Joe Loss Orchestra

Loss was born in Spitalfields, London, and the youngest of four children.

His parents, Israel and Ada Loss, were Russian Jews and first cousins.

His father was a cabinet-maker who had an office furnishing business.

Loss was educated at the Jews’ Free School, Trinity College of Music and the London College of Music.

He started violin lessons at the age of seven and later played violin at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool and also with Oscar Rabin.

Loss started band leading in the early 1930s, working at the Astoria Ballroom and soon breaking into variety at the Kit-Cat Club.

In 1934 he topped the bill at the Holborn Empire but in the same year moved back to the Astoria Ballroom where he led a twelve piece band. With broadcasting, recording and annual tours in addition to the resident work the band became highly popular over the next few years.

In April 1951 Elizabeth Batey, vocalist with Joe Loss, fell and broke her jaw.

Joe was badly in need of a replacement and remembered hearing Rose Brennan on radio during a visit to Ireland.

Within days he had located her and, before a week was out, she was in Manchester rehearsing with the band.

She stayed with Loss for fifteen years, before giving up show-business in the mid 1960s.

She wrote many of the songs she recorded with Joe Loss under the name Marella, and co-wrote songs with John Harris.

His name was synonymous with the very best in dance band music.

Loved and respected by his public and profession alike, he had a style and musical policy that kept him at the very top of the big band world for 60 years.

Joe Loss’s first signature tune in the early 30’s was “Let’s Dance at the Make Believe Ballroom” and in 1938 this was changed to the now world renowned “In the Mood”.

Joe Loss became a regular on BBC TV’s “Come Dancing” (the BBC’s 50’s and 60’s version of “Strictly Come Dancing”).

Joe was awarded the LVO, the OBE and HM the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal.

In 1989, Joe became too ill to travel and in 1990 Joe entrusted the leadership to Todd Miller, who has led the Orchestra through to the present day.

Todd Miller joined the Orchestra as vocalist in 1972 having being recommended to Joe by many people. For 19 years, Todd worked under the guidance and friendship of Joe, and enjoyed a very special place in Joe’s heart.

In the 1950s Loss was resident band leader at the Hammersmith Palais and was remembered by a trainee nurse at Hammersmith Hospital as being as kind and gentlemanly when she attended him in hospital as in his public persona.

His band’s signature tune “In the Mood” would often be requested three or more times a night.

The Joe Loss Orchestra carries on under the musical direction of Todd Miller, who was a vocalist with the band for 19 years before Loss’s death.

In 1989 Joe Loss became too ill to travel and in 1990 he entrusted the leadership solely to Todd.

The orchestra has been in constant operation since 1930 and in 2010 it celebrated its 80th anniversary.