Louise Tobin dead at 104: Big band singer who helped discover Frank Sinatra dies at family home

Legendary big band singer Louise Tobin, who is said to have helped discover music icon Frank Sinatra, has died at the age of 104.

Tobin was a hugely popular singer in the 1930s and 1940s alongside her former husband and trumpeter, the late Harry James, according to The Washington Post.

Louise Tobin (pictured) singing at an event in 1984

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Louise Tobin (pictured) singing at an event in 1984Photo credit: Getty
Tobin performed in several bands led by Benny Goodman, Will Bradley and Bobby Hackett during her career

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Tobin performed in several bands led by Benny Goodman, Will Bradley and Bobby Hackett during her careerPhoto credit: Getty

Tobin allegedly told James that she heard a young Sinatra singing on the radio and insisted they hire him.

“I heard this boy sing and I thought, ‘There’s a beautiful singer!’ ‘ she told jazz historian Will Friedwald.

“So I woke Harry up and said, ‘Honey, maybe you’d like to hear this boy on the radio. The young singer on this show sounds pretty good.’ That was the end of it for me.”

According to The Post, the next night after his conversation with Tobin, James heard a broadcast of Sinatra singing, who was a waiter at the time.

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He then actively sought out young Sinatra at the Rustic Roadhouse Cabin in New Jersey.

Interestingly, according to the club manager, Sinatra wasn’t a singer but an MC who “sings a little”.

James offered Sinatra a yearly contract for about $75 a week to join and sing in the band with him and Tobin.

Tobin had told the Dallas Morning News that despite her initial discovery, she gave James all the credit for landing Sinatra.

Kevin Mooney, Tobin’s biographer of the book Texas Jazz Singer: Louise Tobin in the Golden Age of Swing and Beyond, confirmed her death but has not yet commented on the cause.

Tobin has notably recorded hits of her own during her time in the music industry, including songs like “There’ll Be Some Changes” and “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.”

She also continued performing into the 1960s, having married jazz clarinetist Michael “Peanuts” Hucko in 1967, where she sang alongside him for another 30 years.

The late music star’s full name is Mary Louise Tobin and she was raised in Denton, Texas with 11 siblings and a widowed mother.

Tobin is survived by two sons, Harry James Jr. and Jerin Timothyray “Tim” James; along with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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Speaking about her early career as a teenager in the 1930s, Tobin explained that she was just glad not to have to do housework.

“My fulfillment was not having to wash dishes,” she remarked.

https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/6775534/louise-tobin-dead-band-frank-sinatra/ Louise Tobin dead at 104: Big band singer who helped discover Frank Sinatra dies at family home

DevanCole

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