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Bob Eberly was a superior, if somewhat inflexible ballad singer during the swing era, best known for his association with Jimmy Dorsey. He started his career by winning an amateur hour contest on the Fred Allen radio show and singing locally. When Bob Crosby left the Dorsey Brothers Band in 1935, Eberly (who had changed his name from Eberle) was hired. After Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey soon split up, Eberly went with Jimmy and became a fixture with his orchestra for the next eight years through rough times and prosperity.
His deep voice and very straight delivery were an inspiration for Dick Haymes and indirectly for Frank Sinatra. Starting in December 1940, Eberly and Helen O'Connell (who had joined the band nearly two years earlier) teamed up regularly on records; Eberly would have a ballad chorus (he much preferred slow tempos) and then, after an instrumental interlude, O'Connell would take a hotter chorus. Engineered originally by arranger Tutti Camarata so both singers could be featured on Dorsey's radio show, the combination clicked from the start, resulting in hit versions of "Amapola," "Tangerine," "Green Eyes" and "Maria Elena." Eberle was with Dorsey until December 1943, when he was drafted into the military. He was able to sing during the next two years with Wayne King's military group, but after his discharge, Eberly was never really able to get a very successful solo career going. He did continue working into the 1970s, and co-hosted a summer replacement television show with Helen O'Connell one year, but was largely forgotten. Ironically, Bob's younger brother Ray Eberle, who had much less of a voice, is today better remembered for his many ballad vocals with Glenn Miller.
Bob Eberly (July 24, 1916, Mechanicville, New York – November 17, 1981, Glen Burnie, Maryland) was a big band vocalist, best known for his association with Jimmy Dorsey and his duets with Helen O'Connell.
Eberly was born Robert Eberle, but changed the spelling of his surname slightly to Eberly. His younger brother Ray was also a big-band singer, most notably with Glenn Miller's orchestra. Their father, John A. Eberle, was a policeman, sign-painter, and publican (tavern-keeper). Another brother, Al, was a Hoosick Falls, New York village trustee.
He recorded the original version of "I'm Glad There Is You" in 1942 with Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra on Decca Records, 4197B. The song subsequently became a jazz and pop standard.
In 1953, Eberly and Helen O'Connell headlined a summer replacement program for Perry Como's CBS television show. The program also featured Ray Anthony and his orchestra.Bob Eberly profile Ray Eberle/Bob Eberly profile Warren, Jill (July 1953). "What's New from Coast to Coast" (PDF). Radio-TV Mirror 40 (2): 5. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
Eberly was married to Florine Callahan from January 23, 1940 until his death in 1981; the couple had 3 children.
Last years and death
In 1980 Eberly had one lung removed but still continued to sing. He died of a heart attack in 1981, aged 65.