One of the most important and groundbreaking musicians of the 20th century, Benny Goodman was known as "The King of Swing."
Goodman was born in Chicago on May 30, 1909 and made his professional music debut at age 11. He formed his first band at age 25.
In December of 1934, the Goodman Orchestra was one of three bands hired for NBC’s new three-hour music program Let’s Dance. The show’s late timeslot meant that Goodman’s band was still relatively unknown when the show left the air in May 1935. It wasn’t until the band played in California—where Let’s Dance aired three hours earlier—that Goodman’s high-octane swing became popular.
The band’s popularity grew through regular appearances on radio. From 1936 to 1939, Goodman headlined CBS’ Camel Caravan. During this time, the band was also heard on late-night "remote" broadcasts from New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania and Chicago’s Congress Hotel.
For all of Goodman’s musical innovations, perhaps the most important one came when he integrated his band in 1935 with the addition of pianist Teddy Wilson.
Benny Goodman died on June 13, 1986.
He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1988.