vital stats:
given name   Edward Evan Duncan Howard
birth   Sept. 12, 1914, Woodland, CA
death   May 23, 1963, Palm Desert, CA, first thought to have been a heart attack, later
    declared a cerebral hemorrhage
wife   Jane Fuermann, m.1938
daughter   Lynn, b.1942?
son   Eddy Jr., b.1948?
education   San Jose State College; Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, majored in Business
    Administration (or Medicine?)
memberships   ASCAP, 1941-
residences   Sovereign Hotel, Chicago, IL; Evanston, IL; Palm Desert, CA, 1958-

    In 1934 he joined Dick Jurgens' big band as vocalist, and stayed for 6 years. 
    During that period, he wrote both the words and music to such popular songs as Careless, My Last Goodbye, If I Knew Then, and A Million Dreams Ago.
    He went out on his own in 1940, under the guidance of manager W. Biggie Levin.
    It was stated that, within seven months, Howard's weekly income rose to four figures and that over 300,000 of his own recordings had been sold.
    On October 4, 1940, the producer John Hammond recorded Howard on Columbia, doing four songs accompanied by an octet including Bud Freeman (tenor saxophone), Teddy Wilson (piano), and Charlie Christian (electric guitar).
    In September 1941, Howard became the leader of a big band, which made its debut at the Casa Loma Ballroom in St. Louis, MO.  More significantly, it moved on to the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago and opened there on December 2, 1941.
    November 28, 1945 marked the beginning of their tenth engagement at the Aragon.
    After World War II, Howard and the band had quite a long string of hits on Majestic and Mercury Records, including To Each His Own, (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons, My Adobe Hacienda, Sin (It's No Sin), and I Wonder, I Wonder, I Wonder.
    Pianist Hil Radtke was the man who fashioned those arrangements for Howard's band.  He remained with the group into the late '50s.
    Despite suffering a heart attack in 1953, Howard kept on singing, making engagements in, for example, San Francisco and Chicago (where he continued to hold the record for number of engagements at the Aragon), and doing additional recordings for Mercury. 
    After taking a year off around 1959, he and his family moved to the Eldorado Country Club section of the resort town of Palm Desert, California.
    Howard put together a new, smaller combo for jobs at the El Mirador there, as well as for appearances at the Casino on Santa Catalina Island and various clubs in Nevada.
    In 1960, he was a guest on the NBC-TV special "The Singin' Swingin' Years," hosted by Ronald Reagan.
    Three years later, Howard was found dead, slumped across a bed in his home.
    In the 1970s, former Howard reedman Norman Lee fronted a revived "Eddy Howard Orchestra" around the Midwest.  In 1994, Gerald Accola  began leading what he called the "Memories of Eddy Howard Orchestra" for occasional dances in Illinois.
"Band Leader Eddy Howard Found Dead," Los Angeles Times, May 24, 1963, p.A28.
Will Davidson, "Stevens Presents New Revue, 'Sun Fun', on Friday; Eddy Howard's Band
    Returning to the Aragon," Chicago Daily Tribune, Nov. 25, 1945, p.D7.
Frank Driggs, liner notes, "Eddy Howard and His Orchestra 1949-1953," Circle CCD-29,
"Eddy Howard, Band Leader, Singer, Dies," Chicago Tribune, May 24, 1963, p.B12.
"Eddy Howard Is One of 4 Stars On W-G-N Show," Chicago Daily Tribune, Aug. 27, 1940,
"Eddy Howard to Aragon," Chicago Daily Tribune, Nov. 30, 1941, p.F2.
"Howard, Eddy," in ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, Fourth Edition (New York City:
    Jacques Cattell Press, 1980), p.237.
"Howard Marking 15 Years as Band Leader at Aragon," Chicago Daily Tribune,
    Jan. 29, 1956, p.G11.
Joseph F. Laredo, liner notes, "The Best of Eddy Howard: The Mercury Years," Mercury
    314 532 873-2, 1996.
Brian Rust, Jazz Records 1897-1942: A-Lym (Chigwell, Essex, England: Storyville
    Publications and Co. Ltd., 1978), p.782.
Joel Whitburn, Pop Memories 1890-1954: The History of American Popular Music
    (Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research Inc., 1986), p.219-220.

    I would like to expand this tribute, if possible, with a new interview of someone who was important to Eddy Howard's life and career.  Are you an alumnus of his band, a member of his family, or a collector who is knowledgeable about his accomplishments?  Please contact me via e-mail

return to "Biographical Sketches" directory
go to Big Band Library homepage

The big bands are back
in a new and exciting way!
by Music Librarian CHRISTOPHER POPA
August 2008

    He was a popular singer and songwriter for nearly 25 years, and a nationally-acclaimed bandleader for 20 of them.
    Many of his successes came while in Chicago, where he and his band played regular engagements at the Aragon Ballroom and where they broadcast regularly over radio station WGN.
    He was still a young man when he passed away.