Carl Fenton

Carl Fenton

Karl Fenton (1889-1980) born as Walter G. Haenschen, was an American bandleader, composer and radio musician.

Name origin

The Carl Fenton Orchestra (AKA "Carl Fenton’s Orchestra") was a title given to Brunswick Records studio bands through the 1920s. The name was invented by Brunswick music director Walter Gustave "Gus" Haenschen shortly after taking the position for their brand-new American division. Later, the name was taken by violinist Rudy Greenberg.

Haenschen, whose own name was considered ill-suited for commercial recordings, haphazardly chose the name "Fenton" after the town of Fenton, Missouri, near his hometown of St Louis, Missouri. He attended Washington University. (He told an interviewer "How do you find a name? Just pull it out of a hat." The first name of "Carl" was likely selected by Brunswick’s office staff.

Early recordings

The earliest songs recorded by Carl Fenton’s Orchestra were "Karavan" and "Romance", from October 1919. Brunswick Records released many "Carl Fenton" records, with various line-ups of musicians. The band was typically led by Haenschen in the studio, but was led by studio musician/conductor Reuben "Rudy" Greenberg during their occasional concerts.

Orchestra change

Around the time that Haenschen left Brunswick Records in mid-1927, Greenberg purchased the rights to the Carl Fenton name. From 1928-1930 Greenberg was musical director for Gennett Records, where he recorded as "Carl Fenton’s New Yorkers". Under the direction of Greenberg, the Carl Fenton Orchestra then moved to radio, where they co-starred with a young Bing Crosby from 1931-1932 on the CBS network (on tour the orchestra was named "Cremo Orchestra" after sponsor Cremo Cigars).

In 1932, Greenberg had his name legally changed to Carl Fenton. He continued to work as a music director for radio and theaters till his death in January, 1942.

"Carl Fenton" died in March, 1980.


* [ "The Imaginary Carl Fenton"]
* [ "Carl Fenton"]
* [ "Gus Haenschen"]
* [ "Gus" Haenschen Orch - aka: Carl Fenton Orch."]

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