Ben Selvin 1898 - 1980

Benjamin B. ("Ben") Selvin (March 5, 1898 – July 15, 1980), son of Russian-immigrant Jewish parents, was a musician, bandleader, record producer and innovator in recorded music. He was known as The Dean of Recorded Music. Selvin started his professional life at age 15 as a fiddle player in New York City night clubs. A "husky" lad, he looked older than he was and as such was permitted into such establishments. A mere six years later, as leader of his own dance band, the "Novelty Orchestra," Selvin released the biggest-selling popular song in the first quarter-century of recorded music. That single, "Dardanella", eventually went on to sell more than 5 million copies and an additional 2 million pieces of sheet music. According to The Guinness Book of World Records, Selvin recorded more musical sides (on 78-rpm discs) than any other person. One reason for this prolific output is that he recorded for dozens of different labels during this high-growth time in the industry, using a different name (or slightly different name) for each label. Selvin's output has been estimated at 13,000 to 20,000 song titles.

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