Ben Selvin & His Orchestra – Thats Annabelle

Benjamin B. Selvin (New York City, 1898 – Manhasset, 1980) was a band leader from the Tin Pan Alley period. He was one of the most prolific musicians of all times: he recorded at least 9,000 songs and some estimates assume he made 13000-20000 recordings. Till the 1950s the album “Dardanella” was the best-selling one ever in the United States. Selvin was called the Dean of Recorded Music. Selvin was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. He played the violin at an early age in Charles Strickland’s Orchestra, and debuted in 1913 on Broadway. In 1917 he led his first band and in July 1919 he recorded his first record for Victor, with his Novelty Orchestra: “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”. The song immediately attained the position on the charts. His third released album, “Dardanella”, recorded in November of 1920, was a massive hit. The album eventually sold over 5 million copies; moreover 2 million copies of the sheet music were sold. From 1920 on, Selvin not only released discs for Victor, but also Vocalion, Okeh, Paramount Records and Brunswick. A hit for Vocalion was “Yes! We Have No Bananas”, sung by Irving Kaufman. From 1927 on, Selvin not only was a bandleader and arranger, but also A & R Director for Columbia Records, a post he would hold until 1934. By November 1927, when he signed this contract, he had an estimated output of 3,000 recorded songs. This number increased significantly during his Columbia years. Besides, he recorded under dozens of pseudonyms for many other labels (Okeh, Odeon, Parlophone, Harmony, Diva, Velvet Tone and Clarion). Many of the numerous records he made are well-executed pop songs with hot jazz solos by musicians like Manny Klein, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, and Bunny Berigan. Today, many of those records are eagerly sought after collector’s items. In 1935, Selvin was hired by Muzak Inc., for which he would work ten years. He co-founded Majestic Records, and in September 1945 he returned to Columbia, where he supervised the recording sessions with the young Frank Sinatra, Doris Day and others. In the early fifties, he worked in the music publishing Southern Music Company, and he was an A & R manager at RCA. In October 1955, he became the program director at the latter record company, a position which he held until his retirement in 1963. This excellent record was made in 1926. Vocal by Ben Selvin himself.

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