Swing Music Trivia Questions and Answers

This page is just for fun!

Updated September 14, 2017.


Each week we'll post a trivia question, each with its own deadline. 

If you e-mail the correct answer to any question before its deadline has passed, your name will be entered into a drawing for a FREE CD. E-mails should be addressed to swing@bigband-era.com

Please, no more than one entry per trivia question.

You may submit answers to more than one question in the same e-mail message.

Once you're declared a winner, you'll be ineligible to win again for three months.

Our monthly winners will receive a CD of any episode of "Swingin' Down The Lane" that's listed at "Tune Me In."


Thanks to those of you who have faithfully played this game each week. I've enjoyed getting to know you, if only by e-mail. The time has come to discontinue the quiz. I'll keep it up for a few weeks, but then it'll be gone, just a pleasant memory.

Questions for September 2017

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
What were the stage names of these three musical performers? John Altwerger, Joe Yule, Jr., Giovanni Alfredo DeSimone. (OK, you can use Google this time.) September 5
1830 In 1940, Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers recorded a song called W. P. A. Name a later song that also had a title made up of three letters separated by periods. September 12
1831 Name a Mills Brothers hit that was a German song to which Johnny Mercer added new English lyrics. September 19
1832 Name five professional musicians who went by the nickname of Buddy. September 26

Answers for September 2017

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1829 Georgie Auld, Mickey Rooney, Johnny Desmond 2
1830 I was thinking of M. T. A. 0
1831   0
1832   0

Questions for August 2017

Winner once again is Ed Cecchini from Clinton, Massachusetts.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline

I’ll give you a fragment of the lyrics to two popular songs. You give me the titles. The first one is "No sobs, no sorrows, no sighs." The second is "No month of May, no twinkling stars."

August 1
1825 What popular song was adapted from Artur Rubenstein's composition, Romance? August 8
1826 What did Woody Herman call the small group made up of members of his full band? August 15
1827 Name a song title that included the name of an American city identified only by one letter. August 22
1828 Who taught Helen O'Connell dancing in a hurry? August 29

Answers for August 2017

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1824 This Can't Be Love and My Romance. 2
1825 If You Are But a Dream. 2
1826 There were the Woodchoppers and also the Four Chips. 1
1827 Big D (Dallas) 2
1828 Arthur Murray. He established a nationwide chain of dance studios. 4

Questions for July 2017

Winner is Deb Dunbar from Stillwater, New York.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline

On Glenn Miller’s recording of Jukebox Saturday Night, what vocal trio was imitated?

July 4
1821 Big Noise from Winnetka --- what was the big noise? July 11
1822 Name songs from the big band era (1930-1950) that had penny, nickel or dime in their titles. July 18
1823 What do these three African-American female vocalists have in common? June Richmond, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne. July 25

Answers for July 2017

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1820 The Ink Spots. 3
1821 It's a reference to a rowdy group of young men from this Chicago suburb who used to frequent the nightclub where the Crosby band was playing. 0
1822 The Nickel Serenade, Penny Serenade, Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?, Dancing on a Dime, Love and a Dime, Penny Lane and the classic You Dropped Me Like a Red Hot Penny! (Plus several more) 2
1823 They all sang with bands led by white men: Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw and Artie Shaw again. 1

Questions for June 2017

How about that! Edward Whitworth has snagged the big prize once again.Chances are excellent that Copperas Cove, Texas will schedule a big victory parade in his honor.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline

Name two songs from operas that Bea Wain sang while associated with the Larry Clinton orchestra.

June 6

Who was Bob Hope’s singing partner when he introduced Thanks for the Memory in a movie?

June 13

I’ll give you a word or phrase, you come up with the last name of a bandleader whose last name sounds like a synonym of the word or phrase I gave you.  For example, if I say German leader during World War I, you would come up with Kay Kyser.  Okay?  What bandleader is suggested by the word “conundrum”?  What bandleader is suggested by a wrestling hold?

June 20

Lena Horne will always be associated with the song Stormy Weather, but can you name the other female singer who originally introduced that song?

June 27

Answers for June 2017

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1816 Tit Willow, I've Got a Little List, My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice 2
1817 Shirley Ross 2
1818 A conundrum is a riddle, as in Nelson Riddle. Nelson is a wrestling hold, suggesting Ozzie or Oliver Nelson. 2
1819 Ethel Waters introduced it in a Cotton Club revue in 1933. 2

Questions for May 2017

Karson Vieregge is our winner again.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
Name two recordings by Johnny Long that featured a straight vocal by Bob Houston plus a chanting chorus by members of the band. May 2
1812 How many different vocalists recorded Artie Shaw's song, Any Old Time, with the Shaw band? May 9
1813 No Name Jive was originally recorded by three bands. Name them. May 16

This bandleader recorded five songs whose one-word titles were all names of islands beginning with the letter M. Name this leader.

May 23
1815 What major league ballplayer inspired the title of the hit song from the 1930s, The Dipsy Doodle? May 30

Answers for May 2017

Question # # of 
Correct Entries

Blue Skies and When I Grow Too Old to Dream.

1812 He actually recorded it three times, with Anita Boyer first, then Billie Holiday and Helen Forrest 0

The three original versions were by Glen Gray, Charlie Barnet and Gene Krupa. Other bands recorded it some years later.

1814 Wilbur DeParis, leader of the New New Orleans Jazz Band. 0
1815 Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants threw an odd pitch that acquired that name. 2

Questions for April 2017

This month's winner is Shaun McCullough from Ohio.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
For how many years did Bill Finegan create big band arrangements for Sammy Kaye? April 4
1808 Helen Forrest sang with Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Harry James. Which one of the three did she fall in love with? April 11
1809 Name the alto sax player who tried to lure Ella Fitzgerald away from the Chick Webb so that she could sing in his new band. April 18
1810 Name the tune that Charlie Barnet used when the 1941 ASCAP boycott was enforced. April 25

Answers for April 2017

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1807 No years. People often confused him with Ralph Flanagan, who arranged for Kaye before forming his own band, playing the style of music that Finegan arranged for Glenn Miller's band. 0
1808 She hoped that Harry James would marry her but all hope faded when he met Betty Grable 5
1809 That was Louis Jordan. He acted as though he was interested in her romantically, but his real motivation was to get her to sing with his band once he went out on his own. Some years later they combined their talent on the song Stone cold dead in the market. 2
1810 Redskin Rhumba used the style of Cherokee but didn't play any of that melody. 1

Questions for March 2017

This month's winner is Edward Cecchini.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
Their first names were Cliff, Mel and Sterling. What were their last names and what did they have in common? March 7
1804 One played trumpet with Dorsey and Goodman. The other one played trombone with Krupa and James. They shared the same nickname. Their last names were five letters long, with the first three the same. Who were they? March 14
1805 Wunderbar was a song from the musical "Kiss Me Kate." Identify a 1937 song that had the word wunderbar in its lyrics. March 21
1806 Identify Alice Hammond Duckworth. March 28

Answers for March 2017

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1803 Cliff Edwards, Mel Blanc and Sterling Holloway all provided voices for Disney animated movies. I also gave credit to an entry that named three musicians with those first names. 2
1804 Ziggy Elman and Ziggy Elmer 1
1805 Bei Mir Bist Du Schön. 1
1806 Benny Goodman's wife. 1

Questions for February 2017

Winner once again is Edward Whitworth of Copperas Cove, Texas.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
Name a Disney animated production that included the Benny Goodman orchestra. February 7
1800 A 1917 tune was based on a piece by Frederic Chopin. Name that tune. February 14
1801 A female pianist was composer of one of Benny Goodman's most exciting big band instrumentals. Name the composer and the song title. February 21
1802 Two bandleaders -- one's last name is the same as the other's first name. Who are they? February 28

Answers for February 2017

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1799 The ochestra played All the cats join in in the Disney animated film, "Make Mine Music." 4
1800 I'm always chasing rainbows. 4
1801 Mary Lou Williams wrote Roll 'Em. 2
1802 Hats off to Ed Cecchini, who submitted the following: Billy Vaughn Monroe, Elliot Lawrence Welk, Wayne King Oliver, Ozzie Nelson Riddle, Herbie Kay Kyser, Ray Noble Sissle, Ben Bernie Cummins, Garwood Van Alexander and Woody Herman Wademan. I'll have to take his word on Garwood Van and Herman Wademan, new names to me. 4

Questions for January 2017

Winner is Debbie Dunbar from Stillwater, New York.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
Aside from the fact that each of these musical performers was born in 1917, what do Laurindo Almeida, Vera Lynn and Buster Harding have in common? January 3
1795 Name an instrument that Billy Butterfield played before he settled on the trumpet. January 10
1796 What musician was known as Cleanhead? January 17
1797 Name two songs besides St. Louis Blues whose titles consist of the word "blues" preceded by an American city. January 24
1798 Each of these ladies played the piano and were married to cornetists. Name them. January 31

Answers for January 2017

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1794 Almeida: Brazil; Lynn: England; Harding: Canada, all three born outside the U. S. 1
1795 Violin, bass and trombone. I gave credit for cornet, too. 5
1796 Eddie Vinson 4
1797 I was thinking of Dallas and Memphis. You added these: Kansas City, Statesboro, Atlanta, Davenport, Little Rock, Honolulu, Nashville, New Orleans, Kokomo, Chicago ... and Tishomingo (Mississippi). 6
1798 Lil Hardin and Louis Armstrong, Marian and Jimmy McPartland, Mary Lou Williams and Shorty Baker. 5

Join the SDL Club

Consider this your personal invitation to become a member of the SDL Club. SDL stands for Swingin’ Down the Lane. It also stands for a dedicated effort to preserve one of America’s proudest art forms --- big band music.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND: For over 30 years I’ve hosted a weekly radio program spotlighting the big bands --- everyone from Goodman to Garber, Miller to Mancini and Ellington to Elgart. Each week I reach into our database of 140,000 song titles to select recordings that fit the theme of our program. We may play music to accompany an interview with a big band vocalist or leader. We may salute women in jazz or mark the 100th birth anniversary of big band pioneers.

Though we’re adding new stations all the time, many people who regularly visit our website don’t live in areas where they can receive our weekly broadcasts. If Swingin’ Down the Lane isn’t broadcast in your area, the SDL Club offers the opportunity to hear the program on a regular basis. On the other hand, if it is broadcast near you, we provide a chance to hear a program as many times as you wish.

CLUB BENEFITS.  As a member of the SDL Club, you will receive each month the CD of your choice from among programs broadcast during the previous month.  You’ll also be eligible to purchase additional programs for only $7.00, less than half the prices quoted in our Music Store..

MEMBERSHIP DUES.  Regular membership in the SDL Club is $75 a year. Imagine, each month you’ll receive a one-of-a-kind CD. Over the course of a year you’ll receive 12 CD’s valued at $180 – more than twice the amount of the dues!

We’ve also established an elite member category, which offers all 52 programs on CD for annual dues of $250. This category is limited to 12 people --- one for each month of the year. In recognition of their support, each Elite Member is designated on-air as program underwriter of the month. 

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So join now, and become a member of a club dedicated to the glorification of big band music of yesterday and today. Show your interest by e-mailing me at swing@bigband-era.com.

Questions for September 2014

Winner is Edward Whitworth of Copperas Cove, Texas.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
1672 Ralph Burns created a three-part suite for Woody Herman that he titled Summer Sequence. Later he added a fourth part. One refrain from it was developed into a full-blown melody. What was its title? September 2
1673 Eddy Howard was a big success with his own band. Just before he formed it, he was vocalist with what other band? September 9
1674 True or false: Both Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall. September 16
1675 We're counting down the recordings most requested by listeners to a New York music radio station. We'll reveal the top 12 this week. Can't you guess at least four that made it in the top 12? Hint: Five were recorded by vocalists, the other seven are instrumentals. September 23
1676 What vocalist or bandleader do you associate with each of these songs: Jambalaya, Rippling rhythm, Moonlight in Vermont. September 30

Answers for September 2014

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1672 Early Autumn. 1
1673 The Dick Jurgens band. 2
1674 True. Benny, of course, blazed a trail with his concert on January 16, 1938. On October 6, 1939, the Glenn Miller band played at a special concert during Music Festival Week. Goodman's band, too, played at that concert. 1

12  Take the “A” train -- Duke Ellington

11  Mack the Knife -- Bobby Darin

10  Mona Lisa -- Nat King Cole

 9  In the mood -- Glenn Miller

 8  I left my heart in San Francisco -- Tony Bennett

 7  Begin the beguine -- Artie Shaw

 6  My way -- Frank Sinatra

 5  Stardust -- Artie Shaw

 4  White Christmas -- Bing Crosby

 3  Sing, sing, sing -- Benny Goodman

 2  Moonlight serenade -- Glenn Miller

 1  I can’t get started -- Bunny Berigan

1676 I was thinking of Jo Stafford but accept Hank Williams as another correct answer. Shep Fields used Rippling Rhythm as his theme song. Margaret Whiting made the big recording of Moonlight in Vermont. 3

Questions for August 2014

We have a winner! Kirk Bonds of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
1668 What tune is most likely to be the final number at a Dixieland band concert? August 5
1669 What performer do you associate with each of these three songs? Chances Are, I apologize, Cabaret. August 12
1670 He was a trombonist and popular bandleader of the 1930s and '40s. His son also plays trombone and leads a band today. His son is also a trombonist. Three generations: What's their last name? August 19
1671 When Marion Hutton collapsed from exhaustion, Glenn Miller needed a replacement until Marion could return. He sent for a young lady who later would have a fine career as a solo vocalist. Name her. August 26

Answers for August 2014

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1668 When the Saints Go Marching In. 3
1669 Johnny Mathis, Billy Eckstine and Liza Minelli. 2
1670 Jack Morgan carries on the family tradition by leading the Russ Morgan orchestra. Jack's son Russell also plays the trombone. 1
1671 None other than Kay Starr. She recorded two tunes with the Miller band: Baby Me and Love with a Capital "You." 3

Questions for July 2014

Monthly winner is Billy Byrd from Oklahoma City, OK

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
1663 Name three prominent musicians who played in the band led by Billy Eckstine. July 1
1664 Ella Fitzgerald, in a song, addresses a noted violinist and composer from another century, asking him to play her rhapsody. What's his last name? July 8
1665 Who was older, Tommy or Jimmy Dorsey? Les or Larry Elgart? Art or George McFarland? July 15
1666 One of Erskine Hawkins' greatest hits didn't feature his trumpet but rather a piano. Name the pianist who played After Hours. July 22
1667 Give me the names of three musical performers whose "stage names" all had the initials C B. July 29

Answers for July 2014

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1663 At one time or another his band included Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray and Oscar Pettiford. 3
1664 Mr. Paganini. 3
1665 Trick question! Tommy was older than Jimmy, Les older than Larry. As to the McFarlands, they were TWINS. 1
1666 Avery Parrish, a talented pianist who later died as a consequence of a bar fight. 3
1667 Count Basie, Charlie Barnet, Chu Berry, Connee Boswell, Clyde Burke --- just for starters! 3

Questions for June 2014

Winner is Jerry Thomason from Fair Oaks, California.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
1659 What swing era performers billed themselves as Mr. and Mrs. Swing? June 3
1660 Perry Como had a big hit in 1946 when he recorded Prisoner of Love. What other singer had a hit recording of this song 15 years earlier? June 10
1661 What was the first name of the pin-up girl celebrated in a song played by the armed forces orchestra under the direction of Glenn Miller? June 17
1662 What were the birth names of Sammy Kaye, Blue Barron and Ray Anthony? June 24

Answers for June 2014

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1659 Red Norvo and Mildred Bailey. They had a regular weekly radio program when they were still married to each other. 3
1660 Russ Columbo, who also composed that song. 2
1661 Peggy, the Pin-up Girl. 2
1662 Samuel Zarnocay, Raymond Antonini. As for Blue Barron, there's some discrepancy so I gave credit for any of these variations: Hershel Freidland, Harry Freidman or Harry Friedman 4

Questions for May 2014

Winner is Eddie Cecchini of Clinton, Massachusetts.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
1655 This bandleader featured a style of music he called "Fashions in Music." Later he became musical director for Perry Como. Identify him. May 6
1656 Give me the last name of three big band vocalists with the first name of Harry. May 13
1657 Explain the title of Benny Goodman's instrumental, Life Goes to a Party. May 20
1658 A popular song had the title of Mr. Five By Five. What vocalist acquired that nickname? May 27

Answers for May 2014

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1655 Mitchell Ayres. 3
1656 How about Harry Cool, Harry VonZell, Harry Babbitt and Harry Lillis ("Bing") Crosby? 2
1657 The reference is to Life Magazine, which came out weekly. They included a feature with photos accompanying an event that the magazine was covering, such as a party. 2
1658 Jimmy Rushing, whose anatomical measurements approximated the profile of the individual mentioned in the song. 2

Questions for April 2014

Winner of the month is Debbie Dunbar of Stillwater, New York.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
1650 Can you think of a connection between Shirley Temple and Margaret Whiting? April 1
1651 The Ella Award, named for Miss Fitzgerald, is bestowed on a different singer each year by the Society of Singers. Fittingly, Ella was the first recipient. Who was honored with the second Ella Award? April 8
1652 On which of these Jimmy Dorsey recordings did Helen O'Connell NOT sing along with Bob Eberly: Tangerine, Besame Mucho, Amapola or Brazil? April 15
1653 Cherokee was one of several compositions referencing Native Americans. Name the composer of this song and name at least one of the other melodies that comprised the composer's "Indian Suite." April 22
1654 He played trombone and led a Dixieland style jazz combo, his brother played trumpet in the band. Give their family name. April 29

Answers for April 2014

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1650 Margaret Whiting's father wrote the music for On the Good Ship Lollipop. The title derived from little Margaret getting too close to his piano with a lollipop in her mouth. 3
1651 Frank Sinatra. 3
1652 Kitty Kallen teamed with Eberly on Besame Mucho. 5
1653 The other tribes were Seminole, Iroquois, Comanche and Sioux. 3
1654 I was thinking of Wilbur DeParis and his brother Sidney. But contestants added Jack Teagarden and brother Charlie and also Fred Assunto and his brother Frank. I also would have allowed Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey because Jimmy also played trumpet and cornet as well as sax while Tommy wielded the baton for the Dorsey Brothers band. 4

Questions for March 2014

Winner this month is Jerry Thomason from Fair Oaks, California.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
1646 Your answers should be WHERE or WHEN. If I give you the words "day is done," you know that the first word of the song title is WHEN. What is the first word of the song that includes:

a. red, red robin
b. little dog
c. Capistrano
d. blue of the night
March 4
1647 What do these musical personalities have in common? Les Paul, Count Basie, James P. Johnson and Sarah Vaughan. Whoops, I goofed. Les Paul doesn't belong in this category. What do the other three have in common? March 11
1648 Which of these musical personalities doesn't belong with the others? Queen Latifah, Frankie Valli, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan or Connie Francis? March 18
1649 Name the clarinetist whom Tommy Dorsey fired because, in live performances, he refused to play note for note the solo he had performed on a recording. March 25

Answers for March 2014

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1646 a. When, b. Where, c. When, d. Where 4
1647 They were born in the state of New Jersey. 2
1648 All but Frank Sinatra were born in Newark, New Jersey. Frank was born in Hoboken. 2
1649 Buddy deFranco. The tune was Well, Git It! 2

Questions for February 2014

Winner is Edward Whitworth of Copperas Cove, Texas.

Question #                                Trivia Questions Deadline
1642 Although Glenn Miller and Tex Beneke were close friends, Glenn fired Tex one night in January 1941. Why did he fire him? (He hired Tex back the next day.) February 4
1643 Come On-A My House, a big hit for Rosemary Clooney, was written by William Saroyan and Ross Bagdasarian. How were the two composers related? February 11
1644 What do these three musical personages have in common? Ethel Waters, Randy Brooks, Pete Fountain. February 18
1645 Name a popular song from the 1930s that mentions Edison, Ford, Columbus, Rockefeller and Marconi in the lyrics. February 25

Answers for February 2014

Question # # of 
Correct Entries
1642 Tex had been named to the Metronome All-Star Band, which was to record at midnight on an evening when the Miller band was playing at the Hotel Pennsylvania. Since management insisted that all band members should remain on the stand until closing time, Tex and Glenn cooked up a plan where Tex would provoke Glenn to the point that Glenn would loudly proclaim a few minutes before midnight that Tex was fired. Whereupon Tex picked up his instruments and headed to the recording studio. 0
1643 They were first cousins. Saroyan was a noted novelist. Bagdasarian adopted the stage name of David Seville and was the creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks. 2
1644 H2O 0
1645 They All Laughed, written by George and Ira Gershwin and featured in the 1937 movie, "Shall We Dance?" 1

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