Wow, Is He Big!
Hi fellow Vaughn Monroe fans...
I spent many years as a Boston radio announcer under the name Tom Evans. I
ran music shows on air from 1956 to the late 70's on Boston radio. I had
several meetings with Vaughn Monroe, the last one was during his appearance
as a solo act at Blinstrub's Village in South Boston. He passed away not too
long after that interview.
Vaughn was a very special
performer, band leader and person. He is still missed, especially here in
the Boston area where he spent so much time. As you know Vaughn Monroe had
his base of operations in the Boston area where he formed his first band in
1940, I believe. For a time he was the house band at a Framingham Nightclub
called The Meadows. He was a part owner, so whenever he wasn't on the road,
he played there.
When I began working in Boston
radio (old WCOP and later WRKO, and WLVI-TV), one of my first assignments
was to interview him at The Meadows. It was late morning, we set up our
equipment on a dining room table, and in he came...carrying coffee for me
and my engineer. My first impression was... what a nice guy! My second
impression...wow, is he big!
Prior to that meeting I watched
him, as a teenager, performing at the Hampton Beach Casino in NH. That's
where Ziggy Talent comes in. He was the singer on "The Maharajah of Magador,"
a novelty song and, big favorite at the time. Right up there with "Sam, You
Made the Pants Too Long." Remember that?
But, of course he was at his
best with romantic ballads. And in those days romance was in. I found him to
be a very friendly and, at the same time a serious guy. He loved the Boston
area and had many friends there. When he went out on tour he went big
time...carrying about 22 pieces or more, plus the Moon Men and the Moon
Maids... at times totaling 8 singers. That would be totally impossible at
I played his records on radio
as many times as I could. One of my very favorites was "There I've Said it
Again." How many remember "The Story of Two Cigarettes?" A classic, I think.
My last meeting with him was on
an Easter Sunday sometime in the early sixties. He was doing a solo act in
those days. He wasn't yet 50, but his career was winding down. He was
performing at Blinstrub's Village, a well known South Boston nightclub. Rock
was king in those days... his style was waning... and he was doing what we
called the nostalgia circuit, performing his old hits to an extremely
enthusiastic, but older crowd. I went back stage that day, taking my two
young sons to meet him. He was very gracious, as always.
He pretty much retired not long
after that, moving to Florida. He was only 57 (sic) when he died... much too
early. It's very nice that people still keep his memory and music alive. He
brought great entertainment to millions of people. And, that's his great
legacy. Thanks for listening...
And now... here is Vaughn
Monroe, his orchestra and the Moon Men with Ghost Riders in the Sky....!!
Submitted by: Neil MacNevin