Born Yvonne Jasme, big band vocalist Connie Haines began singing and dancing at an early age. Her big break came in 1935, at age 13, when she won an amateur contest on Fred Allen's NBC radio program. During the late 1930s she worked for Howard Lally's orchestra.
In 1939 bandleader Harry James heard Haines rehearsing at a New York music publishing company and hired her for his band, changing her name. She left the following year and kept busy with solo engagements around the New York area before being hired by Tommy Dorsey, where she joined former James bandmate Frank Sinatra.
In 1941 Haines landed the spot as featured vocalist on Abbott and Costello's radio program. She spent four years with the show. Haines has continued performing up to this day.
Haines made 200 recordings, including 24 records that sold more than 50,000 copies; regularly filled up prestigious nightclubs like the Latin Quarter in New York; and performed five times at the White House. Polls in music magazines in the 1940s rated her as one of the top female band singers.
While Sinatra specialized at the time in ballads and slow foxtrots, Haines threw herself into rhythmic up-tempo tunes. “Where did you learn to swing like that?” Dorsey asked when he first heard her at a club in New Jersey. “And when can you join my band?”