Lawrence Welk

Lawrence Welk (March 11, 1903—May 17, 1992) was a musician, accordion player, band leader, and television impresario. He was born in Strasburg, North Dakota to Russian German parents.

His music was conservative, concentrating mostly on pop song standards, polkas, and novelty songs, delivered in a smooth, calming, good-humored easy listening style. His show was warm and family-oriented. His "Champagne Music" has been considered the epitome of "square".

In the 1920s Welk lead a big band played engagments in eastern South Dakota area. His band was the station band for popular radio station WNAX in Yankton, South Dakota. During the 1930s, Welk led a travelling big band, specializing in dance tunes and 'sweet' music. The band performed in many places across the country, particularly in the Chicago area. In the early 1940s the band travelled to California for a six-week engagement at the Avalon Ballroom. This gig turned into a 10 year stint, drawing crowds of nearly 7000 on a regular basis.

In 1952, Welk settled in Los Angeles, California. That same year, he began producing The Lawrence Welk Show on KTLA in Los Angeles. The show was first aired nationally on ABC in 1955.

Welk's television program had a policy to only play well known songs and tunes from previous years, so that the target audience would only hear numbers that they were already familiar with. This strategy proved commercially successful.

Much of the show's appeal was Welk himself. Although born in the United States, he spoke with a slight but notable European accent that many, especially ladies, found to be quite appealing. His TV show was recorded as if it were live and was sometimes quite free-wheeling. Welk often took ladies from the audience for a turn around the dance floor. During one show Welk brought a cameraman out to dance with one of the ladies and took over the camera himself.

The reputation for "corny music" notwithstanding, his musicians were always top quality, including accordionist Myron Floren and New Orleans Dixieland clarinetist Pete Fountain. Welk was noted for spotlighting individual members of his band and show. His band was well-disciplined and had excellent arrangements in all styles. One notable showcase was his album with the noted jazz saxophonist Johnny Hodges. Welk's instrumental cover of the song "Yellow Bird" was a hit.

He was married for over sixty years, until his death, to Fern Renner, who bore him three children. One of his sons ended up marrying fellow Lawrence Welk Show performer Tanya Falan.

Welk's California automobile license plate read A1ANA2, referencing his trademark count-off before each number, "A one, and a two..."

His band continues to appear in a dedicated theater in Branson, Missouri even though Welk is now deceased. A resort community in Escondido, California is named after Welk.

Welk is said to have learned English only when he was already an adult because he always spoke German at home. When he was asked about his ancestry, he replied always with "Alsace-Lorraine, Germany" (although this was totally wrong).

He died from pneumonia in Santa Monica, California at the age of 89, and is buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Culver City, California.


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He died from pneumonia in Santa Monica, California at the age of 89, and is buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Culver City, California. When they first began dating, he protested, "But I'm gay!" to which she replied, "Only around the edges, dear.". When he was asked about his ancestry, he replied always with "Alsace-Lorraine, Germany" (although this was totally wrong). Her late-life marriage to younger gay porn star Jack Wrangler raised many eyebrows. Welk is said to have learned English only when he was already an adult because he always spoke German at home. She continued to sing into the 1990s. A resort community in Escondido, California is named after Welk. She came back to Caputol in the mid-1960s, then going to London Records in 1966.

His band continues to appear in a dedicated theater in Branson, Missouri even though Welk is now deceased. Until the mid-1950s, she continued to record for Capitol, but as she ceased to record songs that charted as hits, switched to Dot Records in 1958 and to Verve Records in 1960. Welk's California automobile license plate read A1ANA2, referencing his trademark count-off before each number, "A one, and a two...". In 1945 she began to record under her own name, making such recordings as:. One of his sons ended up marrying fellow Lawrence Welk Show performer Tanya Falan. Her first recordings were as featured singer with various orchestras:. He was married for over sixty years, until his death, to Fern Renner, who bore him three children. In 1942, Mercer started Capitol Records with two partners, and signed her as one of their earliest recording artists.

Welk's instrumental cover of the song "Yellow Bird" was a hit. As a child, Margaret Whiting's singing ability was already noticed, and at the age of only seven years she sang for Johnny Mercer, for whom her father worked. One notable showcase was his album with the noted jazz saxophonist Johnny Hodges. She also had an aunt, Margaret Young, who was also a singer and popular recording artist in the 1920s. His band was well-disciplined and had excellent arrangements in all styles. Her musical talent may have been inherited; her father Richard Whiting, was a famous composer of popular songs. Welk was noted for spotlighting individual members of his band and show. Margaret Whiting (born July 22, 1924) was a traditional pop music singer in the 1940s and 1950s.

The reputation for "corny music" notwithstanding, his musicians were always top quality, including accordionist Myron Floren and New Orleans Dixieland clarinetist Pete Fountain. "Blind Date", a novelty record with Bob Hope (1950). During one show Welk brought a cameraman out to dance with one of the ladies and took over the camera himself. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (1949). Welk often took ladies from the audience for a turn around the dance floor. "Slipping Around", a duet with country music star Jimmy Wakely (a number 1 hit in 1949). His TV show was recorded as if it were live and was sometimes quite free-wheeling. "A Tree In The Meadow" (a number 1 hit in the summer of 1948).

Although born in the United States, he spoke with a slight but notable European accent that many, especially ladies, found to be quite appealing. "Oh, But I Do" (1946). Much of the show's appeal was Welk himself. "Guilty" (1946). This strategy proved commercially successful. "In Love In Vain" (1945). Welk's television program had a policy to only play well known songs and tunes from previous years, so that the target audience would only hear numbers that they were already familiar with. "All Through The Day" (1945, becoming a bestseller in the spring of 1946).

The show was first aired nationally on ABC in 1955. "It Might As Well Be Spring", with Paul Weston And His Orchestra (1943). That same year, he began producing The Lawrence Welk Show on KTLA in Los Angeles. "Moonlight In Vermont", with Billy Butterfield's Orchestra (1943). In 1952, Welk settled in Los Angeles, California. "That Old Black Magic", with Freddie Slack And His Orchestra (1942). This gig turned into a 10 year stint, drawing crowds of nearly 7000 on a regular basis.

In the early 1940s the band travelled to California for a six-week engagement at the Avalon Ballroom. The band performed in many places across the country, particularly in the Chicago area. During the 1930s, Welk led a travelling big band, specializing in dance tunes and 'sweet' music. His band was the station band for popular radio station WNAX in Yankton, South Dakota.

In the 1920s Welk lead a big band played engagments in eastern South Dakota area. His "Champagne Music" has been considered the epitome of "square". His show was warm and family-oriented. His music was conservative, concentrating mostly on pop song standards, polkas, and novelty songs, delivered in a smooth, calming, good-humored easy listening style.

He was born in Strasburg, North Dakota to Russian German parents. Lawrence Welk (March 11, 1903—May 17, 1992) was a musician, accordion player, band leader, and television impresario.

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