Woody Herman formed his first band in 1936. Known as “The Band That Plays the Blues,” the group had a hit in 1939 with “Woodchopper's Ball.” His 1940s bands, the Thundering Herds, evolved into powerful and colorful ensembles that combined a light rhythm-section sound with explosive, forward-looking arrangements. He led his bands almost continuously for more than 50 years.
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