of Aloha’, ‘Hula Drums’ and their theme song, ‘Loch Lomond’. These and others were released on D&S and Decca Records. Many of the songs were themed after the sounds of the Pacific Islands, and McDonald took the band there in 1941. They were actually playing in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese during World War II. McDonald entered the services himself in 1942, but reconvened his band after war’s end. However, they never recovered their popularity and in 1948 their leader took a job at the Fredericks Brothers Agency. Later he moved to the William Morris Agency, then the Hollywood offices of the Associated Booking Corporation.
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