Les Brown

  • Born: (Reinerton, Pennsylvania, USA)
  • Died: (Los Angeles, California, USA) age 88

Lester Raymond Brown was an American jazz musician who led the big band Les Brown and His Band of Renown for nearly seven decades from 1938 to 2000.

Les Brown and the Band of Renown performed with Bob Hope on radio, stage and television for almost fifty years. They did 18 USO Tours for American troops around the world, and entertained over three million people. 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 Brown and the Band.

The first film that Brown and the band appeared in was Seven Days' Leave (1942) starring Victor Mature and Lucille Ball. Rock-A-Billy Baby, a low-budget 1957 film, was the Band of Renown's second, and in 1963 they appeared in the Jerry Lewis' comedy The Nutty Professor playing their theme song "Leapfrog".

Brown and the Band were also the house band for The Steve Allen Show (1959–1961) and the Dean Martin Show (1965–1972). Brown and the band performed with virtually every major performer of their time, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole. The annual Les Brown Big Band Festival, started March 2006 in Les' hometown, features area big bands preserving the songs of the big band era. At the 2012 festival celebrating the 100th birthday anniversary, the town of Reinerton renamed the street near Les' birthplace to Les Brown Lane. In 2013 his hometown of Reinerton, PA adopted as the town's official slogan: Reinerton: The Town of Renown in honor of Les and his band.

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