The Washington Post featured an obituary over the weekend that I just found fascinating - it was for a big band singer named Louise Tobin, who died the other day at age 104.
I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of big band singers, but I was interested because I'd never heard of her before and wondered what rated her a fairly prominent Post obituary.
Well, it ends up that Louise Tobin played a prominent role in America's cultural life, albeit one that few remember.
In 1939, she was married to trumpet player and band leader Harry James. (Him, I've heard of.) According to the story, "One day in June 1939, Tobin was in a Manhattan hotel room, listening to a radio hookup from an Englewood Cliffs, N.J., roadhouse called the Rustic Cabin. She roused her husband from his nap" after she heard a young singer who sounded "pretty good."
James ended up going out to the roadhouse and meeting with the young man, who also was waiting tables at the time. He signed him to a year-long contract at $75 a week.
The singer's name was Frank Sinatra. Ends up, he actually was pretty good. And it was Louise Tobin who started him on his way.