Gordon Jenkins Biography Page

by Patrick McAndrews:

Gordon Jenkins
Born: May 12, 1910 in Webster Groves, MO
Died May 1 , 1984

Gordon Jenkins, famous as an arranger, conductor, composer, and bandleader, whose career spanned from the 30's thru the 60's. As a young man, he played piano, trumpet and drums on radio. But soon found his true talents in arranging, contributing to recordings by Benny Goodman, Isham Jones, Lennie Hayton among others.

In 1935 he made it to broadway, conducting "The Show Is On". From there he was hired by Paramount in 1936, then later he switched to NBC from 1938-1944. During his time at NBC he met and became Dick Haymes' arranger for the next four years. Recording with Haymes with the Decca label in 1943, one of his first singles, "It Can't Be Wrong," hit number one in June 1943. A month later, "You'll Never Know" became the no. 1 song on the charts for over two months. While working with Jenkins, Haymes moved from extra work into starring roles in Hollywood with 1945's State Fair, then won an Oscar for his rendition of "It Might as Well Be Spring." Though Haymes never again scored another number one hit, Jenkins' reputation solidified after that and then became the managing director for Decca and had numerous hits for the label in the late '40s and '50s.

He's also noted for discovering the folk group "The Weavers" in New York City at the Village Vanguard in the early '50s, and getting them a recording session. During the 50's he continued to work with the top talent in the industry at Decca, with such stars as Louis Armstrong, The Andrews Sisters, and with the troubled Haymes. In 1961 he toured in Europe with Judy Garland and conducted several of her famous live shows. And of course there was the Decca recordings made with Nat King Cole that had the orchestral sound that Cole's fans can easily spot. Throughout his long, distinguished career, Jenkins best known recordings were to come with one Frank Sinatra doing the singing, and in 1967 he won a Grammy for Sinatra's "September Of My Years" album.

A partial list of Gordon Jenkins Songs

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