Blue Barron led one of the most popular sweet bands of the swing era, forging a two-decade career built upon his orchestra's credo, "music of yesterday and today, styled the Blue Barron way." Born Harry Friedland in Cleveland on March 22, 1911, he played violin in a campus band while attending Ohio State University but first pursued a career in music management, not performing. After a brief stint managing the young Sammy Kaye, Friedland changed course in 1936, adopting the moniker Blue Barron and founding his own big band. Favoring a slick, brassy sound that prompted some critics to lump them in with the so-called "Mickey Mouse bands," Barron's orchestra was nevertheless enormously popular with audiences. According to Russ Carlyle, the group's first featured vocalist, "We introduced a song by singing an old song that had something to do with the number we were going to play," hence the "music of yesterday and today" motto.