Woody Herman had been leading his own band almost as long as Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey had been leading theirs; between 1936 and 1942, he gained considerable popularity with "The Band That Plays the Blues", had several hit records, such as "Woodchoppers Ball" and "Blues In The Night", and appeared in several motion pictures. But Herman was always searching for a new format and new ideas,. During the 1942-44 recording ban, he added several key personnel—bassist Chubby Jackson, arranger Ralph Burns and singer Frances Wayne—who initiated a spectacular change in the band's sound. The general public was unaware of these changes until the recording ban was lifted in 1944. When Herman's first recordings for Columbia appeared in early 1945, the change in the band's popularity was startling. Over night the band went from what was essentially second-tier status to being the most talked about band in the land. Herman's success in 1945-46 was one of the last bright moments of the swingers. And although he joined Goodman, Dorsey and seven other bandleaders in calling it quits in 1946, he soon regrouped. For the rest of his life he was a leader and innovator in the band business. When he died in 1987 after fifty years as a leader, he had outlasted all the others.