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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Lawrence Welk born 11 March 1903

Lawrence Welk (March 11, 1903 – May 17, 1992) was an American musician, accordionist, bandleader, and television impresario, hosting The Lawrence Welk Show from 1955 to 1982. His style came to be known to his large number of radio, television, and live-performance fans as "champagne music."
Born on a farm in Strasburg, North Dakota, the sixth of nine children, his parents were Alsatian Germans, and he dropped out of school in fourth grade. Since virtually everyone in his community was German, he grew up speaking German, not learning English until he was 21. As a result, his unique accent never left him. When he was 17, he realized that he would never be a farmer, and wanted to learn music instead, becoming an accordion player. Apparently, his father had different ideas, as he did not leave North Dakota until he was 21.
In later years, he would donate money to his birthplace, Strasburg, but always conditioned his bequest that none of the money would go to restoring his family's farm. Of his life between 1924 and 1955, not much is know, except that he started his band and made a good living, developing his trademarks "Ah wun, Ah two" introduction, and his Champaign bubble machine.
 "Bubbles In The Wine" aka: "Lawrence Welk Theme", this had been his band's theme song since the 1930s.
His music show started in 1955 as a summer-replacement show, and quickly grew audience appeal, going on for an incredible 27 continuous years. His show business formula was simple: easy-listening family music (what he called "champagne music"), and wholesome musicians, singers, and dancers.
Although written off as a hick by music critics, Welk was a shrewd businessman. He was a demanding taskmaster dedicated to producing a nostalgic, wholesome show. He maintained a roster of musical regulars, including ragtime pianist JoAnn Castle, accordion player Myron Floren, singer Norma Zimmer and Joe Feeney, organist Bob Ralston, guitarist Buddy Merrill, and the singing group the Lennon Sisters. George Cates was Welk's musical director throughout the show's 25-year run.
In the early years, the show was called "The Dodge Dancing Party" after the sponsor, Dodge automobiles, and as his success grew, the name was changed to "The Lawrence Welk Show." ABC canceled his show in 1971, after 17 years, because the show sponsors and network directors wanted to gear the show to younger, more urban audiences, and the majority of Welk's audiences were older people. In a bold move, Welk then began producing the show for first run syndication, and he was quickly back on the air, where he remained for eleven more years, until his retirement in 1982. Many of the stations that carried his syndicated show were ABC affiliates.
He co-wrote several books with Bernice McGheehan, including "Wunnerful! Wunnerful!" (1969), "My America, Your America" (1971), and "My Musical Family Album" (1978).He accumulated a vast real-estate empire and acquired royalty rights to 20,000 songs, including the entire body of Jerome Kern's work.  He founded the Lawrence Welk Resort and Country Club, in Escondido, California, and a second resort in Branson, Missouri, which is operated by his son, Lawrence Jr.
He died in Santa Monica, California, of pneumonia at the age of 89.

 (Info edited from various sources mainly Kit and Morgan Benson) 

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Lawrence Welk Plays A 50 Year Hitparade Of Songs (3CD set) go here:

CD 1
01. People Will Say We're In Love
02. I Could Have Danced All Night
03. If I Loved You
04. Some Enchanted Evening
05. Hello, Dolly
06. The Sound of Music-Somewhere, My Love/Welk at the Movies
07. Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing
08. Georgy Girl
09. Moon River
10. Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head
11. Somewhere, My Love
12. Born Free-All The Things You Are/The Romantic 30s
13. All The Things You Are
14. Georgia On My Mind
15. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
16. I Don't Know Why
17. Lovely To Look At
18. Stars Fell on Alabama

CD 2
01. Long Ago (And Far Away)
02. To Each His Own
03. Prisoner of Love
04. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
05. As Time Goes By
06. Anniversary Song-Wonderful! Wonderful!/The Fabulous 50s
07. Autumn Leaves
08. Love Letters in the Sand
09. Wonderful! Wonderful!
10. Blue Tango
11. Three Coins in the Fountain
12. Misty-Those Were The Days/The Super 60s
13. Everybody Loves Somebody
14. I Left My Heart in San Francisco
15. Those Were The Days
16. Last Date
17. By The Time I Get To Phoenix
18. Love Is Blue-Let's Dance/Memories of the Great Band Era (cont. on Disc 3)
19. Begin the Beguine

CD 3
01. I'm Beginning To See The Light
02. Take the "A" Train
03. I Can't Get Started
04. Medley: Moonlight Serenade/I'm Getting Sentimental Over You/Let's Dance
05. And the Angels Sing-Tennessee Waltz/Golden Country Favorites
06. Tennessee Waltz
07. Cold, Cold Heart
08. Take Me Home, Country Roads
09. Little Green Apples
10. Make The World Go Away
11. Gentle On My Mind-Charleston/The Tuneful 20s
12. Charleston
13. Star Dust
14. Me & My Shadow
15. My Blue Heaven
16. Someone to Watch Over Me
17. Happy Days Are Here Again-Calcutta/Around the World with Welk
18. Calcutta
19. Around the World
20. Winchester Cathedral
21. Canadian Sunset
22. April in Portugal
23. Adios, Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehn

For Lawrence Welk – Champagne Favorites go here:

01. Lawrence Welk – Annabelle (1:12)
02. Lawrence Welk – Bubbles In The Wine (Theme) (2:44)
03. Lawrence Welk – Canadian Capers (1:52)
04. Lawrence Welk – Champagne Polka (2:30)
05. Lawrence Welk – Concerto In A Minor (2:01)
06. Lawrence Welk – Evening Star (2:31)
07. Lawrence Welk – Far Away Places (2:58)
08. Lawrence Welk – Josephine (2:38)
09. Lawrence Welk – Kitten On The Keys (2:07)
10. Lawrence Welk – Maria Elena (2:22)
11. Lawrence Welk – Scatter Brain (1:52)
12. Lawrence Welk – Sleepy Lagoon (1:26)
13. Lawrence Welk – Tales From The Vienna Woods (2:41)
14. Lawrence Welk – The Syncopated Clock (1:56)
15. Lawrence Welk – Waltzing In A Dream (2:20)
16. Lawrence Welk – Warsaw Concerto (2:59)

For Lawrence Welk and his String Ensemble -
''To Mother'' (1960) go here:

01.Silver Threads Among the Gold
02.Drigo's Serenade
03.Songs My Mother Taught Me
05.Schubert's Serenade
07.Santa Lucia
08.My Old Kentucky Home
09.Evening Star
10.Berceuse (from 'Jocelyn')
11.Toselli's Serenade
12.Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes