I belong to a chat group called Songbirds, which is devoted to the songs and performers of classic pop and show music, from the 1920’s to the present. Benny Goodman was mentioned the other day, along with the names of the vocalists he’d worked with: Helen Forrest, Martha Tilton, Peggy Lee –but no-one mentioned Lynn Roberts, who sang with Benny in the 1960’s. She told me he was a raging egotist, totally solipsistic, never considered anyone but himself. And she cited this example: one January day, as they were rehearsing in his apartment, Lynn and three musicians (bass player, drummer, guitarist) began shivering, because the windows were open and the icy wind was whistling in. No-one said anything for about half an hour; it was Benny’s apartment, after all, and they each thought, Well, if he wants the windows open, that’s his prerogative. But it started snowing, and big, wet flakes began drifting in. Lynn finally decided to take the bull by the horns and said, as diplomatically as she could, “Hey, Benny, haven’t you noticed? The wind is something fierce out there, aren’t you cold?” At which point Benny paused a moment, nodded, and said, “Yeah, I guess I am.” And he disappeared into his bedroom…and came back in a sweater.
Take a look at Songbirds@yahoogroups.com