Les Brown


Les Brown was a very successful bandleader and saxophonist that led his band, Les Brown and His Band Renown for almost seven decades.  He and his band were responsible for many, many hits during the Big Band era.

The first group that Brown led was Les Brown and His Blue Devils.  The band was made up of students of Duke University where Les himself, was attending.  The would regularly perform on Duke's campus, but in the summer of 1936 the band toured the East Coast and made quite a name for themselves.  At the end of the tour, many of the students returned to Duke to continue with their education but Les and a handful of others decided that this music thing was worth pursuing and that became the foundation the The Band Renown was built on.

In the early 1940's the band had scored a nice number of hits but it was "Sentimental Journey" in 1945 that brought them to another higher level of popularity.   The song also launched Doris Day, their female lead vocalist, to national stardom.  The whole decade of the 40's, with all of those hit singles, was the high water mark for Les Brown.  But unlike many other bands, Les Brown continued to work and make an impact well after the era was over.

Listen to "Sentimental Journey" performed by Les Brown

In 1952–53, Brown was the orchestra leader of The Doris Day Show, on CBS Radio.  Les Brown and the Band of Renown also 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 people. Those Bob Hope shows and specials very a huge thing back then.  Brown and the band were also the house band for The Steve Allen Show and The Dean Martin Show in the 1960's and 70's.

Les Brown passed away in 2001 after leading the band for nearly seven decades.  His son, Les Brown Jr., took over the band in 2000.   His hometown of Reinerton, Pennsylvania adopted the slogan - Reinerton: The Town of Renown in honor of Les and his band.  The town has held a yearly festival celebrating Les Brown and the music of the Big Band Era since 2005.

You can many of the hits by Les Brown right here on Swing City Radio.

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