Andrews Sisters: Never out of uniform

Patty Andrews
Patty Andrews

Like so much else about the World War II era, the Andrews Sisters have been consigned to History Channel documentaries and film clips on the Internet. So it may be a shock to realize that one of the sisters had spent the last few decades in Arizona, in a quiet retirement, as much of a throwback as the nonagenarian GIs who don their old uniforms and offer a crisp salute. Patty Andrews, who died this week at 94, was part of one of the biggest-selling groups of her era, an act that was as emblematic of the ’40s as the Supremes were of the ’60s.

The Andrews Sisters’ heyday coincided with the biggest event of the 20th century, for which the they provided an indelible soundtrack. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” buoyed the spirits of millions of soldiers overseas and their families on the home front. And the Andrews Sisters’ recording of it still generates heat on YouTube, sparked by Patty’s impassioned vocals.