Tilton, also known as ''Liltin' Martha Tilton,'' joined the venerable
Jimmy Dorsey and his band in 1935, replacing Vicki Joyce. Martha
spent about 2 years with Dorsey, but her big recording opportunity
happened when she joined the famous Benny Goodman in 1937, where
she replaced Betty Van. Goodman, intending to give her a good build-up
during her debut, would introduce her as a singer ''that's really
going places.'' During one of her first appearances, she forgot
her cue, and when she didn't appear, Goodman turned to the audience
and joked, ''Boy, she isn't going places, she's already gone!''
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She remained with Goodman until 1939, when she was ''asked''
to leave for the duration of the shake-up of Benny Goodman's company
following the exodus of Harry James. She worked briefly with Artie
Shaw before being employed in 1941 as a vocalist with the Billy
Mills Orchestra on the Fibber McGee and
Molly radio program.