Helen Forrest (April 12, 1917 – July 11, 1999) was an American singer. She served as the “girl singer” for three of the most popular big bands of the Swing Era (Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Harry James), thereby earning a reputation as “the voice of the name bands.” She is regarded by many as the best female vocalist of the swing era.
“I live for today, but it is nice sometimes to look back to yesterday. We did not know that we were living through an era – the Big Band Era – that would last only 10 years or so and be remembered and revered for ever…it’s hard to believe, but the best times were packed into a five-year period from the late 1930s through the early 1940s when I sang with the bands of Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Harry James. The most dramatic moments of my life were crammed into a couple of years from the fall of 1941 to the end of 1943. They seem to symbolize my life…that was when the music of the dance bands was the most popular music in the country, and I was the most popular female band singer in the country and Harry had the most popular band in the country. It didn’t last long, but it sure was something while it lasted. Everyone should have something like it at least once in their lives. I’m grateful I did.” – Helen Forrest (circa 1982)