Cruising Vessel "Kungsholm"

I appreciate your website about Mr. Vaughn Monroe.

And now I would like to give you a little background story from the very present about how I came to know more about this superb singer and band leader--not so well known here in Sweden, I am sorry to say.

Last week I visited Mr. Ragnar Andersson, who is a very good artist/painter, living here in Halmstad, Sweden. He has also a very long career as professional musician (saxophone, clarinet, accordian, piano), and in that capacity he has been playing dance and entertainment music for many years on cruising vessels around the world.

We, that is our duo, went through some music pieces, and came to the lovely ballad "I Left My Heart In San Francisco." When we came to talk about the key -- Mr. Andersson's music was in Ab major -- he recalled a pleasant memory from the cruising vessel "Kungsholm" from about 1971(?). He then formed part of "The Kungsholm All Star Orchestra." One evening a tall and handsome man stepped up on the bandstand and asked if they could play "I Left My Heart ...", and, very firmly, declared that it should be played in F major. After a short discussion they said, "Yes, of course!" much depending on the piano player Nils Nilsson's skillfulness. And what a wonderful voice they and all the guests had a chance to hear! Mr. Andersson recalled the singer's surname as "Monroe", and that he was a famous band leader in USA.

The next day I searched on the web on "Monroe band leader," and immediately got in touch with your website, with all the information, pictures, etc.

Yesterday I showed Mr. Andersson several outprints, and he surely recognized Mr. Monroe, as well as his wife, who was certainly with him on that cruise! He was sorry to hear about Mr. Monroe's decease.

He lent me a tape, with recordings from the "Kungsholm" orchestra from July 1971, which he had received recently from Mr. Nils Nilsson. On the same tape there are also some very nice recordings from Mr. Vaughn's orchestra. 10/27/05

According to Mr. Ragnar Andersson's "best memory," the Swedish cruising ship m/s "Kungsholm" was then (in 1971?) on a cruise probably from the USA to somewhere in the North Atlantic and back, not visiting Sweden.

The musicians onboard formed different groups, according to where they were playing. The night when Mr. Monroe stepped up and sang "impromptu," they were playing at a night club, with a smaller group, in which the piano player Nils Nilsson had a prominent role.

There is a lot of information about m/s "Kungsholm" on the net, where you can see this beautiful ship, which was unfortunately sold in 1975 (still sailing around somewhere, I think, now under the name of "Mona Lisa"?). 11/1/05

Submitted by: Sven E. Borg (Halmstad, Sweden)