Les Brown (bandleader)

Les Brown (bandleader)

Les Brown, Sr. (March 14, 1912January 4, 2001) and the Band of Renown are a big band that began in the big band era of the late 1930s and now performs under the direction of his son Les Brown, Jr.


"Les Brown and the Band of Renown" brought Doris Day into prominence with their recording of "Sentimental Journey" in 1945. The release of "Sentimental Journey" coincided with the end of WWII in Europe and was the homecoming theme for many veterans. They had nine other number-one hit songs, including "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm."

Les Brown and the Band of Renown performed with Bob Hope on radio, stage and TV for almost fifty years. They did 18 USO Tours for American troops around the world, and entertained over three million. Before the Super Bowls were televised, the Bob Hope Christmas Specials were the highest-rated programs in television history. Tony Bennett was "discovered" by Bob Hope and did his first public performance with Les and the Band.

The first feature length film that Les and the band apperared in, was the war-time movie "Seven Days Leave" starring Victor Mature and Lucille Ball. "Rock-A-Billy Baby", a low budget 1957 film, was the Band of Renown's second movie and in 1963, they appeared in Jerry Lewis' comedy "The Nutty Professor".

Les Brown and the Band were also the 'house band' for the Dean Martin Variety Show, which ran for ten seasons, and for the Steve Allen show.

Les Brown and the Band of Renown performed with virtually every major performer of their time, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat "King" Cole.

Les Brown went to college at Duke University from 1932-1936. He played in and then led the Duke Blue Devils band as they performed on Duke's campus and up and down the east coast. Brown took the Duke Blue Devils on a one year three month tour after he graduated in 1936. At the end of the tour "the boys went back to school" and Brown went to New York where in 1938 he formed the band that would become the Band of Renown.

Les Brown Sr. is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

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, Mo. Les Brown Jr. also hosts a national radio show on the Music Of Your Life network. Les Jr. was a television actor in the 1960s (Gunsmoke, General Hospital, Gilligan's Island), a rock musician and producer who worked with Carlos Santana, and a concert promoter for many country music artists including Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn. In 2004 Les Brown Jr. received the "Ambassador of Patriotism" award from the POW Network.

Clyde "Stumpy" Brown

Clyde L. Brown, the third son and youngest child of Ray W. Brown and Hattie Ney was born on Sept 1, 1925 in Reinerton, PA. When he was 6 months old, the family moved to Lykens when his father bought a bakery in that town. Following the example of his older brothers, Les and Warren, and inspired by his father, he early acquired a deep love for anything musical. The first instrument that he learned to play was the cornet at 9 years old, which his father took away from him because he kept puffing his cheeks out. Stumpy was without an instrument for 1 year until he took up the baritone horn. Played baritone from age 12 – 15. At age 14 he had his first “professional” job at the Gratz Fair. His father was conducting the bands there and needed a baritone player for the four days of performances. Stumpy was paid $4.00 for each day. Stumpy fondly recalls, “ In my early teens I would come to Tower City to dance and sometimes hear a dance band at the “Palace”. Many times I would go to Troutman’s Restaurant (Lykens) for a Coke or ice cream.” He switched to trombone at age15 and attended the Ernest Williams music camp in the Catskill Mts., NY at ages 15 and 16. At the age of fourteen he won a musical scholarship to the New Your Military Academy, where his two brothers attended. He graduated in 1943.

Origin of the Dance of Renown. Prior to Stumpy joining the band, one of the band’s trumpet players was Don Jacoby. The band was to play in Atlanta and took a public Greyhound bus to get there. At a stop over, a jukebox was playing and Butch Stone and Don started dancing together just to be silly. They replicated this crazinest first did the dance on stage in Atlanta. With the outbreak of World War 2, Don joined the Navy as did Warren, Stumpy’s brother who was a member of the trombone section. At the Hollywood Canteen, Butch and Don did the dance with Don in his Navy uniform. After Stumpy graduated from the military academy, he joined the Band of Renown while they were in Florida, his first performance being on July 1, 1943 in Chicago. Stumpy was to cover the fourth trombone (bass trombone)part but because the band went from 3 trombones to 4, some of the songs didn’t have the 4th part. Rather than just sitting there, Stumpy would dance with the girls in the audience. Because of Stumpy’s short stature, the band coat that he got was extremely large for him. When Don shipped out Stumpy began doing the dance with Butch and the dance looked even more comical with Stumpy in his oversized band coat. In Indianapolis they were doing 4 to 5 shows a day. In September of 1943, in Chicago, both Warren and Don were in attendance and when Butch got up to do the “Dance of Renown”, Don was ready to join him. Instead Stumpy got up and joined Butch and did it ever since. A black fellow (Herb Jefferies?) that was an attendant for the band gave Stumpy a zoot suit to replace his band coat and later Stumpy added an extra long tie.


Les Brown & His Band of Renown

*Connee Boswell "I Don't Know" (1950)
*Connee Boswell "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 Renown" (1957) Coral
*"Swinging Song Book" (1957) Coral
*"Live at Elitch Gardens 1959" (1959)
*"Bandland/ Revolution In Sound" (1960)(2001) CD Collectables
*"Digital Swing" (1986) (1990)CD Fantasy
*"Anything Goes" (1994) CD USA
*"America Swings" (1995) CD Hindsight
*"Sentimental Thing (with Bing Crosby & Billy Eckstine)" (2003)CD Sounds of Yesteryear
*"No Name Bop"
*"A Good Man Is Hard to Find"
*"Thank You for Your Fine Attention"
*"The Les Brown All-Stars" (2006) Group 7

Early Musical Short Films

* [http://imdb.com/title/tt0182447/combined "Spreadin' the Jam"] (1945) dir: Charles Walters
* [http://www.citwf.com/film196588.htm "Les Brown"] (1948) (10 min) dir: Jack Scholl
* [http://www.citwf.com/film196589.htm "Les Brown and His Band of Renown"] (1949) (15 min) dir: Will Cowan
* [http://www.citwf.com/film20354.htm "Art Lund-Tex Beneke-Les Brown"] (1948) (10 min) dir: Jack Scholl
* [http://www.citwf.com/film69992.htm "Connee Boswell and Les Brown's Orchestra"] (1950) (15 min) dir: Will Cowan
* [http://www.citwf.com/film73552.htm "Crazy Frolic"] (1953) (19 min) dir: Will Cowan
* [http://www.citwf.com/film78578.htm "Dance Demons"] (1957) (14 min) dir: Will Cowan
* [http://www.citwf.com/film297044.htm "Rockabilly Baby"] (1957) (81 min) dir: William F.Claxton


* "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" (1965-1972) NBC
* "Dean Martin Summer Show" (1966) NBC
* "Rowan and Martin At The Movies" (1968) NBC
* "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (1968-1972) 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

* [http://www.explorepahistory.com/images/ExplorePAHistory-a0k0m5-a_349.jpgLes Brown and The Duke University Blue Devils on tour 1929]
* [http://stripe.colorado.edu/~lines/bobhope.jpgWith Bob Hope Show Christmas Day 1968 Vietnam]
* [http://www.citwf.com/film69992.htm "Connee Boswell and Les Brown"] (1950) Short Film (15 min.)

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