Connie Haines (January 20, 1921 – September 22, 2008)
Connie Haines was an American singer who gained popularity in the 1940s as a vocalist in big bands and as a solo artist. She was born as Yvonne Marie Antoinette JaMais on January 20, 1921, in Savannah, Georgia. Haines had a remarkable career that spanned over six decades. Her captivating voice, versatility, and engaging stage presence made her a beloved figure in the entertainment industry.
At the age of four, Haines began singing on local radio stations and quickly garnered attention for her vocal talent. She joined a touring vaudeville act called “The DeMarco Sisters” at the age of nine alongside her older sister, Martha. The group traveled across the United States, performing in various venues and gaining valuable experience.
Discovered by Harry James
In 1937, Haines caught the attention of bandleader Harry James, who invited her to join his orchestra as a featured vocalist. This marked the beginning of her professional career in the music industry. Haines’ association with James helped her gain exposure and recognition, and she recorded several successful songs with the band, including “You Made Me Love You” and “Oh, Look at Me Now.”
After her time with Harry James, Haines went on to work with other prominent big bands of the era, such as Tommy Dorsey and Artie Shaw. Her smooth, melodic voice and ability to connect with audiences made her a sought-after vocalist. She recorded numerous hits, including “What’s New?” and “I’ll Be Seeing You,” which became signature songs for her.
In addition to her work with big bands, Haines also pursued a solo career. She signed a contract with Columbia Records in 1942, and her solo recordings showcased her versatility and range as a singer. Haines recorded a mix of jazz, pop, and ballads, which appealed to a wide audience. Her notable solo hits include “Haunted Heart” and “An Old Flame Never Dies.”
By 1942, Connie had landed a regular singing gig with the Abbott and Costello radio show. She was such a hit that her 13-week contract was extended to 4 years. She found herself in demand on all the popular radio shows of the day — Kay Kyser, Hoagy Carmichael and Skitch Henderson, to name but a few
Connie Haines in the movies
Haines’ talent extended beyond the realm of music. She appeared in several films, including “Private Buckaroo” (1942) and “Broadway Rhythm” (1944), showcasing her singing abilities on the silver screen. She also made guest appearances on popular radio programs and performed in various venues across the country.
Despite her successful career, Haines faced personal challenges, including a struggle with alcoholism. In the late 1940s, she took a break from performing to focus on her health and personal life. However, she made a comeback in the 1950s and continued to perform and record music for many years.
Throughout her career, Haines collaborated with numerous renowned musicians and entertainers, including Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Nat King Cole. Her contributions to the music industry earned her accolades and recognition, including induction into the Big Band Hall of Fame.
Connie Haines continued to perform well into the 2000s, captivating audiences with her timeless voice and charm. She passed away on September 22, 2008, in Clearwater, Florida, leaving behind a rich musical legacy and a lasting impact on the world of popular music.