My father, Frank Sinatra, and singers like Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby and Perry Como fought for years for performance royalties from radio stations, arguing it was unfair that performers are not paid and citing cases like Helen Forrest that show the harsh side of this injustice.
was one of the most gifted singers of the 1940s. Known as the “Voice of
the Name Bands,” she had hits like “I Cried for You” and “I Had the
Craziest Dream.” Sadly, Helen spent her last years practically
destitute because she received nothing when her songs were played on
from "Radio Free America" by Nancy Sinatra: New York Times, August 3, 2009
If you don't know Helen Forrest's voice and you like jazz standards in the forties manner, I suggest you rectify this omission immediately, listening to the songs Nancy named plus such others as "All the Things You Are," "I've Heard That Song Before," and "Too Marvelous for Words." Helen Forrest was born Helen Fogel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1917. As a young woman, she sang on the radio under the name Bonnie Blue, but her big break came when Artie Shaw recruited her for his band in 1938. She later sang for the Benny Goodman and Harry James bands, and she was a regular on Dick Haymes's radio show. She had a very pure voice. Until I read Nancy Sinatra's op-ed column, I hadn't realized that Helen Forrest had fallen on hard times. She died at 82 in 1999.