Greg Poppleton

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Martha Tilton – Phantom Dancer 16 February 2021

Martha Tilton is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist. Martha Tilton was a US pop singer during the Swing Era and into the 1960s who found fame as Benny Goodman’s singer from 1937-39.

The Phantom Dancer is your non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV hosted by me, Greg Poppleton. Hear past Phantom Dancer online now at

This show will be online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 16 February at

Martha Tilton soundies from 1941…


Started her singing on a small Los Angeles radio station while in high school. She was heard by an agent who signed her and began booking her with larger stations. At 16 she left school to sing with Hal Grayson’s band. After singing with the quartet Three Hits and a Miss, she joined the Myer Alexander Chorus on Benny Goodman’s ‘Camel Caravan’ radio show, which you’ll hear on this week’s Phantom Dancer. Goodman hired Tilton as a vocalist with his band in August 1937. She was his star vocalist until the end of 1939, in which year she had a #1 hit singing in Benny Goodman’s recording of ‘And the Angels Sing’.


She was one of the first artists signed to Capitol and one of their top sellers between 1942 and 1949 with hits like ‘Moon Dreams’ (1942), ‘I’ll Walk Alone’ (1944), ‘I Should Care’ and ‘A Stranger in Town’ (both 1945), ‘How Are Things in Glocca Morra’, ‘That’s My Desire’ and ‘I Wonder, I Wonder, I Wonder’, all in 1947. Martha Tilton


In 1941, Tilton sang on the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show and starred in Campana Serenade, a program of popular music on first NBC and then CBS in 1942-1944.

In the early 1940s, she sang on Ransom Sherman’s program on CBS. She also sang on The Jack Smith Show. In 1949 Martha Tilton starred with Curt Massey on Alka-Seltzer Time, a 15-minute radio series broadcast weekdays on both CBS and Mutual until 1953. You’ll hear an excerpt from this show and The Jack Smith Show on this week’s Phantom Dancer. After the series ended, Massey and Tilton continued to appear together during the late 1950s on such shows as Guest Star and Stars for Defense.


Her movies include Sunny (1941), Strictly in the Groove (1942), Swing Hostess (1944), Crime, Inc. (1945), and The Benny Goodman Story (1956). Her last film appearance was as the band vocalist in the TV movie Queen of the Stardust Ballroom (1975). Tilton’s singing voice was used for other actresses including Barbara Stanwyck, Martha O’Driscoll, and Anne Gwynne.


Tilton worked with Massey in the late 1950s and early 1960s on KRCA-TV in Los Angeles. They were reunited on that station’s Curt Massey Show. She won a Southland Emmy Award in 1960 and 1961 for outstanding female personality for her role in the show. She guested on The Jack Benny Program, February 26, 1963, where they reminisce about their work entertaining soldiers for the USO. Watch Martha Tilton on 1955 TV…


The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney LISTEN ONLINE Community Radio Network Show CRN #475

107.3 2SER Tuesday 16 February 2021 12:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT) and Saturdays 5 – 5:55pm National Program 5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am 3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am 4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am 2SEA Eden Monday 3 – 4am 2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4pm 2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4pm 3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm 7MID Oatlands Tuesday 8 – 9pm 1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am 2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm 5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm 4RPH Brisbane Sunday 3 – 4am 7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am 3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am 6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Sunday 5 – 6am 3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm

Set 1
1943-45 Radio Dance Bands 
Open + Please Dont Say No
Frankie Masters Orchestra (voc) Frankie Masters
‘Spotlight Bands’ Cedar Rapids Iowa Blue Network 1945
Valse Triste
Russ Morgan Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’ AFRS Re-broadcast 28 Apr 1944
Take it Slow + Close
Shep Fields and his New Music
‘One Night Stand’ AFRS Re-broadcast 1943
Set 2
Stan Kenton 
Open + Limelight
Stan Kenton Orchestra
‘Concert in Miniature’ KFSD NBC San Diego 10 Feb 1953
Lonesome Road
Stan Kenton Orchestra (voc) June Christy
‘Innovations in Modern Music’ Radio Transcription 1950
Francesca + Artistry in Rhythm (theme)
Stan Kenton Orchestra
‘Concert in Miniature’ Hampton Casino, Hampton Beach, NH WBZ NBC Boston 21 Jul 1953
Set 3
Phil Harris 
Young and Healthy
Phil Harris Orchestra (voc) Phil Harris and The Three Ambassadors
Cocoanut Grove Radio Transcription Los Angeles 1933
The Girl in the Little Green Hat
Phil Harris Orchestra (voc) Lee Norton
Cocoanut Grove Radio Transcription Los Angeles 1933
Come On, Get Up
Phil Harris Orchestra (voc) Leah Raye
Cocoanut Grove Radio Transcription Los Angeles 1933
Set 4
Martha Tilton 
I’ll String Along With You
Martha Tilton
‘Alka-Seltzer Time’ WABC CBS NY 17 Jun 1949
So Many Memories
Martha Tilton (voc) Benny Goodman Orchestra
Madhattan Room Pennsylvania Hotel WABC CBS NY 20 Oct 1937
I’ll Walk Alone + What a Deal
Martha Tilton
‘Oxydol Show’ WABC CBS NY 17 Dec 1945
Set 5
Matha Tilton with Benny Goodman 
Cuckoo in the Clock
Martha Tilton (voc) Benny Goodman Orchestra
‘Camel Caravan’ Hartford Conn. WDRC CBS NY 7 Feb 1939
Swing, Benny, Swing
Martha Tilton, Bloch and Sully, Meyer Alexander Chorus (voc) Benny Goodman Orchestra
‘Camel Caravan’ KNX CBS LA 10 Aug 1937
A Home in the Clouds
Martha Tilton (voc) Benny Goodman Orchestra
‘Camel Caravan’ Earle Theatre Philadelphia WCAU CBS NY 14 Feb 1939
Set 6
Harmony Singers 
Sophisticated Lady
The King Sisters
Radio Transcription Los Angeles 1947
Swinging on the Strings
The Inkspots
WEAF NBC Red NY 9 Aug 1935
Sentimental Journey
The Sentimentalists
‘Tommy Dorsey Show’ AFRS Re-broadcast 24 Jun 1945
Moonlight Cocktail
The Modernaires
‘Chesterfield Show’ WABC CBS NY 23 Jun 1942
Set 7
 Blue Barron Orchestra 
You’re the Only Star in My Blue Heaven
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Glee Club & Russ Carlyle
Radio Transcription 1938
It’s a Whole New Thing
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Charlie Fisher
Radio Transcription 1939
Bluebirds in the Moonlight
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Russ Carlyle
Radio Transcription 1940
Love of My Life
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Charlie Fisher
Radio Transcription 1938
Set 8
Count Basie 1944 
Jumpin’ Jive
Count Basie Orchestra
Blue Room Hotel Lincoln WABC CBS NY 27 May 1944
Count Basie Orchestra
Blue Room Hotel Lincoln WABC CBS NY 5 May 1944
Harvard Blues
Count Basie Orchestra (voc) Jimmy Rushing
Blue Room Hotel Lincoln WABC CBS NY 27 May 1944
My, What a Fry! + Jumpin’ at the Woodside
Count Basie Orchestra
Blue Room Hotel Lincoln WABC CBS NY 5 May 1944

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