LaVerne, Maxene and Patricia Andrews were three sisters from Minnesota who developed a harmonic style of singing and specialized in swing and boogie-woogie styles, and rose to international fame during the WWII era. With Laverne singing contraalto, Maxene singing soprano and Patricia singing mezzo-soprano, and all of them singing at the top of their lungs, the trio modeled themselves after the Boswell sisters, an earlier singing group, and they also originally sought to imitate the sound of a blaring trio of trumpets.

The Andrews Sisters rose to fame through their 1937 radio broadcast, during which time Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen became one of their earliest smash hits. They played with nearly all of the most famous big bands of the era, including those led by Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Joe Venuti, Freddie Slack, Eddie Heywood, Bob Crosby (Bing’s brother), Desi Arnaz, Guy Lombardo, Les Brown, Bunny Berigan. They also enjoyed a particularly successful collaboration with singer Bing Crosby — nearly half the songs they recorded with him made the Billboard Charts.

The Sisters were active and generous in helping to entertain America’s Armed Forces during WWII and support the war cause. Along with several other prominent actors and musicians, the Andrews Sisters helped found the Hollywood Canteen, a retreat for American servicemen. Indeed, many of their songs contained war related lyrics and themes. The Andrews Sisters appeared in a handful of films, especially after being snatched up by Universal Pictures. They appeared in three Abbot & Costello comedies, including Buck Privates and Universal eventually had them star in their own B-Musicals, including What’s Cooking, Private Buckaroo, and Give Out, Sisters.

Here’s a good starting compilation of Andrews Sisters tunes for dancing:

as well as some individual tunes from other albums that I really like:

  1. Rhumboogie
  2. Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo)
  3. Shortnin’ Bread
The Andrews Sisters