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. Zombies guitarist Paul Atkinson died in Santa Monica, California on April 1, 2004. When he was asked about his ancestry, he replied always with "Alsace-Lorraine, Germany" (although this was totally wrong). In 2003 Blunstone and Argent reunited to record and tour. Welk is said to have learned English only when he was already an adult because he always spoke German at home. Rod Argent formed a band called Argent, while Blunstone eventually launched a solo career. A resort community in Escondido, California is named after Welk. Since the group refused to reform, various concocted groups called "the Zombies" were created to tour for a time.

His band continues to appear in a dedicated theater in Branson, Missouri even though Welk is now deceased. In 1969, the song became a huge hit. Welk's California automobile license plate read A1ANA2, referencing his trademark count-off before each number, "A one, and a two...". Finally, "Time of the Season" was released as a single well after the album was released. One of his sons ended up marrying fellow Lawrence Welk Show performer Tanya Falan. The album sold little, and was only released in the US at all because Al Kooper vouched for it. He was married for over sixty years, until his death, to Fern Renner, who bore him three children. By the time Odessey and Oracle was released in the spring of 1968, the band had broken up.

Welk's instrumental cover of the song "Yellow Bird" was a hit. The resulting concept album, Odessey and Oracle, was one of the very first to utilize a Mellotron, as the band's budget did not allow for the hiring of session musicians. One notable showcase was his album with the noted jazz saxophonist Johnny Hodges. With their career almost over, the Zombies signed to CBS Records for one final LP, only the second of the career and the only one that would be designed as an LP from the beginning, instead of being a motley collection of random songs. His band was well-disciplined and had excellent arrangements in all styles. Although subsequent recordings such as "I Love You," "Indication" and "Is This the Dream" were of uniformly high quality, none achieved the success of "She's Not There" and "Tell Her No.". Welk was noted for spotlighting individual members of his band and show. In 1965 their "Tell Her No" also became a huge seller in both England and the United States.

The reputation for "corny music" notwithstanding, his musicians were always top quality, including accordionist Myron Floren and New Orleans Dixieland clarinetist Pete Fountain. After winning a beat-group competition sponsored by the London Evening News, the Zombies signed to Decca and recorded their first hit, "She's Not There,", (Argent's second song, written specifically for this session), which was released in mid-1964. During one show Welk brought a cameraman out to dance with one of the ladies and took over the camera himself. The group formed in 1961 in St Albans, England, and gained their initial reputation playing the Old Verulamians Rugby Club in that town. Welk often took ladies from the audience for a turn around the dance floor. Somewhat underrated during their lifetime, they are now regarded as one of the greatest of all 1960s pop groups. His TV show was recorded as if it were live and was sometimes quite free-wheeling. Argent's flashy, jazzy piano leads and Blunstone's voice were the hallmarks of the band.

Although born in the United States, he spoke with a slight but notable European accent that many, especially ladies, found to be quite appealing. The group consisted of Chris White, Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone, Paul Atkinson, and Hugh Grundy. Much of the show's appeal was Welk himself. The Zombies were a 1960s pop music band known for complex harmonies and jazz-influenced music. This strategy proved commercially successful. For the undead creature of Vodun lore, see zombie.. 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. "Over the course of the ensuing decades, [The Zombies'] final album...Odessey and Oracle - a beautifully arranged, harmony drenched pristine pop paean to memory, the changing seasons, the passage of time and lost love - slowly began to be recognised as one of the greatest albums of the 1960s." New York Times (1998).

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