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Les Brown (bandleader)

Les Brown (bandleader)

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Les Brown, Sr. and the Band of Renown are a big band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

 that began in the late 1930s, initially as the group Les Brown and His Blue Devils that Brown led while a student at Duke University. He was the first president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., known variously as The Recording Academy or NARAS, is a U.S. organization of musicians, producers, recording engineers and other recording professionals dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for music and its...

. The band now performs under the direction of his son Les Brown, Jr.


Lester Raymond Brown was born in Reinerton, Pennsylvania
Reinerton-Orwin-Muir, Pennsylvania
Reinerton-Orwin-Muir is a census-designated place in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,037 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Reinerton-Orwin-Muir is located at ....

. He was a big band leader and composer, best known for his nearly seven decades of work with the group Les Brown and His Band of Renown (1938-2001). After graduating from New York Military Academy
New York Military Academy
New York Military Academy, or NYMA, is an American private boarding school located in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. It was founded in 1889 by Charles Jefferson Wright, a Civil War veteran and former school teacher from New Hampshire who believed that a military structure provided the best...

 in 1932, Brown attended college at Duke University
Duke University
Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco industrialist James B...

 from 1932-1936. There he led the group Les Brown and His Blue Devils
Duke Ambassadors
The Duke Ambassadors were a student-run jazz big band, active at Duke University from 1934-1964. Student-run big bands continued in 1969 as the Duke Stage Band and from 1971-1974 as the Duke Jazz Ensemble...

, who performed regularly on Duke's campus and up and down the east coast. Brown took the band on an extensive summer tour in 1936. At the end of the tour, while some of the band members returned to Duke to continue their education, others stayed on with Brown and continued to tour, becoming in 1938 the Band of Renown. A few years later, in 1945, this band brought Doris Day
Doris Day
Doris Day is an American actress, singer and, since her retirement from show business, an animal rights activist. With an entertainment career that spanned through almost 50 years, Day started her career as a big band singer in 1939, but only began to be noticed after her first hit recording,...

 into prominence with their recording of "Sentimental Journey
Sentimental Journey (song)
"Sentimental Journey" is a popular song, published in 1944. The music was written by Les Brown and Ben Homer, and the lyrics were written by Arthur Green.-History:...

". The song's release coincided with the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in Europe and became the unofficial homecoming theme for many veterans. The band had nine other number-one hit songs, including "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
"I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" is a popular song written in 1937 by Irving Berlin. It was introduced in On the Avenue by Dick Powell and Alice Faye. Les Brown's instrumental version, arranged by Skip Martin and recorded in 1946 as Columbia #38324, became a million-seller and Billboard top ten...


Les Brown and the Band of Renown performed with Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

 on radio, stage and television for almost fifty years. They did undertook 18 USO Tours for American troops around the world, and entertained over three million people. Before the Super Bowls were televised, the Bob Hope Christmas Specials were the highest-rated programs in television history. Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett is an American singer of popular music, standards, show tunes, and jazz....

 was "discovered" by Bob Hope and did his first public performance with Brown and the Band.

The first film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 that Brown and the band appeared in was Seven Days Leave starring Victor Mature
Victor Mature
Victor John Mature was an American stage, film and television actor.-Early life:Mature was born in Louisville, Kentucky to an Italian-speaking father from the town Pinzolo, in the Italian part of the former County of Tyrol , Marcello Gelindo Maturi, later Marcellus George Mature, a cutler,...

 and Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball
Lucille Désirée Ball was an American comedian, film, television, stage and radio actress, model, film and television executive, and star of the sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy and Life With Lucy...

. Rock-A-Billy Baby, a low budget 1957 film, was the Band of Renown's second and in 1963, they appeared in the Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis is an American comedian, actor, singer, film producer, screenwriter and film director. He is best known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He was originally paired up with Dean Martin in 1946, forming the famed comedy team of Martin and Lewis...

' comedy The Nutty Professor
The Nutty Professor
The Nutty Professor is a 1963 Paramount Pictures science fiction comedy feature film produced, directed, co-written and starring Jerry Lewis...


Brown and the Band were also the house band for the Steve Allen
Steve Allen (comedian)
Stephen Valentine Patrick William "Steve" Allen was an American television personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian, and writer. Though he got his start in radio, Allen is best known for his television career. He first gained national attention as a guest host on Arthur Godfrey's Talent...

 show (1959-1961) and the Dean Martin
Dean Martin
Dean Martin was an American singer, film actor, television star and comedian. Martin's hit singles included "Memories Are Made of This", "That's Amore", "Everybody Loves Somebody", "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You", "Sway", "Volare" and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?"...

 Variety Show (1965-1972). Brown and the band performed with virtually every major performer of their time, including Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Jane Fitzgerald , also known as the "First Lady of Song" and "Lady Ella," was an American jazz and song vocalist...

, and Nat "King" Cole.

Les Brown Sr. died of lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

 in 2001, and was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
The Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery is a cemetery in the Westwood Village area of Los Angeles, California. It is located at 1218 Glendon Avenue in Westwood....

 in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...


His grandson, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, co-created the show Phineas and Ferb
Phineas and Ferb
Phineas and Ferb is an American animated television comedy series. Originally broadcast as a preview on August 17, 2007, on Disney Channel, the series follows Phineas Flynn and his English stepbrother Ferb Fletcher on summer vacation. Every day the boys embark on some grand new project, which...


Les Brown Jr.

In 2001, Les Brown Jr. became the full-time leader of the Band of Renown. They continue to perform throughout the world and have a regular big band show in Branson, Missouri
Branson, Missouri
Branson is a city in Taney County in the U.S. state of Missouri. It was named after Reuben Branson, postmaster and operator of a general store in the area in the 1880s....

. Brown Jr. also hosts a national radio show on the Music Of Your Life
Music of Your Life
Music of Your Life is a satellite-delivered radio network featuring the Adult Standards music format. Created by record executive and jingle writer Al Ham, and now under the direction of Marc Angell, Music of Your Life has more than 50 AM, FM and HD-2 radio station affiliates, and has been in...

 network. Brown Jr. was a television actor in the 1960s (Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman MacDonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West....

, General Hospital, The Baileys of Balboa
The Baileys of Balboa
The Baileys of Balboa is an American sitcom that appeared on CBS in the 1964-1965 season on Thursdays at 9:30pm ET. The series lasted only one 26-episode season...

, Gilligan's Island
Gilligan's Island
Gilligan's Island is an American television series created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz and originally produced by United Artists Television. The situation comedy series featured Bob Denver; Alan Hale, Jr.; Jim Backus; Natalie Schafer; Tina Louise; Russell Johnson; and Dawn Wells. It aired for...

), a rock musician and producer who worked with Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana
Carlos Augusto Alves Santana is a Mexican rock guitarist. Santana became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered rock, salsa and jazz fusion...

, and a concert promoter for many country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 artists including Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard
Merle Ronald Haggard is an American country music singer, guitarist, fiddler, instrumentalist, and songwriter. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster guitars, vocal harmonies,...

 and Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn is an American country music singer-songwriter, author and philanthropist. Born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky to a coal miner father, Lynn married at 13 years old, was a mother soon after, and moved to Washington with her husband, Oliver Lynn. Their marriage was sometimes tumultuous; he...

. In 2004, Brown Jr. received the 'Ambassador of Patriotism' award from the POW Network.

Les Brown & His Band of Renown African American-- (talk) 21:00, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Connee Boswell
    Connee Boswell
    Constance Foore "Connee" Boswell was an American female vocalist born in Kansas City but raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. With her sisters, Martha and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell, she performed in the 1930s as The Boswell Sisters and became a highly influential singing group during this period via...

     I Don't Know (1950)
  • Connee Boswell
    Connee Boswell
    Constance Foore "Connee" Boswell was an American female vocalist born in Kansas City but raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. With her sisters, Martha and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell, she performed in the 1930s as The Boswell Sisters and became a highly influential singing group during this period via...

     Martha (1950)
  • Over the Rainbow (1951)
  • Palladium Concert 1953 (2005) CD Group 7
  • Live at the Hollywood Palladium (1954)
  • The Best of Big Bands: Les Brown and His Great Vocalists (1941)
  • Les Brown & His Orchestra, Vol. 2 (1949) Hindsight
  • Radio Days Live (2001) CD (Early Radio Recordings)
  • Les Brown & His Band of Renown (1957) Coral
  • Swing Song Book (1957) Coral
  • Concert Modern (1958)
  • Live at Elitch Gardens 1959 (1959)
  • A Sign of the Times (1966) Decca
  • Digital Swing (1986) CD Fantasy
  • Anything Goes (1994) CD USA
  • America Swings (1995) CD Hindsight
  • Bandland/ Revolution In Sound (1995) CD Collectables
  • Sentimental Thing (with Bing Crosby & Billy Eckstine) (2003) CD Sounds of Yesteryear
  • The Les Brown All-Stars (2006) Group 7
  • No Name Bop
  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find
  • Thank You for Your Fine Attention

Musical short films


  • Bob Hope Show (1945) NBC Radio
  • Bob Hope Show (1959-1966) NBC
  • The Steve Allen Show (1958-1960) NBC
  • The New Steve Allen Show (1961) NBC
  • Hollywood Palace (1964) NBC
  • Bob Hope Thanksgiving Show (1964) NBC
  • Dean Martin Show (1965) NBC
  • Dean Martin Summer Show (1966) NBC
  • Rowan and Martin At The Movies (1968) NBC
  • Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1968) NBC
  • Dean Martin and The Golddigger's (1968) NBC
  • Bob Hope Special: Joys (1976) NBC
  • The Good Old Days of Radio (1976) NBC
  • Doris Day's Best Friends (1985) NBC
  • Ooh-La-La, It's Bob Hope's Fun Birthday Special from Paris (1981) NBC
  • Biography: Doris Day "It's Magic" (1985)

External links