Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the singing Andrews Sisters trio whose hits such as the rollicking “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” and the poignant “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” captured the home-front spirit of World War II, died Wednesday. She was 94.
Andrews died of natural causes at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge, said family spokesman Alan Eichler in a statement.
Patty was the Andrews in the middle, the lead singer and chief clown, whose raucous jitterbugging delighted American servicemen abroad and audiences at home.
She also could deliver sentimental ballads such as “I’ll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time” with a sincerity that caused hardened GIs far from home to weep.
From the late 1930s through the 1940s, The Andrews Sisters produced one hit record after another, beginning with “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” in 1937 and continuing with “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar,” “Rum and Coca-Cola” and more. They recorded more than 400 songs and sold more than 80 million records, several of them going gold (more than a million copies).
Other sisters, notably the Boswells, had become famous as singing acts, but mostly they huddled before a microphone in close harmony.
The Andrews Sisters — LaVerne, Maxene and Patty — added a new dimension. During breaks in their singing, they cavorted about the stage in rhythm to the music.
The Andrews Sisters’ rise coincided with the advent of swing music, and their style fit perfectly into the new craze.
They aimed at reproducing the sound of three harmonizing trumpets.