Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Helen Forrest, was one of the most popular female jazz vocalists during America's Big Band era. She first sang with her brother's band at the age of 10, and later began her career singing on CBS radio under the name Bonnie Blue.

Artie Shaw hired her in 1938. When he was looking for someone to replace vocalist Billie Holiday who had to leave the band. Forrest recorded 38 singles with Shaw's band. Two of her biggest hits with Shaw were the songs "They Say" and "All the Things You Are."In 1939, Forrest left Shaw and joined Benny Goodman, with whom she recorded a number of songs, including the hit song, "The Man I Love." She recorded with Nat King Cole and Lionel Hampton in 1940. In 1941, Forrest was hired by Harry James. It was with the Harry James Orchestra that she recorded her most popular numbers, "I Had the Craziest Dream" in 1942 and "I Don't Want to Walk Without You." Forrest also dated James, until he met Betty Grable who he would later marry. Forrest left Harry James Orchestra in 1943 to pursuit a solo career. In the 1940s, she sang on Dick Haymes' radio show. It was with Haymes that she recorded the song, "Some Sunday Morning." In 1944 she made an appearance in the Esther Williams movie Bathing Beauty with Harry James and his orchestra. After a dip in her recording career in the 1950s, Forrest sang with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra, led by Sam Donahue in the early 1960s. She continued to sing in supper clubs in the 1970s and 1980s. Her final album was released in 1983. She kept singing until the early 1990s, when arthritis forced her into retirement. Over the course of her career, she recorded more than 500 songs. Forrest acted in several musical films, including Bathing Beauty and Two Girls and a Sailor, which both came out in 1944.

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