Al Donahue

Al Donahue (June 12, 1904, Dorchester, Massachusetts - February 20, 1983, Fallbrook, California) was an American violinist and big band leader.

Donahue got his start playing in Boston-area campus bands and led a band at Boston's Weber Duck Inn in 1925. The ensemble attracted enough notice to obtain engagements at Florida hotels; one of these, the Bermudiana, contracted with Donahue to set up bands to play at all its hotels, as well as onboard Eastern Steamship ocean liners. During the mid-1930s he substituted for Ray Noble as leader at the Rainbow Room of Rockefeller Center. Over time he moved from playing sweet pop music to swing music and toured nationally. He took an engagement at the Palladium in Hollywood immediately after Glenn Miller's departure. Paula Kelly, Dee Keating, Lynne Stevens, Phil Brito, and Snooky Lanson all served as vocalists in his ensemble at times.

Donahue recorded copiously between 1935 and 1942, recording for Decca Records, Vocalion, and Okeh. His biggest hit was a rendition of "Jeepers Creepers", which went to #1 on the Billboard chart in 1938.

After World War II he moved the ensemble again toward light music, playing throughout the West Coast and appearing in films such as Sweet Genevieve. Later, he would return to cruise ships once more, directing music for the Furness Bermuda Line; from 1950 to 1963 he played on the Queen of Bermuda and the Ocean Monarch. He opened a record store in Bermuda, but the government took the store over, forcing Donahue to abandon the business. Following this, he settled in Oceanside, California, where he ran a store called Ponzi's House of Music until his death.

Birth and Death Data: Born June 12th, 1904 (Dorchester), Died February 20th, 1983

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1935 - 1938

Roles Represented in DAHR: tenor saxophone, songwriter, composer, arranger

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 26 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-024075 10-in. 7/22/1938 Don't cross your fingers, cross your heart Jimmy Brown ; Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor BS-024423 10-in. 8/1/1938 A pretty girl milking her cow Larry Clinton Orchestra ; Bea Wain Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo composer  
Victor BS-024456 10-in. 8/5/1938 Don't cross your fingers, cross your heart Johnny Messner ; Music Box Band ; Three Jacks Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio songwriter  
Victor BS-026573 10-in. 9/1/1938 A pretty girl milking her cow Burt Shaw ; Willie Farmer Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo arranger  
Decca 60071 10-in. 10/16/1935 The morning after Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60072 10-in. 10/16/1935 I live for love Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60093 10-in. 10/22/1935 Twenty-four hours a day Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60094 10-in. 10/22/1935 It's dangerous to love like this Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60095 10-in. 10/22/1935 Mine alone Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60106 10-in. 10/24/1935 Love makes the world go round Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60165 10-in. 11/22/1935 How do I rate with you? Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60166 10-in. 11/22/1935 Alone Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60167 10-in. 11/22/1935 You took my breath away Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60168 10-in. 11/22/1935 The Winter waltz Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60253 10-in. 12/19/1935 Too much imagination Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60254 10-in. 12/19/1935 Please believe me Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60255 10-in. 12/19/1935 I built a dream one day Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 60256 10-in. 12/19/1935 Somebody ought to be told Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 61326 10-in. 10/14/1936 To Mary with love Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 61327 10-in. 10/14/1936 For sentimental reasons Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 61328 10-in. 10/14/1936 Bermuda buggy ride Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 61329 10-in. 10/14/1936 When my dreamboat comes home Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 61330 10-in. 10/14/1936 I want the whole world to love you Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 61331 10-in. 10/14/1936 It's love I'm after Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 61332 12-in. 10/14/1936 For sentimental reasons ; It's love I'am after Al Donahue Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
(Results 1-25 of 26 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Donahue, Al," accessed August 10, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106887.

Donahue, Al. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 10, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106887.

"Donahue, Al." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 10 August 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106887

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