Abe Lyman

Abe Lyman (August 4, 1897 – October 23, 1957) was a popular bandleader from the 1920s to the 1940s. He made recordings, appeared in films and provided the music for numerous radio shows, including Your Hit Parade.

His name at birth was Abraham Simon. He and his brother, Mike, changed their last name to Lyman because they both thought it sounded better. Abe learned to play the drums when he was young, and at the age of 14 he had a job as a drummer in a Chicago café. Around 1919, he was regularly playing music with two other notable future big band leaders, Henry Halstead and Gus Arnheim, in California.

In Los Angeles Mike Lyman opened the Sunset, a night club popular with such film stars as Mary Pickford, Norma Talmadge, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. When Abe's nine-piece band first played at the Sunset, it was a success, but the club closed after celebrities signed contracts stating they were not to be seen at clubs.

For an engagement at the Cocoanut Grove in The Ambassador Hotel on April 1, 1922, Abe added a violinist and saxophonist. Opening night drew a large crowd of 1500 guests in the Cocoanut Grove, plus another 500 more outside.

Lyman appeared on radio as early as 1922. His orchestra was broadcast from The Ambassador Hotel by late March on KOG.

After the band cut their first record under the local label Nordskog Records, they moved a year later to Brunswick Records in summer of 1923. There they made many recordings and were one of Brunswick's leading orchestras through 1935, when Lyman signed to Decca Records. In late 1937, Lyman signed with Victor where he was assigned their Bluebird label. He recorded prolifically for them through 1942. The Lyman Orchestra toured Europe in 1929, appearing at the Kit Cat Club and the Palladium in London and at the Moulin Rouge and the Perroquet in Paris. Lyman and his orchestra were featured in a number of early talkies, including Hold Everything (1930), Paramount on Parade (1930), Good News (1930) and Madam Satan (1930). In 1931, Abe Lyman and his orchestra recorded a number of soundtracks for the Merrie Melodies cartoon series. Notable musicians in the Lyman Orchestra included Ray Lopez, Gussie Mueller, and Orlando "Slim" Martin.

During the 1930s, the Lyman Orchestra was heard regularly on such shows as Accordiana and Waltz Time every Friday evening and on NBC, Coast to Coast. Under the name "Rose Blane" Lyman's wife was vocalist with the band during this period. Lyman and his orchestra sat in for Phil Harris on the Jack Benny program in 1943 when Harris served in the Merchant Marines.

When Lyman was 50 years old, he left the music industry and went into the restaurant management business. He died in Beverly Hills, California at the age of 60.

Birth and Death Data: Born August 4, 1897 (Chicago), Died October 23, 1957 (Beverly Hills)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1922 - 1942

Roles Represented in DAHR: leader, director, composer, songwriter, speaker, lyricist

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 401-414 of 414 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Edison 9479 10-in. 4/24/1924 Honey babe Top Notchers Jazz/dance band composer  
Edison 9671 10-in. 8/9/1924 Mandalay Harry Raderman's Dance Orchestra Jazz/dance band songwriter  
Edison 10217 10-in. 2/24/1925 Little devil Broadway Dance Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Edison 10895 10-in. 3/26/1926 After I say I'm sorry (What can I say) Golden Gate Orchestra [California Ramblers] Jazz/dance band songwriter  
Edison 10912 10-in. 4/6/1926 After I say I'm sorry (What can I say) Frank Braidwood ; Irwin Dash Male vocal solo, with piano songwriter  
Edison 11138 10-in. 7/30/1926 Mary Lou Duke Yellman Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Edison 11472 10-in. 1/26/1927 Mary Lou Frederick Kinsley Pipe organ solo composer  
Edison 18065 10-in. 11/29/1927 Did you mean it? Arthur Fields ; Joe Green Novelty Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
Edison 18526 10-in. 5/23/1928 Just a little bit o' driftwood Melville Morris ; Piccadilly Players Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
Nordskog [Nordskog cat 3019A] 10-in. 1922 Are you playing fair? Abe Lyman ; Lyman’s California Ambassador Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader  
Nordskog [Nordskog cat 3019B] 10-in. 1922 Those longing for you, blues Abe Lyman ; Lyman’s California Ambassador Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader  
Decca 65176 10-in. 3/14/1939 Golden Gate Abe Lyman Orchestra leader  
Decca 65179 10-in. 3/14/1939 San Francisco Abe Lyman Orchestra leader  
Columbia (U.K.) WL756 10-in. 11/16/1927 Mary Lou Pierre Chagnon ; Maurice Chevalier Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble composer  
(Results 401-414 of 414 records)


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Lyman, Abe," accessed January 27, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104409.

Lyman, Abe. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104409.

"Lyman, Abe." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 27 January 2023.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104409

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