Lawrence Welk

Lawrence Welk Christmas music

It may or may not be true that Lawrence Welk is the most popular easy listening artist of all time, but it's difficult to think of anyone who is more prominently associated with the genre. Welk's long-running TV variety show was a huge success in its time, and remains an enduring favorite in reruns. And while Welk recorded prolifically, his true musical legacy was built through the doggedly innocuous, wholesome aesthetic of his show. He was an unlikely television star — his thick German accent and on-camera stiffness would have been crippling liabilities for many other hosts. Yet Welk was beloved in spite of — or, perhaps, because of — those limitations, mainly because he knew his audience and paid close attention to what it wanted. In the process, he created a stable of familiar performers whose regular appearances were eagerly anticipated by his viewers. Demanding and particular, Welk put them through rigorous rehearsals, and aggressively enforced the inoffensive, nonthreatening tone that made the show so palatable for viewers of all ages. For people who considered themselves remotely hip, that tone made Welk's name synonymous with sanitized entertainment, and an easy target for derision. He and his acts were often dismissed as hopelessly square, by turns fluffy or sentimental, and reflecting an idealized purity that didn't really exist anywhere. He also drew criticism for the extreme scarcity of minority performers on the show, seemingly another symptom of its kowtowing to white-bread Middle America. Yet that essential conservatism helped give The Lawrence Welk Show an amazingly lasting appeal; after it lost its network slot, it spent more than a decade in syndication with greater success than ever, and found new life when its reruns became the chief source of revenue for many public television stations across the country.

Welk was born on March 11, 1903, in the small, heavily German town of Strasburg, ND. His parents had fled the unrest in Alsace-Lorraine, the disputed border region between Germany and France, and settled on a small farm on the outskirts of town. One of eight children, Welk dropped out of school in the fourth grade to work on the farm, and spoke almost nothing but German up until his teen years. He learned to play polka music on his father's accordion, and at age 13, he began performing professionally at local dances and social events. Four years later, he convinced his father to buy him his own accordion; in exchange, he promised to work on the farm until he was 21, and to give all his musical earnings to the family up to that point.

Upon turning 21, Welk took up music full-time, playing in various polka and vaudeville-style bands around the area. He eventually formed his own quartet, the Lawrence Welk Novelty Orchestra, and in 1927 decided to head south to New Orleans in search of work. On the way, the group stopped in Yankton, SD, and was offered a one-week deal to perform on local radio; they were such a success that they were signed to a permanent contract. Welk's band stayed headquartered in Yankton for the next ten years, playing both locally and all over the Midwest; they went through several name changes, including the Hotsy Totsy Boys, the Honolulu Fruit Gum Orchestra, and the Biggest Little Band in America.

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T-Train #2

by e-victor

That's Georgia---Mills Brothers
That's How Much I Love you---Eddie Arnold
That's How Rhythm Was Born---Boswell Sisters
That's My Desire---Frankie Laine
That's My Desire---Lawrence Welk
That's My Heart Strings---Burl Ives
That Week In Paris---Tony Martin
The Band Played On---Guy Lombardo
The Band Played On---Mitch Miller
The Bear Jumped Over The Mountain---L.Welk
The Butcher Boy---Mills Brothers
The Call Of The Far-Away Hills---Westward Brass
TheCowboyIsn'tSpeakingToHisHorse---Westward Brass
The Desert Song---Mario Lanza

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Synergy Ent Lawrence Welk Christmas Shows
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The Welk Group The Lawrence Welk Show Treasury of Photos
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EMI Distribution A Lawrence Welk Family Christmas [VHS]
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Synergy Ent Lawrence Welk: Top Tunes & New Talent
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