Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 17 Aug. '09 NYC; d 2 May '87 Tucson AZ) Trumpet, trombone, sometimes reeds; mainly arranger and bandleader. He had what he called a 10:30 lip, meaning that his embouchure would give out halfway through an evening of playing in a dance band, so he stayed in the background as a player and made a living as an arranger, writing for Isham Jones and Ferde Grof‚ '32, Claude Hopkins '33, Louis Armstrong and Bunny Berigan '37; wrote jazz-oriented 'Satan Takes A Holiday', 'Dusk In Upper Sandusky' for Tommy Dorsey, 'Tap Dancer's Nightmare' for Jimmy Dorsey; his 'A Study In Brown' for the Casa Loma Band used low-register clarinets '37 anticipating the same sound on Duke Ellington's 'Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue' a few months later. His biggest composition was his theme, 'The Dipsy Doodle', but he did not record it because it was a big hit for Tommy Dorsey first. Dorsey played it on many radio broadcasts and always mentioned Clinton's name, creating name recognition; when booking agents showed interest in a Clinton band Dorsey then offered his backing. Clinton led his own bands '37--41 and '47--50; the first band had hits with 'Deep Purple' (by Parish and DeRose) and 'My Reverie' (adapted from Debussy), sung by popular vocalist Bea Wain (b 30 April '17 NYC; had talk/record radio shows with her husband late '40s NYC, Florida '70s). Clinton made 214 sides in less than four years for RCA but retained his integrity: 'Boogie Woogie Blues' had little to do with blues piano and there was nothing surreal about 'Study In Surrealism' or especially modern about 'Study In Modernism', but the 'Study' series as well as 'Dodgin' The Dean', 'Zig Zag' etc were a good cut above most of the pop songs all the bands had to play, and Clinton's band played his clever arrangements very well. Later records on Decca incl. hits 'The Dickey-Bird Song', 'On A Slow Boat To China' '48.