It’s a rare country and western song that breaks out of its genre to become a mainstream hit, but Charlie Rich’s 1973 song “The Most Beautiful Girl” is such a song. It reached #1 on the US, Belgian and Canadian charts, #2 in the UK and Ireland, and various top ten positions in Australia, France, Holland, Denmark and Norway. It took three months to climb to the top of the US charts, and held that exalted position for two weeks (it was knocked off by Jim Croce’s masterpiece, “Time In A Bottle”, which is certainly no shame).
Glenn Miller was one of the most famous band leaders of the Big Band era. His Glenn Miller Orchestra was one of the best known and most popular bands of its time, and Miller was the lead singer, trombonist and principal songwriter for it. Among his songs are such standards as “In the Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade”, “Pennsylvania 6-5000” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo”.
A staunch patriot, Miller attempted to join the US Navy in 1942, but was rejected for being too old (he was 38 at the time). The Air Force proved more welcoming, and although he saw no active duty, Miller was highly active in the Army Air Force Band, quickly becoming its bandleader and performing a weekly radio broadcast as both DJ and leader of the house band.
In 1944, the Army Air Force Band, now a 50 piece ensemble, went to England, where they performed more than 800 engagements over the course of the second half of 1944. Miller also recorded songs in German that were broadcast to Nazi-held regions as propaganda. On the night he disappeared, Miller was flying to the recently-liberated Paris to play for Allied troops there. His plane was lost with all hands as it crossed the English Channel. No trace of the plane or its passengers was ever found. The Glenn Miller Orchestra carries on his Miller’s name to this day.