Born: March 14, 1912 | Died: January 4, 2001 Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor/leader
Les Brown and the Band of Renown brought Doris Day into prominence with their recording of Sentimental Journey in 1945. The release of Sentimental Journey coincided with the end of WWII in Europe and was the homecoming theme for many veterans. They had nine other number-one hit songs, including I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.
Les Brown and the Band of Renown 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. Before the Super Bowls were televised, the Bob Hope Christmas Specials were the highest-rated programs in television history. Tony Bennett was discovered by Bob Hope and did his first public performance with Les and the Band.
The first feature length film that Les and the band apperared in, was the war-time movie Seven Days Leave starring Victor Mature and Lucille Ball. Rock-A-Billy Baby, a low budget 1957 film, was the Band of Renown's second movie and in 1963, they appeared in Jerry Lewis' comedy The Nutty Professor.
Les Brown and the Band were also the NBC house band for the Dean Martin Variety Show, which ran for ten seasons, and for the Steve Allen show.
Les Brown and the Band of Renown performed with virtually every major performer of their time, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole.
Les Brown went to college at Duke University from 1932-1936. He played in and then led the Duke Blue Devils band as they performed on Duke's campus and up and down the east coast. Brown took the Duke Blue Devils on a one year three month tour after he graduated in 1936. At the end of the tour the boys went back to school and Brown went to New York where in 1938 he formed the band that would become the Band of Renown.