June Christy

Shirley Luster
20 November 1925, Springfield, Illinois

21 June 1990, Sherman Oaks, California
New York Times obituary

Joined on 22 March 1945 in Chicago, Illinois
Departed 14 December 1948 in New York City

Additional times with Kenton
Innovations I + II Tours — 1951
European tour — 1953
Festival of Modern American Music — 1953-54
Duet album — 1955
Road Show — 1959

Additionally, Christy made numerous appearances over the years with her former boss.

My Image

When virtually any Kenton fan thinks of the maestro's vocalist, June Christy pops to the forefront. Sure there were others. Some swung harder, some were more authentically jazz singers, some had better intonation. But none meshed with the Kenton sound so perfectly as did the Misty Miss Christy.

A 1943 graduate of Decatur High School, Shirley Luster began her singing career with the Bill Oetzel band when she was only 14. She toured with Dick Cisne’s band, before joining Boyd Raeburn’s band by the end of 1943.

When she heard Anita O’Day had left Kenton’s band, she spent her last dime to make audition discs to send to the leader. She was offered the job without even a meeting.

Before she turned twenty, Shirley Luster (and Sharon Leslie and Sharon Luster) was gone and June Christy was touring with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Her first recording with the band was Tampico on 4 May 1945. And she was off and running.

Willow Weep For Me (arr. Pete Rugolo)
25 July 1946

Lonesome Road (arr. Pete Rugolo)
4 February 1950

“Highlight of the Chicago engagement was the emergence of blonde June Christy as a valuable vocal discovery. She replaced Anita O’Day.” —Metronome, June 1945

Tampico marks the debut of June Christy on wax, and it’s a particularly excellent job that she does. Kenton seems to have found a worthy successor to Anita O’Day…She sings with a wonderful beat.” —Down Beat, 15 July 1945

“Miss Christy was very warm indeed, even for June. In addition to having a voice closely resembling Anita O’Day’s, she has a gorgeous blonde appearance and a personality that makes the dumbest square sit up and pay attention. Her handling of the satirical Tampico was a high spot of the show.” —Metronome, August 1945

“June Christy, Chicago chick who replaced Anita O’Day, sounds amazingly like Anita.” —Down Beat, 1 August 1945

Capitol recordings with Kenton

Across the Alley From The Alamo (arr. Pete Rugolo) 28 February 1947
Ain't No Misery In Me (arr. Gene Roland) 12 July 1946
Come Rain or Come Shine (arr. Pete Rugolo) 20 September 1951
Conflict (arr. Pete Rugolo) 3 February 1950
Curiosity (arr. Pete Rugolo) 25 September 1947
Daddy (arr. Paul Villepigue) 20 September 1951
Don't Want That Man Around (arr. Pete Rugolo) 2 August 1946 & 13 February 1946
Easy Street (arr. Gene Roland) 20 September 1951
Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days, One Hour Blues (arr. Gene Roland) 14 January 1946
He Was A Good Man As Good Men Go (arr. Pete Rugolo) 22 October 1947
His Feet Too Big For De Bed (arr. Pete Rugolo/Dave Lambert) 2 January 1947
How High the Moon (arr. Neal Hefti & Pete Rugolo) 21 December 1947
I Been Down in Texas (arr. Gene Roland) 26 December 1945
I Told Ya I Love Ya Now Get Out (arr. Pete Rugolo) 22 October 1947
It's A Pity To Say Goodnight (arr. Pete Rugolo) 25 July 1946
It's Been A Long, Long Time (arr. Stan Kenton) 30 July 1945
June Christy (arr. Stan Kenton) 21 August 1950
Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin’ (arr. Gene Roland) 15 & 30 October 1945
Lonely Woman (arr. Pete Rugolo) 6 December 1947
Lonesome Road (arr. Pete Rugolo) 4 February 1950
Rika Jika Jack (arr. Pete Rugolo) 4 June 1946
Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy (arr. Gene Roland) 26 December 1945
Soothe Me (arr. Pete Rugolo) 24 September 1947
Spider and The Fly, The (arr. Pete Rugolo) 31 March 1947
Tampico (arr. Gene Roland) 4 May 1945
This Is My Theme (arr. Pete Rugolo) 22 December 1947
Willow Weep For Me (arr. Pete Rugolo) 25 July 1946

Duet — May 1955

Angel Eyes
Baby, Baby All the Time
Come to the Party
Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
How Long Has This Been Going On?
Just the Way I Am
Lonely Woman
Thanks For You
We Kiss In A Shadow
You’re Mine, You

Also recorded, but nor released at the time:
Body and Soul
You’re Blasé

Road Show — October 1959

How High the Moon (arr. Neal Hefti)
I Want to Be Happy (arr. Pete Rugolo)
Kissing Bug (arr. Bob Cooper)
Midnight Sun (arr. Pete Rugolo)
The Peanut Vendor (head arrangement
September Song (arr. Stan Kenton)
Walking Shoes (arr. Gerry Mulligan)

Capitol Transcription recordings with Kenton

Come Rain or Come Shine (arr. Pete Rugolo) 7 June 1946
Easy Street (arr. Gene Roland) 27 November 1945
He's Funny That Way (arr. Pete Rugolo) 7 June 1946
I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1 April 1947
I Got the Sun In The Morning (arr. Pete Rugolo) 7 June 1946
I Never Thought I'd Sing The Blues (arr. Milt Kabak) 20 December 1945
I'd Be Lost Without You (arr. Ken Hanna) 19 July 1946
It Ain't Necessarily So (arr. Ken Hanna) 20 December 1945
No Baby, Nobody But You (arr. Gene Roland) 20 December 1945
On the Sunny Side of the Street (arr. Gene Roland) 27 November 1945
Please Be Kind (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1 April 1947

Other songs

All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1950
All the Things You Are (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948
Atlanta G.A. (arr. Ken Hanna) 1946
Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1946
Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me (arr. Bob Cooper)
Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948
Everything Happens to Me (arr. Bob Graettinger) 1948
From This Moment On (arr. Bill Russo) 1954
Get Happy (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1950
Gloomy Sunday (arr. Bill Russo) 1951
Gloomy Sunday (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948
Gone with the Wind (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1947
Hundred Years from Today, A (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948
I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1946
I May Be Wrong (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1946
I’ll Bet You Do (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1947
I’ll Remember April (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948
I’ll Remember April (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1950)
I’ve Had My Moments (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948
If I Should Lose You (arr. Pete Rugolo 1947
Ill Wind (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948
Imagination (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1950
Lover (arr. Bill Russo) 1951
Lover Man (arr. Bob Graettinger) 1948
Lullaby in Rhythm (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948
No Moon at All (arr. Bill Russo) 1953
One for My Baby (arr. Bill Russo) 1951
Over the Rainbow (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1947
Ray-June (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948 with Ray Wetzel
September in the Rain (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1946)
September Song (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1946
Show Me A Big Man (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1947
Sweet Lorraine (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1946
That’s the Stuff You Gotta Watch (arr. Gene Roland) 1945)
Then I’ll Be Tired of You (arr. Ken Hanna) 1947
They Didn’t Believe Me (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948
This Is Romance (arr. Ken Hanna) 1946
You’re Blasé (arr. Pete Rugolo) 1948
You’re Not the Kind (arr. Ken Hanna) 1948

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