by Rose-Mary Rumbley
You know you're old when you can call the names of THE ANDREW SISTERS! They are Patty, Lavern, and Maxine, and they ruled the air waves of radio and the Silver Screen of the 1940's. Yes, they did perform later on TV, but they were the favorite singing trio of the war years! Who could forget BOOGIE WOOGIE BUGLE BOY FROM COMPANY B?
In fact, I got the idea for this article in my exercise class here at the Tradition. We have this great exercise leader, Johnny Tan, who plays all of the old tunes for us as we stretch, pull and stomp, and his favorite is BOOGIE WOOGIE BUGLE BOY.
There was a singing girl trio before the Andrew Sisters from New Orleans, THE BOSWELL SISTERS, whose big hit of the 30s was WHEN I TAKE MY SUGAR TO TEA. This tune had a jazzy feel to it, so the trio and the song became very popular. And too, this trio introduced close harmony to the listening audience.
But coming from the midwest of our country were a terrific teen age trio, THE ANDREW SISTERS. Patty was the lead singer, and the other two came in with perfect harmony.
They started entertaining audiences in local theatres between the showing of a movie. Vaudeville was still clinging on! Because they were loud and brassy, they became a hit with all who heard them. Then came RADIO! They were loved as much as the big bands that captured the hearts of the American people.
Then the war came and big bands and the Andrew Sisters were the favorites of the GIs.
The country got through World War II humming with the sisters DON'T SIT UNDER THE APPLE TREE WITH ANYONE ELSE BUT ME, RUM AND COCA COLA, AND THE BEER BARREL POLKA, to name just a few of their hits.
They were in a lot of movies, not as stars, but as a singing trio. Somewhere in the movie, they would make an appearance. Maybe it was with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello or Carman Maranda...whoever it was, the star welcomed the Andrew Sisters.
They broke up again because of "money." What else causes trouble? They got together again, but, they realized their time had passed, so they left show biz!
All three adopted children and lived a great life after retirement. In all the years, they managed to record over 600 songs, and we, their fans sang along with them.
Laverne died first at age 55 years. Maxine was 79 when she died. They are buried together in Los Angeles. Patty lived to be 94 years old. She was the rebel, always wanting to sing solo. Thus she is buried in Los Angeles, but in another cemetery--not with her sisters.
They sang close harmony, but they did not have a close relationship.