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Here's a list of books available about the big band era and the singers and performers that sprung out of it. Most of these books make for great gifts and all are offered by Amazon at rates that are difficult to beat. Credit card purchases are secure and safe. Some are hardcovers and some are paperbacks so please check to see what you've selected before checkout. Thanks for any purchases made through this site! They go towards the cost of maintaining it.

Big Band Almanac The Big Band Almanac
is an indispensable quick guide for the big band enthusiast. If they're not in the Almanac...it'll be tough to prove they ever existed. Easy read.
Swing, Swing, Swing Swing, Swing, Swing: The Life & Times of Benny Goodman
Comprehensive insight into this complex, driven and difficult swing pioneer. His story from start to finish. How did he get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice...until the day he died.
Mister S Mr. S - My Life With Frank Sinatra
George Jacobs' ambition was to be a singer but he ended up being Sinatra's valet for 13 years. Now he dishes the dirt in this tell-all bestseller where nothing seems to be held back. There's no real malice towards his former boss (but he WAS fired), it's more the way a 5-year-old would simply tell everybody what he saw. Frank, Ava, JFK, Lawford, Marilyn, Joltin' Joe, Giancana ... anybody who showed up under George's watchful eyes would wish they didn't (they're all dead now). Very interesting however, and I suspect that most of it is true. Why would he need to lie? Mercurial Frank's fascination with chicks, the mob and chicks is explained in candid detail. Snazzy cover. Loved it Baby!
Rat Pack
Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter , Joeyand the Last Great Showbiz Party
Well written account by a good author.
The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Liven'
Short stories about what Sinatra thinks about style, behavior and other things. Easy read. Lots of fun.
Lee Hale
Backstage at the Dean Martin Show
Lee Hale worked on the original Dean Martin Show and tells some great behind the scenes short stories. Written in old fashioned restraint (no dirt). I really enjoyed this one though. Easy read.
Martini Man
Martini Man: The Life of Dean Martin
This book didn't get the attention of Nick Toches' Dino but it's a good one.
Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams
Complicated book about a complicated man by Nick Toshes. This helped reestablish Dino as a star among a new audience. Critics raved about this one.
That's Amore
That's Amore: A Son Remembers Dean Martin
Memories of super-mellow dad and family life from son Ricci. Whether the boys were discharging firearms in the basement or unloading anti-tank weaponry in the desert, the Martin children enjoyed home life just like any other kids. Easy read.
Mt Lucky Stars
My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir
Memoir by Shirley Maclaine. Tells about her time with the Rat Pack among other stories. Lots of info you wouldn't otherwise hear.
The Rat Pack
The Rat Pack: Neon Nights with the Kings of Cool
I didn't find this book as informative as "Rat Pack Confidential." Best suited for those who know little about the boys.
King Of Comedy
King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis
The French don't really think Jerry lewis is as funny as Americans think... the French... think he is. They admired his work in directing and production too. It made a believer out of me.
The Big Bands
Out of print book but like the "Big Band Almanac," this one's a must read. Written by the guy who was there, George T. Simon. Do a search for a used version.
Mike Douglas
I'll Be Right Back: Memories of TV's Greatest Talk Show
I was expecting this one to tell me more about the stars Mike Douglas interviewed and in fact there are a lot of stars mentioned ... I don't know. It's really about Douglas. Great cover though (orange)!
Joe Franklin
Up Late With Joe Franklin: Stories of the Greats
T.V. and radio host puts together a book of his memories that reads like he speaks. Joe may be the foremost authority on the really old acts. Also out of print so do a search for a used one.
American Legend
Frank Sinatra: An American Legend
by daughter Nancy. Lavishly produced book with photos and events listed chronologically in Sinatra's life.
Cry: The Johnnie Ray Story
Another out of print biography you'll have to hunt down. Focuses on the tortured artist's meteoric rise to stardom and the demons he faced all his life.
Eddie Fisher

Been There, Done That: An Autobiography
Yeesh...yikes...cover my eyes. Eddie Fisher's autobiography is like approaching a trainwreck. This book will be too sexually graphic for many. Especially since the gals he details are now in their late 60's, 70's or worse off. But as the book went on, I started to enjoy the fact that Fisher heaps as much verbal abuse upon himself as he dishes out. Writer David Fisher (no relation) writes Eddie's thoughts as if Eddie was speaking directly to you, like an old frat buddy who needs to tell you way more than you ought to be hearing. In the end, I feel I know Eddie Fisher better than I know any of my friends (my friends spare me all the details). I almost fell off my chair with laughter when intoxicated Richard Burton calls Fisher a "Spleen." Although there's great reason for many to dislike him, I think I sort of like Fisher, but that'll be my dark secret.
Everybody Loves
Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime (Especially Himself)
is out of print and too bad. Actually, I don't know why it isn't "reactivated" or whatever publishers do. Released in 1974, Author Arthur Marx (Groucho's son) had a wealth of living resources to get stories from plus lots of inside information. Much of the recent Martin & Lewis movie was based on the accounts given in this book. Marx held no grudge against Dino but Jerry is quite a target here. Factual and funny. Click the link to search for a used version.
Why Me?

Why Me?: The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story
These autobiographies by Sammy were informative and well worth reading but they seem quite high priced for paperbacks.
Yes I Can
Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
by George T. Simon who followed the band closely during their whirl up the charts and their heyday. Like Goodman, Miller was another tough taskmaster.