Tex Beneke

Tex Beneke died 30th May 2000

"My Hero for the past forty five years, the man who was featured on just about every tune played in the Miller band from 1938 to September 42 has finally left us, and I hope joins Glenn and the rest of the guy's in that concert hall in the sky.

Tex was well liked by Glenn and I often wondered if it was the boldness of Tex that Glenn liked, for when Glenn first contacted Tex by phone to offer him a job and told him it was $50 a week, Tex replied, " make it $52.50" . There was a long silence,( probably because Glenn had not met a situation quite like this before usually having made an offer with the attitude take it or leave it) and then Glenn said, " OK, $52.50". This was $2.50 more than the rest of the players were getting, so Tex was off to a good start.
Tex took a lot of the vocals with the band and was best loved for his incidental chat with Glenn or Marion on several numbers, usually starting " Howdy Tex, what you say" .His Tenor Sax solos so distinctive . It seemed that Glenn had his favourites in the band, all solo's was mostly done by the section leader and rarely given to others who were just as skilful.

When Glenn went into the Army in September 1944 Tex joined Horace Heidt for a short while and then joined the navy and spent the war in Norman, Oklahoma as leader of the Navy Dance Orchestra (I bet that was a good band).

After the war it was Helen Miller, Glenn's wife who asked Tex to front a new Miller Band and this he did in 1946. Now this is where I came in because this band was more like the Glenn Miller Civilian band we all loved so much. ( mind you I was only 9 years old then so I didn't hear the band until I was fourteen ) The first 78 I brought of Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra was Stormy Weather it was very similar to Glenn Original AAF band and Tex had a small string section of about eleven. It was a great piece of music and I began looking out for more but we in the UK didn't seem to have much on the record store shelves. How ever as years went on I was able to collect a fair amount of his band. It changed several time over the next few years as Tex reduced the strings and then dropped them together. He began to introduce new tunes and arrangements to pull away from continually playing the tight Miller arrangements and in fact would play some of the Miller number in different tempos much to the dismay of the Glenn Miller estate until one day David Mackay acting on behalf of Helen Miller walked in the dressing room of Tex while they were playing a concert and collected library and effectively relieving Tex from using the Miller name and music, so he thought. But Tex had suspected this might happen and did manage to retain copies of some of the best of the Miller Library and continued with a fine Orchestra playing as Tex Beneke and his Orchestra, and of course playing in the Miller tunes in the Miller mood. Probably annoying the Miller Estate at the time.
How ever as years went on Tex would be invited to hold Glenn Miller reunion concerts. He was well loved by many hundred of thousand of Miller fans who knew he would play Glenn's Music so authentically, and with Tex out there in front with his singing and that Tenor Sax, it was all so right.

He was playing his sax up to just a few year ago and was still singing just over a year ago see
By George It's Tex We have been fortunate that recordings are still being issued of The Tex Beneke Band . There have been many Voice of America 16" disc around featuring Tex with his live broadcasts. I have some of these but would dearly love more. To hear the band as it was at it height, fantastic.
Tex I'll miss you and am thankful you died in peace with your family close by. You had a long and wonderful life for which I'm sure your grateful. Now you can rest. God Bless you and I hope one day I will meet you.

Tex Beneke Tributes from around the world..Click here..

Tex Beneke 1946

Go to Dick Whitney's web site for some great photo's of Tex.

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Tex Spotted

By George Its Tex



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