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 Les Brown

Les Brown

Reinerton, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 4 Jan 2001 (aged 88)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Garden of Serenity, wall niche.
Memorial ID 20944 · View Source
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Jazz Bandleader, Musician. His career spanned over seventy years and after his band was given the title 'Band of Renown' in 1942, it still continues to perform. His brothers, Warren and Clyde remained with the group for over fifty years and he had a stage and TV association with Bob Hope covering some fifty years. He was born one of four sons as Lester Raymond Brown in Reinerton, Pennsylvania, but raised in nearby Tower City, to a musical father, a bakery owner and the town's bandmaster. His father trained his sons in both music and the bakery business. At age nine, Les was playing professionally with his father at local events as a saxophonist. He made his debut at 13 with his clarinet in a duet with his dad and at fourteen formed his own orchestra, 'The Royal Serertadore.' He was enrolled at the Ithaca Conservatory of music where he studied classical clarinet then received a scholarship to New York Military Academy in Cornwall, New York. Les played saxophone in the band and began to write music. At Duke University, he played with the Blue Devils Orchestra taking over as leader in his junior year. The band was a hit on the Duke campus as well as at area resorts. It dissolved as its members graduated. After college, Les supported himself by writing arrangements for other bands. RCA-Victor Records was instrumental in promoting his career. Taking into consideration his considerable band experience, they helped him gather musicians to form a group, then obtained a booking at the Edison Hotel in New York which was a very successful venture. It resulted in a further duration booking at the 1940 New York World Fair. The band had three major hits: 'Joltin Joe Dimaggio' in honor of the Yankee slugger's 56-game hitting streak, sung by Betty Bonney and two block busters in 'Sentimental Journey and I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,' both rendered by Doris Day. Sentimental Journey was probably the most poignant song to emerge from World War II as it was adopted by returning soldiers and their families. During an engagement at the Hollywood Palladium, where the band was dubbed with its famous title, the group made its first movie, 'Seven Days Leave' starring Lucille Ball and Victor Mature. Les became Bob Hope's music director and the band was featured regularly on the Hope radio show. With Bob, they did 18 USO Tours for American troops around the world. The group also served as the orchestra for a number of popular TV shows: 'The Hollywood Palace and was a ten year mainstay on The Dean Martin Show.' Despite poor health, Les continued to play many of the Band of Renown's shows until 2000 when he was forced by illness into retirement. He died at his home in Pacific Palisades of Lung Cancer at age eighty eight, cremated and the ashes placed in a niche at Westwood Memorial Park without fanfare. Epilogue: Les Brown was a co-founder of the National Academy of Recording Sciences in 1957 and served as the Academy's first Los Angeles chapter president. He was instrumental in making the Academy's Grammy Awards ceremonies a major media event. The Les Brown Band continues to perform under the leadership of his son, Les Brown Jr., thus even further bolstering the claim - The longest organized group in popular music.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 23 Mar 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 20944
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Les Brown (14 Mar 1912–4 Jan 2001), Find A Grave Memorial no. 20944, citing Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .