Forrest [Fogel], Helen
- Dan Morgenstern
(b Atlantic City, NJ, April 12, 1917; d Los Angeles, CA, July 11, 1999). American singer. Raised in Brooklyn, she first sang professionally at 14, with an older brother’s band. In 1934 she was hired full time by WNEW, a New York radio station, and the next year she moved to WCBS, where she was billed as Bonnie Blue, the Blue Lady of Song. After Artie Shaw heard her performing, he convinced her in the fall of 1938 to join his band. Billie Holiday, the featured vocalist nearing the end of her embattled stay, was kind to Forrest. The latter’s ten months with Shaw launched her recording career and revealed her ability to handle the difficult job of a swing-band vocalist who was usually limited to a single chorus within arrangements tailored for the band and often confined to transitory material. With Shaw she was given superior songs, among them “All the Things you are,” “Deep Purple,” “Day in, Day out,” and “I didn’t know what time it was.” When Shaw suddenly quit, she was hired by Benny Goodman, with whom she spent nearly two years, handling the often difficult Eddie Sauter arrangements despite her inability to read music. Forrest’s best recordings with Goodman include “This is New” (...