Michigan Roadside Attractions: "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" Clarence Zylman Statue, Muskegon

Michigan Roadside Attractions: “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” Clarence Zylman Statue, Muskegon

Clarence Zylman Muskegon Statue 2

Michigan Roadside Attractions on Travel the Mitten highlights our attempts to explore the many interesting things that can be found on the highways, byways and back roads of Michigan, ranging from the interesting to the unusual.

Muskegon’s downtown is home to many different works of art, and we seem to find one we haven’t seen before each time we visit. In front of the USS LST 393 museum is a statue that honors Clarence Zylman, who was known as Muskegon’s “boogie woogie bugle boy.” During our visit we learned more about Zylman’s life and service to his country, as well how he became famous enough to possibly inspire a hit song.

Clarence Zylman Muskegon Statue Historic Info

A plaque by the statue reads: “Born in Muskegon and trained on the streets of Chicago, he toured the country as a professional trumpeter helping to lead a musical revolution, featuring a new boogie-woogie sound. Clarence Zylman served his country as a bugler, playing reveille in his own boogie-woogie style. He became a military legend as the bugler who got the troops up with a jitterbug in their step. He was an ordinary man who led a remarkable life, and, thanks to an extraordinary song, will forever be known as Muskegon’s own boogie woogie bugle boy.” Ari Zimmer was the sculptor for the statue, which was dedicated in November of 2018.

Clarence Zylman Vertical Statue Muskegon

The song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by The Andrews Sisters came out in 1941, and features lyrics like”He was a famous trumpet man from out Chicago way, He had a boogie style that no one else could play, He was the top man at his craft, But then his number came up and he was gone with the draft, He’s in the army now, a blowin’ reveille, He’s the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B.” The song reached as high as #6 on the U.S. charts and was featured in the Abbott and Costello film Buck Privates. The details in the song closely match some of the details of Zylman’s life that were featured in a profile piece in Stars & Stripes magazine, though there have been some questions about if it could be about him based on the timeline of when the song came out and when he joined the Army. Either way, it was great to see Muskegon show its pride in their famous bugler!