Vaughn Monroe, the baritone who led his band to great popularity from the
mid 1940s to the mid 1950s, died yesterday at Martin county Memorial
Hospital at Stuart, Fla. He was 62 (sic).
The Monroe band survived the decline of the big bands during World War II
mainly because of the popularity of his vocal renditions, which featured
dreamy ballads and sentimental songs.
His vocal on "Racing with the Moon" was among the most popular of all
big-band theme songs.
Among his other popular recordings on RCA-Victor records were, "There,
I've Said It Again," "Ghost Riders in the Sky," "Ballerina" and "Something
He was born in Akron, Ohio, and grew up in Jeannette, Pa., where he
attended high school and where he met his wife to be, Marian. He later
attended Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh, Pa.
In the 1930s he played trumpet with bands in the Ohio and Pennsylvania
areas and occasionally sang with various small bands.
About 1937 Mr. Monroe came to Boston and worked for one of the Harry
(sic) Marshard orchestras which operated in the area playing college dances and
During most of this time, he was content to be one of the trumpeters in
the band and periodically front one of the groups and sing an occasional
Mr. Monroe's personal popularity continued to grow in the late 1930s, so
that by 1940 he formed his own band, which opened at the old Seiler's Ten
Acres Restaurant in Wayland.
Three times a week the band would broadcast live from Seiler's over WBZ
radio in Boston.
Almost from the beginning the band's popularity centered on the leader's
vocals on the day's popular ballads.
In addition to the leader's vocals, the band featured singing groups with
the band . . .the Moon Maids, the Norton Sisters and The Murphy Sisters.
Often on radio interviews Monroe would recall his work in the brass
section, playing both trumpet and trombone with Austin Wylie, but always
hoping to one day be a concert singer.
In Boston he took voice lessons during the day and then joined the band at
Because its repertoire concentrated on ballads and sweet tunes, the band
never won the critical acclaim of some of its contemporaries and
predecessors, but Johnny Watson did chart some excellent arrangements and
occasionally, with such tunes as "Harvard Square" and "Commodore Clipper,"
the band could swing
It was 1944-1945 that the band was at its peak, playing the top theatres
and nightclubs around the country, churning out hit records and featured
on a nationwide radio broadcast which originated for many weeks from the
Century Room at the Commodore Hotel in New York City.
When the band finally dispersed in the mid-1950s, Mr. Monroe's personal
popularity continued and he became the voice of RCA-Victor speaking on
recorded radio and TV announcements in behalf of the company's products.
For a number of years in the mid-1950s, he owned The Meadows Restaurant on
Rte. 9 in Framingham. His band would often be featured there, or if a
house band were working, Mr. Monroe could usually be heard singing one or
two songs during the evening and usually bringing the evening to a close
with "Racing with the Moon."
He also appeared in such Hollywood films as "The Toughest Gun (sic)
in Arizona," "Meet the People" and "Singing Guns."
Besides his wife, he leaves two daughters, Christine and Candace.