By the Fall of 1939…
…the Glenn Miller Orchestra was the nation’s hottest attraction.
“Tuxedo Junction” and “A String of Pearls” reached No. 1 on the top-sellers chart, and Miller was awarded the first-ever gold record in 1942 for selling more than one million copies of “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”
With the onset of World War II, Miller, at 37, was determined to take part in the war effort. Entering the Army in October 1942, he molded the nation’s most popular service band. That U.S. Air Force Band went to England in the summer of 1944, entertaining troops at 71 concerts in five months. On the afternoon of December 15, while flying from the south of England to newly liberated Paris to lead a concert to be broadcast on Christmas, the small plane carrying Major Glenn Miller disappeared over the English Channel, ending a brilliant and influential career in American popular music.