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Friday February 1, 2013

With her sisters, she rallied the troops through the Second World War

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Patty Andrews never served in the military, but she and her singing sisters certainly supported the troops.

During the Second World War, they hawked war bonds, entertained soldiers overseas and boosted morale on the home-front with tunes like Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B and I Can Dream, Can't I?

Andrews, the last surviving member of the singing Andrews Sisters trio, died Wednesday at 94 of natural causes at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge, said family spokesman Alan Eichler in a statement.

"When I was a kid, I only had two records and one of them was the Andrews Sisters. They were remarkable. Their sound, so pure," said Bette Midler, who had a hit cover of Bugle Boy in 1973.

"Everything they did for our nation was more than we could have asked for. This is the last of the trio, and I hope the trumpets ushering [Patty] into heaven with her sisters are playing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

Patty was the Andrews in the middle, the lead singer and chief clown, whose raucous jitterbugging delighted American servicemen abroad and audiences at home.

She could also deliver sentimental ballads like I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time with a sincerity that caused hardened GIs far from home to weep.

From the late 1930s through the 1940s, the Andrews Sisters produced one hit record after another, beginning with Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen in 1937 and continuing with Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar, Rum and Coca-Cola and more. They recorded more than 400 songs and sold more than 80 million records.

Other sisters, notably the Boswells, had become famous as singing acts, but mostly they huddled before a microphone in close harmony. The Andrews Sisters - LaVerne, Maxene and Patty - added a new dimension. During breaks in their singing, they cavorted about the stage in rhythm to the music.

Their voices combined with perfect synergy. As Patty remarked in 1971: "There were just three girls in the family. LaVerne had a very low voice. Maxene's was kind of high, and I was between. It was like God had given us voices to fit our parts."

The Andrews Sisters' rise coincided with the advent of swing music, and their style fit perfectly into the new craze. They aimed at reproducing the sound of three harmonizing trumpets.

Unlike other singing acts, the sisters recorded with popular bands of the 1940s, fitting neatly into the styles of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Bob Crosby, Woody Herman, Guy Lombardo, Desi Arnaz and Russ Morgan. They sang dozens of songs on records with Bing Crosby, including the million-seller Don't Fence Me In. They also recorded with Dick Haymes, Carmen Miranda, Danny Kaye, Al Jolson, Jimmy Durante and Red Foley.

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