Les Elgart

Picture of Les Elgart

Les Elgart, along with his younger brother Larry, are most remembered for their famous "Elgart Sound" which arose from the ashes of the Big Band Era in the mid-1950's. The style incorporated a unique blend of brass and reeds and it's popularity led to a string of best selling albums for the Elgart Brothers.  During that time, they also released the now instantly recognized "Bandstand Boogie", which was used by Dick Clark as the theme song for the ABC dance show "American Bandstand".

Les Elgart, himself, got his start playing trumpet in the bands of Raymond Scott, Charlie Spivak, and Harry James, occasionally finding himself alongside his brother Larry.  Les formed his own orchestra in 1945 and hired Nelson Riddle and Ralph Flanagan to write arrangements. The band enjoyed a little bit of success but failed to sustain any real popularity so Les disbanded the orchestra in 1949.
Les would end up freelancing in pick-up bands and doing contract work for the next few years. Finally, in 1953, after forming a second band, the "Elgart Sound", which had a familiar Glenn Miller touch to its style, caught on with the public.  In 1957, Les changed the name of his band to "Les and Larry Elgart and Their Orchestra".  The brothers eventually parted ways by the end of the decade and reunited again in the early 1960's. 

Listen to: "Bandstand Boogie" by Les Elgart from 1954

You can hear the music of Les Elgart right here on Swing City Radio.

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