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Published on Jun 26, 2008
Rudy Vallée (July 28, 1901 - July 3, 1986)
was a popular American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer. Born Hubert Prior Vallée in Island Pond, Vermont, the son of Charles Alphonse and Catherine Lynch Vallée. Both of his parents were born and raised in Vermont, but their parents were immigrants; the Vallées being of French Canadian origin, while the Lynches were from Ireland. Rudy grew up in Westbrook, Maine.
Having played drums in his high school band, Vallee played clarinet and saxophone in various bands around New England in his youth. In 1917, he decided to enlist for World War I, but was discharged when the Navy authorities found out that he was only 15. He enlisted in Portland, Maine on March 29, 1917, under the false birthdate of July 28, 1899. He was discharged at the Naval Training Station, Newport, Rhode Island, on May 17, 1917 with 41 days of active service.  From 1924 through 1925, he played with the "Savoy Havana Band" in London. He then returned to the States to obtain a degree in Philosophy from Yale and to form his own band, "Rudy Vallee and the Connecticut Yankees." With this band, which featured two violins, two saxophones, a piano, a banjo and drums, he started taking vocals (supposedly reluctantly at first). He had a rather thin, wavering tenor voice and seemed more at home singing sweet ballads than attempting vocals on jazz numbers. However, his singing, together with his suave manner and handsome boyish looks, attracted great attention, especially from young women. Vallee was given a recording contract and in 1928, he started performing on the radio.
Vallee's recording career began in 1928 recording for Columbia Records' cheap labels (Harmony, Velvet Tone, and Diva). He signed to Victor in February 1929 and remained through late 1931, leaving after a heated dispute with company executives over title selections. He then recorded for the short-lived, but extremely popular "Hit of the Week" label (which sold records laminated onto cardboard). In August 1932, he signed with Columbia and stayed with them through 1933; he returned to Victor in June 1933. His records were issued on Victor's new budget label, Bluebird, until November 1933 when he was moved up the full-priced Victor label. He stayed with Victor until signing with ARC in 1936, who released his records on their Perfect, Melotone, Conqueror and Romeo labels until 1937 when he returned to Victor.
Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees - Lover, Come Back To Me (1929)