After years of speculation, the world famous swing combo responsible for hits like Satin Doll and Moonlight Serenade say they are “inches away” from formally agreeing to play the main Glastonbury stage next year. This will be the first time the band will have performed in its original form since its leader disappeared in 1944. One stumbling block is the band’s insistence they will play String of Pearls, despite BBC concerns over its explicit lyric, which is currently being explained to Director General Tony Hall.
It was in December 1944 that Miller single handedly invented the myth of the disappearing spectacle-wearing popular music star, when he boarded a plane bound for Paris, never to be seen again. What happened next is the subject of intense speculation by music historians. One widely believed theory is Miller was kidnapped by German secret agents and forced to invent the James Last Orchestra, and later was smuggled to California to work on the hydrogen bomb. Others say he was depressed by the artistic pressures of global success and the limitations of the trombone. What’s certain is he is a legend among musicians as well as those who love music, inspiring early rock and rollers to fly in small, dangerous aircraft in the hope of achieving eternal fame through an early grisly death over Europe.
Whatever the truth, Glasto-goers are sure to give the legendary bandleader a huge welcome. And although he’ll have turned 110 years old, his sidemen, all of a similar age, are confident they can still cut it. Chuck Summers, long time cornet player confessed, though, that it’s lyrics that may present a challenge to the greying swingers when they hit Worthy Farm.
He told the BBC “There’s one number that I still need to have written in big letters on a piece of paper. You know, the telephone number one. Pennsylvania 6-500. Or is it 5 600? Or maybe it’s Philadelphia. Although that’s more of a cream cheese than a piece of music. I have a weakness for it. The cheese, not the song. The song’s good. Sure. But you can’t spread it on a bagel with lox. Did you know that one of the Andrews Sisters is actually a man? Now there’s a story. They’re keeping it quiet till the war ends. Came as surprise to me, I can tell you. Given the circumstances. That’s a movie waiting to be made! Do they still have fog made of soup in England? How do they do that? And on that subject, what kind of a name is Gompertz anyway?