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Ray McKinley


Ray McKinley (June 18, 1910-May 7, 1995) was a musician during the Big Band Era. Ray McKinley got his start working with local bands in the Dallas-Fort Worth area before joining Smith Ballew in 1929, where he met Glenn Miller. The two would become friends which lasted from 1929 until Miller's death in 1944. McKinley and Miller joined the Dorsey Brothers in 1934. Miller left for Ray Noble in December 1934, while McKinley remained. The Dorsey Brothers band became Jimmy's after Tommy left and formed his own band in 1935. Ray remained with Jimmy until 1939, when he joined Will Bradley, becoming co-leader. His biggest hit with Bradley, as a singer, was "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar." McKinley and Bradley split in 1942 and McKinley formed his own band, which recorded for Capitol Records. The McKinley band was short-lived. When McKinley broke up the band, he joined Glenn Miller's Army Air Force band, which he led from 1944-1945 after Miller vanished. In 1946, upon being discharged, McKinley formed another band, which lasted until the early 1950s. In 1956, McKinley took over the Glenn Miller band, which he led until 1966. Ray McKinley died in Largo, Florida.

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