Cover image for Swing it! : the Andrews Sisters story
Swing it! : the Andrews Sisters story
Sforza, John, 1965-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, [2000]

Physical Description:
289 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML421.A6 S46 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Andrews Sisters - Maxene, Patty, and LaVerne remain the best selling female vocal group of all time, charting more top 10 Billboard hits than Elvis or the Beatles and placing hits on the Billboard Top 40 charts 113 times in 15 years.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Of the Andrews sisters, "Patty was a lively, boisterous, fun-loving blonde," Maxene "a pretty, ready-for-action brunette," and La Verne "a tall, self-deprecating, slightly reserved redhead." They cut records with many of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Bing Crosby, Carmen Miranda, and Danny Kaye, as well as with most of the big names of the big band era, scoring hits in boogie, polka, western swing, and other styles. Sforza proceeds from the quaint, probably unwarranted presumption that the Andrews inhabited a simpler time, before "the Baby Boom, the Cold War, Woodstock, and the sexual revolution." Apparently, World War II and the Holocaust were appalling but uncomplicated in comparison. It is interesting, by the way, to note that many Andrews Sisters selections might now give Walmart and other prudish marketers pause: "Beer Barrel Polka," "Rum and Coca Cola," "Pistol Packin' Mama" "Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar" --pretty suggestive fare for impressionable minds, wouldn't you say? --Mike Tribby

Library Journal Review

It's impossible to think of the 1940s without conjuring the Andrews Sisters. Their brash, optimistic sound, tight harmonies, and sophisticated rhythms were part of the soundtrack of the World War II years. Surprisingly, this is the first biogaphy of the trio. Patty, Maxene, and LaVerne were born in Minneapolis to Greek and Norwegian parents; they sang together for more than three decades, recorded 600 songs, starred in their own radio show, and appeared in 17 movies; they made the top ten Billboard charts more often than Elvis or the Beatles and influenced the Supremes, the Pointer Sisters, Bette Midler, and The Manhattan Transfer. Sforza is admirably thorough in detailing the group's recording career but is less successful as a biographer; although he tells us that they fought and split up for two years, he doesn't providing any insight into what must have been very complex relationships. And overall, he never makes the singers come alive as individuals. (The most vivid chapter covers their wartime tours.) But Sforza's lengthy discography and filmography are of documentary value. Recommended for large collections.ÄKate McCaffrey, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

By any standard of measurement, the Andrews sisters were the most popular singing group of the 1940s, and to many the personification of US popular culture in the WW II years. Their 600-plus recordings sold about 100 million records, and the trio remained the best-selling vocal group until the Beatles came along 30 years later. Their phenomenal popularity took them from recording studios into radio, theaters, motion pictures, and early television. This is the first book about the Andrews Sisters, and Sforza has done a commendable job of gathering the basic facts of this trio and outlining its rise from obscurity in Minnesota to international acclaim. But though he loads the text and the half dozen appendixes with information, the book lacks perspective and point of view. The people are cardboard figures who lack dimension, despite the considerable controversy and emotion in their lives. Sforza makes little effort to provide any evaluation of the music, and his treatment of the world in which the Andrew Sisters lived is simplistic and nostalgic. The Andrews Sisters' story remains to be told fully and adequately. This title will be useful in extensive collections of popular music because it gathers information that would be time consuming to dig out of other sources. C. M. Weisenberg; University of California, Los Angeles

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
1 We'll Hit the Big Timep. 16
2 "That's Us! That's Us!"p. 23
3 They Made the Company Jumpp. 50
4 Three of a Kindp. 65
5 Voices of an Erap. 71
6 We've Got a Job to Dop. 82
7 Riding Highp. 94
8 Success Abroadp. 112
9 A Love Song Is Bornp. 122
10 Disharmonyp. 136
11 The Last Mile Homep. 146
12 The Love We Used to Knowp. 156
Appendix A Top-Thirty Hits (Compiled from Billboard)p. 175
Appendix B Top-Ten Hits (Compiled from Variety)p. 181
Appendix C Most Played Jukebox Records of World War IIp. 183
Appendix D Gold Recordsp. 185
Appendix E On the Airp. 189
Appendix F The Small Screenp. 195
Notesp. 197
Filmographyp. 207
Discographyp. 217
Bibliographyp. 267
Indexp. 269
Song Indexp. 279