Picks and Pans Review: Swing It!
by John Sforza
For those too young to remember, LaVerne, Maxene and Patty Andrews were the Minneapolis-born trio of singing sisters who had 113 Top 30 records between 1938 and 1951. Of those, 46 reached the Top 10 and eight—including "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon," "Don't Fence Me In" and "Shoo Shoo Baby"—hit No. 1. Along with sometime collaborators Bing Crosby and Glenn Miller, the Andrew Sisters dominated pop music in the '40s, thriving on stage and radio as well as on records.
Sforza chronicles their professional career in great detail but also addresses the sisters' frequent personal feuds, though he paints them as much less virulent than they were rumored to be. The book's liveliest dish—if that's what you like—concerns the way in which Marty Melcher, the group's agent, dumped Patty and a year later married singer Doris Day, another client.
LaVerne died in 1967 (at 55), Maxene in 1995 (at 79). Patty is still alive at 81, but Sforza did not interview her and doesn't mention even trying to. So there is little new firsthand material to be gleaned here. The book is best read as a colorful and flattering (though not sycophantic) portrait of a vital part of American popular culture in the World "War II era. (University Press of Kentucky, $25)
Bottom Line: Engaging look at the ultimate sister act