Tommy Dorsey was one of the most popular bandleaders of the Big Band era, and he grew up learning his future profession from his music-teacher father alongside his older brother Jimmy Dorsey.

The two brothers formed a number of bands together beginning when they were still teenagers, but the first fully professional group, The Dorsey Brother's Orchestra, was founded in 1934 after the pair had moved to New York. Tommy's volatile temperament kept his involvement short, however: following a heated argument with his brother, he walked out on the band in 1935.

After his departure, Tommy took control of the Joe Haymes Orchestra; re-christened under his leadership, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra became one of the leading swing bands of its time. Dorsey employed top arrangers and musicians to maintain the orchestra's public stature, including up-and-coming singer Frank Sinatra who established his international popularity during his tenure with the band.

In 1953, as the popularity of Big Bands was on the wane, Tommy reunited with his brother, inviting Jimmy to join his band and once again giving it the Dorsey Brothers name. The two also hosted their own show on CBS, Stage Show - an episode of which featured an early appearance of Elvis Presley.