Courtesy of Corbis-Bettmann

Benny Goodman 1909-1986

A jazz musician, bandleader, and clarinetist, Benny Goodman was known to millions as the King of Swing. In the years between the two World Wars, he organized one of the most popular and influential Big Band orchestras, launching the careers of countless jazz musicians who went on to become superstars. Critics describe his groundbreaking 1938 concert at New York's Carnegie Hall as one of the single most important jazz or popular music concerts in history, akin to jazz's coming-out party. Goodman brought black and white musicians together in his bands, which was a daring step during a racially segregated era.