Dick Henry Jurgens (January 9, 1910 –
October 5, 1995) was an American swing
music bandleader, who enjoyed great
popularity in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Dick Jurgens was born in Sacramento,
California to Dietrich Heinrich Jurgens and
Clara Matilda (Erath) Jurgens. Jurgens
played in an orchestra in high school but was
kicked out of the ensemble for playing pop
music. In response, he formed his own group
in 1928 while still a student. His brother Will
Jurgens was a member; Will later became
Dick's manager during his years of fame.
Jurgens then studied at the University of
California at Berkeley and Sacramento Junior
College (now Sacramento City College)
before accepting an engagement with his
own orchestra at the St. Francis Hotel in San
Francisco in 1933. The following year,
Jurgens signed a contract with Decca
Records, and recorded extensively for the
label between 1934 and 1940. Jurgens'
vocalist at this time was Eddy Howard.
Island, the Elitch Gardens in Denver, the
Aragon Ballroom and the Trianon Ballroom in
Chicago, and other popular swing venues.
He recorded for Vocalion Records in 1938
and for Okeh Records starting in 1940. His
first side to reach Your Hit Parade was "It's a
Hundred to One You're in Love with Me" in
1939; the following year, "In an Old Dutch
Garden" proved to be a big hit. Jurgens often
found that Glenn Miller's versions of his hits
performed better on the charts than his own,
such as the song "Careless". Following
Howard's departure from the group in 1940,
Harry Cool became its lead singer. Jurgens
scored more hits later that year, with "A
Million Dreams Ago" and the instrumental
"Elmer's Tune", the latter of which Miller
would take a vocal Jurgens held residencies
at the Casino Ballroom on Catalina version to
number one. Later hits included "The Bells of
San Raquel" and "Happy in Love" (released
on Columbia Records). His biggest hit was
1942's "One Dozen Roses", with Buddy
Moreno on vocals; the song hit #1 in the
summer of that year.
Later in 1942, Jurgens disbanded his group
due in no small part to the 1942 recording
ban by the American Federation of
Musicians. He joined the Marines from 1942
to 1945, directing theater shows for the
troops. In 1946 he re-formed his band,
recording for Columbia and Mercury into the
1950s. He had his own radio show in 1948
on CBS, and also married in December of
that year to Miriam Davidson.
1941 sheet music cover for "Elmer's Tune"
featuring Dick Jurgens, Robbins Music.
Jurgens kept up his group until 1956, by
which time his style of swing had long passed
out of popular favor. After this he moved to
Colorado Springs and founded an
electronics business with his brother. He
occasionally played at the Broadmoor
Country Club in Colorado Springs, and
moved to California in 1965, where he again
played intermittently. He put together a new
band late in the 1960s; he played and
recorded with the group on a part-time basis
through 1976. His latter years were spent in
Sacramento in the real estate business. He
sold the rights to his ensemble's name to
Don Ring in 1986. He died in 1995 of cancer
at age 85.
Wikipedia Artist Biography - Dick Jurgen's
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