Born Lucius Venable Millinder, 8 August 1900, Anniston, Alabama
Born in Alabama and raised in Chicago, Lucky started his career in music as a emcee. In 1934, Millinder took over the directorship of the Mills Blue Rhythm Orchestra, one of the 'Black' Swing bands of the 1930s. In 1938, when the Blue Rhythm Band dissolved, Millender worked with Bill Doggett's band. In 1940, he formed his own Lucky Millinder Orchestra. Rhythmically exciting, the Millinder band was especially popular in Harlem. The band gradually shifted into playing an early type of R&B music. Decca signed the band to an exclusive recording contract, and from 1942 to 1945 Millinder had four records at the top of the R&B charts, one of which, "When The Lights Go On Again (All Over The World)" featured a young Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet. The biggest hit was "Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well" (# 1 R&B for 5 weeks, # 7 pop), with a vocal by Wynonie Harris (recorded 1944, released 1945). Lucky's last hits (1951) both featured the voice of Annisteen Allen : "I'll Never Be Free" (# 8 R&B) and "I'm Waiting Just For You" (# 2 R&B, # 19 pop), on RCA and King respectively. The Lucky Millinder Orchestra was disbanded in 1952. Thereafter, he earned his living outside music, but formed occasional bands for special concerts. Although he could not read music, Millinder was an exceptional frontman, conducting his bands with flair and showmanship.
More info: http://www.everything2.org/index.pl?node=Lucky%20Millinder
CD's: Apollo Jump (Proper, 2 CD-set, 2002). Jumpin' at the Savoy (EPM, France, 2000). Ram Bunk Shush (Charly, 1992).
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