Nights at The Roundtable with Ben Bernie and His Orchestra, from a broadcast recorded in April, 1931.
March 29, 2012

Ben Bernie and His Orchestra - A staple in the diet of early radio.

This might be a stretch, but I had to include it in our look at On-Air live Music tracks pre-1950. Tonight it's a two-song excerpt from The Phoenix Hosiery Company Program Featuring Ben Bernie and His Orchestra, recorded in April 1931 and broadcast over the NBC Blue Network.

Big Bands (Sweet and/or Syncopated) were a staple in the diet of early radio since the concept of a "disc jockey" hadn't been arrived at yet, and because playing commercial records on the air wasn't allowed by the FCC, most radio stations had a band of one sort or another on staff, just in case there needed to be some dance music.

So this two-song excerpt was typical of what was played on Radio in the 1920's and 1930's. Ben Bernie was considered a huge star in his day and his program was one of the most popular in the early 1930's.

The two songs featured are Wabash Moon and Have You Forgotten? (with a pretty dreary vocal "refrain", as was the case with a lot of big band tracks at the time).

In any event, it's history, it's a period of time some 81 years ago, the music's been largely forgotten (at least the pop material) and you may be hearing this for the first time. It may sound totally foreign, painfully weird and embarrassingly quaint - but that's what people were listening to in 1931.

And they went nuts over it.

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