America’s Favorite Singing Sisters
In the 1940s the sisters found themselves in high demand, and became the most profitable stage attraction in the entire nation, earning $20,000 a week. Aside from singing, the sisters were established radio personalities, and made appearances in 17 Hollywood movies. During the mid 1940s the sisters released eight new singles, six of which became bestsellers; one went gold and another reached platinum status. Some of the hits in the early to mid forties include; “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Rum and Coca Cola” and “I’ll be with you in Apple Blossom Time.”
During this time the sisters were very active in their patriotic duty of wartime entertainment. They volunteered their free time to entertain enlisted and wounded men by singing, dancing and signing autographs. In June of 1945 they participated in an eight-week USO tour and performed for thousands of servicemen. They had been hoping to do such a tour since the war started in order to give back to the soldiers that were fighting.
Back in the states they recorded “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” which is recognized as one of the most artistic, professional and memorable ballads ever recorded. It was No. 1 on the Billboard charts and remained in the top 10 for 20 consecutive weeks. All this success did not come without its share of hardship, however, and in the early 1950s the Andrew Sisters started to face troubled times. First, Vic Schoen, the trio’s band leader and composer left the group. This was a huge blow because he and his orchestra had accompanied the girls in over 90 percent of their recordings. Aside from his constant presence he was also very skilled in arranging music for the trio.
Patty tired of being part of a group. In 1954 she left her sisters and attempted a solo career. However, she never matched the success she had with The Andrews Sisters. In Patty’s departure Maxene and LaVerne formed their own act, and were well received by both audiences and critics. In 1956 sisters decided to reunite both professionally and personally. They began to experiment with a new sound described as a light rock-and-roll, which did not gain popularity with the public, who preferred hearing old hits. At this time the girls were up against a new wave of talent such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry and the sisters did not match their pervious success.