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Les Brown
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    (March 14, 1912-January 4, 2001)
    Born in Reinerton, Pennsylvania
    Clarinetist, saxophonist and big band leader
    Led the Band of Renown
    Recorded the singles 'Joltin' Joe DiMaggio' (1941), 'Sentimental Journey' (1945), 'My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time' (1945), 'Tain't Me' (1945), 'Till the End of Time' (1945), 'You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)' (1946), 'I Got the Sun in the Morning' (1946), 'The Whole World Is Singing My Song' (1946), 'Sooner Or Later' (1947), 'I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm' (1949) and 'Undecided' (1951)
    Appeared in the films 'Seven Days' Leave' (1942), 'Rock-A-Billy Baby' (1957) and 'The Nutty Professor' (1963)
    Bandleader for 'The Steve Allen Show' (1959-61) and 'The Dean Martin Show' (1965-72)
    First president of the Los Angeles chapter of NARAS
    His band tends to be remembered more for launching Doris Day to stardom (via 'Sentimental Journey') than for its music.
    He hired two of his brothers as trombonists in the Band of Renown.
    He was never much of an innovator, with Leonard Feather describing his music as 'nice, precise, safe, conservative and inoffensive.'
    During the late-90s swing revival, he said, 'I hate to say it, but there's no relationship between what these guys are doing now and our music, or Benny Goodman's, or Artie Shaw's.'
    His record 'Sentimental Journey' was the unofficial coming home anthem of many World War II veterans.
    He played at the opening of Disneyland (1955) and the inaugurations of Richard Nixon (1969) and Ronald Reagan (1981).
    His band performed with Bob Hope for almost fifty years, including 18 Christmas USO shows (seven of them in Vietnam).
    He said about the USO shows, 'They were the greatest audiences in the world.... The tours were very tiring, but also very exhilarating.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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