Alton Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904 – circa December 15, 1944) was a big band leader popular in the 1930s and 40s. The subject of a major 1950s biopic, The Glenn Miller Story, in which he was played by Jimmy Stewart.The Glenn Miller Orchestra's recording of "Chattanooga Choo-Choo", which they introduced to the world in the film Sun Valley Serenade, was the first ever record to be awarded a gold record. Said gold record, awarded in February 1942 to celebrate 1.2 million copies sold, actually predates the RIAA certification, which wasn't established until 1958.* Also notable for being a Real Life example of Never Found the Body. Officially declared missing in action when his plane disappeared in bad weather en route to entertain American troops in Europe, though rumor has it this was a military coverup. One story goes that the RAF had accidentally shot down his plane, another that he died of a heart attack while in bed with a French prostitute and the US Army falsified the records of his flight's disappearance to protect his reputation for the sake of morale.These days he's mostly remembered for being mentioned in the All in the Family theme song (or, if you're British, a joke in Red Dwarf about aliens returning planes that disappeared during the War).
His works provide examples of:
- Big Band: One of the most succesful jazz band leaders of his time. So much even that after his death his band still went on tour under his own name.
- Blatant Lies: "Five O'Clock Whistle" has a youngster relating how her father didn't come home the night before, because (he claimed) the whistle that signalled the end of the working day was broken.You ought to hear what my mommy said
When papa came home and sneaked into bed
And told her he'd worked 'til half past two
'Cause the five o'clock whistle never blew
- Epic Swinging: In The Mood which goes on and on.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: In The Mood keeps getting more quiet and quiet towards the end, only to suddenly erupt back in all of its loudness for the grand finale.
- Fake Band: Played by Real Band variant. In the movies Sun Valley Serenade and Orchestra Wives, each of which revolves around backstage drama in a fictional big band, the band members who aren't part of the plot are played by members of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, with Miller himself appearing as the bandleader in each film.
- 555: Famously averted by "Pennsylvania 6-5000", which was (and still is) the phone number of the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York, which was a major venue for live Big Band music at the time the song was written.
- Harsher in Hindsight: "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" sounds innocent enough, until you realize that it was about World War II... and that Miller himself never "came marching home"
- Melancholy Moon: "Moonlight Serenade".
- Music of Note: Pretty much the most famous jazz band leader of the 1940s.
- Phone Number Jingle: The above-mentioned "Pennsylvania 6-5000", or "Pennsylvania 6-5-oh-oh-oh" as they call it later in the song for variety.
- Stop and Go: "In the Mood"
- Took a Level in Cheerfulness: In The Mood is a joyful record.
- 12-Bar Blues: "In the Mood"