b. 5 June 1918, Oak Park, Illinois, USA, d. 10 March 2001, Canoga Park, California, USA. Teddy Phillips’ years prior to World War II were spent in the company of band leaders such as Ben Bernie, Ted Weems and Lawrence Welk. He also became a staff musician for the ABC organisation. When he came out of the army in 1945 he switched allegiance to the CBS organisation of Chicago, staying with them for a year and appearing on numerous radio and studio sessions. He formed his first band in 1946 to work the pit at Chicago’s Downtown Theater. By the following year MCA had signed the band, which included sidemen Bill Paige, Ethmer Roten, Tommy Shephard, Elmer Bloomquist, Bobby Burgess, Arnold Oberstein and others working in a 12- or 14-piece unit. When MCA booked them for tours of the south and south west states, Phillips changed their direction from jazz to more conventional dance band music. With vocals from Lynn Hoyt, the group then spent several years performing on the Midwest circuit from their base in Chicago. They found bookings at the local Trianon and Aragon Ballrooms (over a period of seven years), but also continued to venture south, with dates at the prestigious Peabody, Roosevelt, Baker and Muehlbach Hotels. They also recorded their own television show, The Teddy Phillips Show For Pontiac, which originated from Chicago and ran for a year. They moved through numerous record companies during their career, including Dot Records, Coral Records, MGM Records, Liberty Records, Mercury Records, Brunswick Records, London Records, Decca Records, and Tower. Their original compositions, such as ‘Wishin’’, ‘Don’t Call Me Sweetheart Anymore’, ‘Little Canole’ and their theme song, ‘Thankful’, were among the most popular of the period. The group eventually moved to Los Angeles to play locations including Myron’s Ballroom and the Golden West Ballroom. Phillips continued to be prominent on the dance band scene until the mid-70s, when a car accident forced a reduction in his activities. However, he was able to play the occasional one-off private party, as well as the Palace Ballroom in North Hollywood.
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