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Harry Haag James was born in 1916 in Albany, Georgia, in the United States.
He learned the trumpet from his father, a circus bandleader. James decided
to pursue a professional career in music after winning a state high-school
Harry began to perform with several dance bands, including that of Ben Pollack's popular group. The flawless, technically outstanding trumpeter played for several years with the Benny Goodman Band before forming his own band in 1939 with a gifted but little known vocalist, Frank Sinatra.
During the golden era of the big bands, Harry recorded a number of hits,
including "I've Heard That Song Before," from the motion picture Youth on Parade (1942), "You Made Me Love You" (1941), the number-one instrumental hit "Sleepy Lagoon" (1942), "I Had the Craziest Dream" (1943), "You'll Never Know" and his theme song, "Ciribiribin." His band helped launch the careers of many pop music stars of the World War II era, including Frank Sinatra and Helen Forrest.
Some also know Harry as the husband of American film star Betty Grable.
Already a celebrity, James' marriage to Grable in 1943 cemented his status as
one of the most famous American personalities of his generation.
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