From her flugelhorn-playing father, Gracie learned to play music. She began appearing on Manchester, England radio at the age of fifteen, performing the cornet with Foden's Motorworks' and Fairey Aviation's bands. At eighteen, she joined the all-female Gloria Gaye's Glamour Girls. She later joined Ivy Benson's all-female band, with whom she played for five years. In 1951 she married trombonist Gill Geldard. After a stint playing lead trumpet in the integrated band, The Squadronaires, she formed the all-female Gracie Cole & Her Orchestra. They performed from 1952 to 1956. In the 60s and 70s Gracie continued to lead bands until her retirement.
TINA DAVIS'S HELL DRIVERS
Comprised of International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Darlings of Rhythm and Prairie View Co-eds.
DINAH DEE ALL GIRL'S BAND
|Dinah Dee All-Girls Band|
At age thirteen, Eleanor Kidd learned to play the accordion from the great Jimmy Shand -- her father was the drummer in Shand's band at the time. In 1945 she joined the Ivy Benson Band and stayed with them until 1953, when she joined the all-female Gracie Cole Orchestra. Lena formed the all-female Lena Kidd Quartet in 1956. They later expanded to the Lena Kidd Seven. In 1970 she married trumpeter Ray Willis.
THE KIM SISTERS
The Kim Sisters formed in South Korea but spend most of their career and enjoyed most of their success in the U.S. Sue (Sook-ja), Aija (Ai-ja) and Mia (Minja) Kim were the daughters of classical conductor Kim Hae-song and singer Lee Nan-Young. Mia's father was musician Lee Bong-ryong. They began performing western pop music in 1953 before transitioning to rock 'n' roll, which they were exposed to by American GIs. They began playing in Las Vegas in 1959 at the Thunderbird Hotel which led to performances on the Ed Sullivan Show, where they appeared at least 22 times.
|The Kim Sisters|
One of the last significant (but still obscure) all-female bands of the pre-Rock 'n' Roll era was the four-piece Sarah McLawler & The Syncoettes. In the 1950s they released several records on the Premium and King labels. Sarah played piano, organ and sang. Vi Wilson was on bass, Hetty Smith was on drums and Lula Roberts was on saxophone.
|Sarah McLawler & The Syncoettes|
Ardis Wells was born in 1917 to a family of carnies and circus folks. Before becoming The Yodeling Sweetheart, she wrestled professionally, danced, swam, rode elephants and swung on the trapeze. In 1956 she formed the all-female Rhythm Ranch Gals in Minnesota with Fern Dale on banjo, Patti Williams on bass and guitar and Jan (Northrup) North on accordion. Ardis played the electric guitar. Williams and North went on to release over a dozen records in the 1950s as The North Sisters.
|Rhythm Ranch Gals|
From Virgil Whyte's big band.