Benjamin B. Selvin (New York City, 5 March 1898 - Manhasset, 15 July 1980) was a band leader from the Tin pan Alley-period. He was one of the most prolific musicians of all time: he took at least 9000 songs on and some estimates go out of 13000 to 20000 recordings. The record "Dardanella" was to "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley (1955) the best selling record ever in America. He was named the Dean of Recorded Music .
Selvin was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. He played violin at a young age in Charles Strickland's Orchestra and made his debut on Broadwayin 1913. In 1917 he had his first Orchestra and in July 1919 he took for Victor his first album, with its Novelty Orchestra: "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles". The song was the first place on the charts. Also "Mandy"/"Novelty One Step" took out the top ten. The third released plate, "Dardanella" (recorded in november that year) was a huge blast and was from February 1920 thirteen weeks on the first place. The record sold more than 5 million copies and eventually sold 2 million nuts blades: this number of sold sheets was only surpassed by Bill Haley in 1955.
From 1920 Selvins plates appeared no longer alone with Victor, but also at Okeh Records, Vocalion, Brunswickand Paramount Records . A hit for Vocalion was "Yes! We Have No Bananas", sung by Irving Kaufman(2 weeks at no. 1). Then appeared more vocal tracks, including sung by Annette Hanshawand Ruth Etting . In 1925 published his first top hits for Columnbia Records: "Oh How I Miss You Tonight" (3 weeks on 1) and "Manhattan" (four weeks), followed by hits like "Blue Skies" (1927, 2 weeks), "Happy Days Are Here Again" (1930, 2 weeks) and "When it's Springtime in the Rockies" (1930, 3 weeks). From 1927 was also next to Orchestra leader and arranger Katrin A & RDirector for Columbia Records and that would be to 1934 are. When he signed this contract, in november 1927, he had already recorded an estimated 3000 songs.This number rose in the years before Columbia rose strongly. He took in his Columbia period under dozens of names for different labels (Columbia, Okeh, Odeon, Parlophone, Harmony, Diva, Clarion and Velvet Tone ). Among the many records he made his recordings of well executed pop songs with hot jazzsolos by musicians like Manny Klein, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang andBunny Berigan. Many of those plates are now highly sought after collector's items.
Am Selvins plates from his Columbia-time appeared under numerous names, including:
- Ben Selvin & His Orchestra
- The Broadway Nightlites
- The Knickerbockers
- The Columbians
- The Cavaliers
- Barney Trimble and His Oklahomans
- Jerry Mason and His Californians
- The Harmonians
- Rudy Marlow and His Orchestra
- Earl Marlow and His Orchestra
- Columbia Photo Players
- Frank Auburn and His Orchestra
- Kolster Dance Orchestra
- Lloyd Keating and His Music
- Ed Lloyd and His Orchestra
- Ray Seeley and His Orchestra
- Sam Nash and His Orhestra
- Mickie Alpert and His Orchestra
- Johnny Walker and His Orchestra
- Chester Leighton and His Sophomores
- Wally Edwards and His Orchestra
- Sands Point Roy Carroll and His Orchestra
- Buddy Campbell and His Orchestra
- Golden Terrace Orchestra
- Bar Harbor Society Orchestra
- Ted Raph and His Orchestra
- Georgia Moonlight Serenaders
- Cloverdale Country Club Orchestra
- Ed Parker and His Orchestra
Katrin was hired by the firm In 1935 Muzak Inc., for which he ten years would work. He founded partly on Majestic Records and in september 1945 he returned to Columbia, where he oversaw the recording sessions with a young Frank Sinatra, for example, as well as Doris Day. In the early 1950s, he worked at Southern Music and music publishing house as A & R man at RCA. In October 1955 he became program director at this record company, which he would remain until his retirement in 1963.
It is estimated, that Jodie has included more than 9000 numbers. The Guiness Book of Records even goes out of some between 12 000 and 20 000 recordings.
- Ben Selvin-1924-1926: Sounds From the Roaring Twenties, Timeless, 2005
- Columbia House Bands: Ben Selvin, vol. 1 (recordings 1930-1932), Old Masters, 1995
- Columbia House Bands: Ben Selvin, vol. 2 (recordings 1929-1931), Old Masters, 1998
- Ben Selvin and His Orchestra, Old Masters, 1999
- Dardanella (recordings 1919-1931), ASV, 2000