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Iowa History Daily: March 1 - Glenn Miller

Iowa History Daily: On March 1, 1904, American bandleader and jazz composer Glenn Miller was born in Clarinda. With more top-ten hits than Elvis or the Beatles, Miller left an enduring musical legacy before disappearing over the English Channel while serving in WW2.

The Clarinda, Iowa, born American big band trombonist, arranger, composer, bandleader, and general hepcat went on to become the best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1942. Popular hits including “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” highlight a deep catalog of hits for the native Iowan. Miller’s music topped the charts repeatedly, and he ended his career with 16 number one records, and 69 in the top-ten.

Choosing to join the military at the peak of his career in 1942, Miller found himself stationed with the Army Specialist Corps in Omaha. After several stops through different facilities, Miller became director of bands for the Army Air Force Technical Training Command. With D-Day looming, General Eisenhower personally requested Miller’s transfer to Europe to help with broadcasting efforts.

While serving in England, Miller boarded a flight for France as Allied forces advanced. His aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel on December 15, 1944, and the popular musician was never seen again. The United States posthumously awarded Miller the Bronze Star. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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