During a time when teenagers were doing the jitterbug and Uncle Sam was asking young men to enlist, The Andrews Sisters were America’s most popular female singing group. Patty, the youngest sister, was a loud and energetic blond who headed the group with her confident vocals. The middle sister was Maxene, a brunette, whose harmonic range gave the impression of four voices instead of three. Finally, completing the trio was the eldest, LaVerne, a strong willed red head with a witty sense of humor and an eye for fashion.
The Andrews Sisters versatile sound and range in genres explains their longevity in the music industry and popularity with people all over the world. They had major hits in nearly all types of music ranging from swing to country-western. This tremendous popularity did not stop in the music business. The trio could also be found performing in radio series, commercials, Hollywood movies and on Broadway.
Born in Minnesota, the three Andrews sisters developed a love for music at an early age. As children their first experience with music occurred when LaVerne had her two younger sisters sing a musical note around the family’s piano. This experience awakened the girls love for music and they began spending all of their free time singing and mimicking the successful singers of the time. Some of their first major influences included the Boswell Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme.
The girls got their start when Larry Rich hired them to go on tour with his 55 member troupe. In 1932 they stopped touring with Rich, but the girls continued to sing at fairs, vaudeville shows and club acts. While touring the girls worked hard on their craft and rehearsed daily, sometimes practicing in the back of their father’s Buick while driving to the next show. After six years of living on the road the girls had their first major success with “Bei Mir” which sold 350,000 copies. The song held the Billboards No. 1 slot for five weeks. This achievement established The Andrews Sisters as successful recording artists and they became celebrities.