Hoosick Township Historical Society

The Eberle Brothers.

 

Bob and Ray Eberle, brothers who were both singing stars of the big band era, were Hoosick Falls natives.  They were born about the time of the First World War, and came of age in the Depression.  Their father was John A. Eberle, a policeman, signpainter, and tavern-keeper. Their brother, Al Eberle, is a village trustee now.

 

Bob Eberle

 

Picture of Bob Eberle

Bob Eberle got his start in 1934, at the age of 18, when he won first prize on Fred Allen’s radio talent program.  He won a prize of $50 and a week’s engagement at the Roxy Theatre. This led to other singing engagements, and in 1935 he sang at the Troy Policemen’s Ball, on a bill with the Dorsey Brothers.  Bob Crosby was then the vocalist for the Dorsey Brothers Band, but he was about to leave to form his own orchestra, so the Dorseys were looking for a vocalist.  Bob Eberle found out that they needed a singer, and the Dorseys found out how well Bob could sing, and eventually he was hired. Not long after, Jimmy Dorsey and Tommy Dorsey split up and ran separate bands, and Bob sang for Jimmy Dorsey’s band from that time on.  Tommy Dorsey, on the other hand, hired a promising young singer named Frank Sinatra. Bob Eberle, singing with Jimmy Dorsey’s band, got national exposure playing on Bing Crosby’s Kraft Music Hall, where Crosby introduced Eberle as “The Hoosick Falls Hurricane.”  Crosby predicted a brilliant future for Bob, saying, “The kid has everything it takes—personality, good looks, perseverance, and a fine voice.”

 

Ray Eberle

 

Picture of Ray Eberle

Ray Eberle got his start when a musician in Dorsey’s band by the name of Glenn Miller, in 1938 decided to form his own band.  He asked Bob if he knew anyone who could sing the way he did.  Bob recommended his brother Ray, and Miller ended up hiring him. Both of the Eberle brothers became extremely popular, ranking in popularity surveys among the top four, along with Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Ray Eberle in 1965 toured the country extensively with Tex Beneke and The Modernaires, which was made up primarily of alumni of the Glenn Miller Band.  They also played frequently on television. Ray Eberle died in 1979 at the age of 60, and Bob two years later at the age of 65.