Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the highly successful close harmony singing group the Andrews Sisters, died on Wednesday at her home in Northridge, Calif. She was 94 years old.
The Andrews Sisters began their career in the 1920s as a singing group consisting of three female siblings -- LaVerne Sophia Andrews, Maxene Angelyn Andrews and Patricia Marie "Patty" Andrews.
The sisters got their start by singing on Minnesota radio stations. After several years on the Vaudeville circuit, they began a recording career that would see them sell over 75 million records.
Patty, a mezzo-soprano level, sang lead, while Maxene took the high harmony and LaVerne the low harmony. The mixture of their voices produced a unique blend that was said to come from their hearts, according to an official biography released by their publicist, Alan Eichler, according to CNN.
Their 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," which was considered an early example of rhythm and blues, became a World War II anthem before the Recording Industry of America Association and the National Endowment for the Arts ranked it sixth on its "Songs of the Century" list in 2001.
Their other major hits included "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon," "Don't Fence Me In," "Apple Blossom Time," "Rum and Coca Cola," and "I Can Dream, Can't I?"
With a career that is said to have influenced the likes of Bette Midler, the Puppini Sisters, Christina Aguilera and the Three Belles, the Andrews Sisters were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.
Unfortunately, two of the sisters were not around to see that day as LaVerne, who was seven years older than Patty, died of cancer in 1967. Maxene, two years older than Patty, died of a heart attack in 1995.
According to CNN, which cites the Andrews Sisters' biography, Patty Andrews was just 10 when Larry Rich saw the sisters sing at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis and offered them a spot on his traveling show.
The group later performed in New York with Jack Belasco's orchestra and toured the Vaudeville circuit with Ted Mack.
Their recording career began in New York in 1937 just as they were "literally at the end of the road" and "stranded in New York City," according to the biography, CNN reported.
The Andrews Sisters appeared in 16 films during the 1940s, including "Buck Privates," "In the Navy" and "Hold That Ghost" with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello; "Hollywood Canteen" and "Road to Rio" with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby; and a number of musical films.
The sisters also performed on troop ships, in airplane hangars and near battlefields for the USO during World War II. They earned 19 gold records and sold about 100 million singles, according to CNN.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.