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Big Band singer
A singer, Wain made her radio debut at age 6, and became a popular and well-known Big Band singer in the 1930s, named by Billboard magazine the most popular female band vocalist of 1939 — over other singers of the era like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. She was the first to record a new 1939 ballad, which was rated the number one of the “Songs of the Century” list compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. The American Film Institute also ranked the song the greatest movie song of all time on the list of “AFI’s 100 Years...100 Songs”. That ballad: “Over the Rainbow” — but the MGM film studio prohibited Wain’s recording of the song to be released until audiences could see Judy Garland sing it in The Wizard of Oz. Despite her fame, Wain was being paid only $30 for a recording session, where she was expected to record four songs. She quit her regular appearances with Larry Clinton and his Orchestra and went out on her own, where she became a regular on the Your Hit Parade radio show, and was signed to a recording contract with RCA Victor. She and her husband Andre Baruch co-hosted their own radio show, Mr. and Mrs. Music — making them the first husband-and-wife DJs on the radio. “I’ve had a wonderful life, a wonderful career,” she said in 2004. “And I’m still singing pretty good.” At the time, she was 87 years old. One of the last surviving Big Band singers, Wain died in a retirement home in Beverly Hills, Calif., on August 19 from congestive heart failure. She was 100.
From This is True for 20 August 2017
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