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Pee Wee King

Pee Wee King
Pee Wee King c. 1944
Background information
Birth name Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski
Born (1914-02-18)February 18, 1914
Abrams, Wisconsin, United States
Died March 7, 2000(2000-03-07) (aged 86)
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Accordion, fiddle
Years active 1948–1954

Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski (February 18, 1914 – March 7, 2000), known professionally as Pee Wee King, was an American country music songwriter and recording artist best known for co-writing "The Tennessee Waltz".

Contents

  • Biography 1
  • Discography 2
    • Albums 2.1
    • Singles 2.2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Biography

He was born in Abrams, Wisconsin to a Polish American family and lived in Abrams during his youth. He learned to play the fiddle from his father, who was a professional polka musician. In the 1930s, he toured and made cowboy movies with Gene Autry.[1] King joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1937.

In 1946, while the bandleader of the Golden West Cowboys, King, together with the band's vocalist, Redd Stewart, composed "The Tennessee Waltz", inspired by "The Kentucky Waltz" by bluegrass musician Bill Monroe. King and Stewart first recorded "The Tennessee Waltz" in 1948, and it went on to become a country music standard.

King's other songs included "Slow Poke" and "You Belong to Me", both co-authored with Chilton Price and Redd Stewart. His songs introduced waltzes, polkas, and cowboy songs to country music.

King was not permitted to use the drummer and trumpeter he featured on his stage shows when the band played at the Grand Ole Opry. King refused to change his band's sound at the Grand Ole Opry, over the years being among the first to introduce or popularize drums (along with Bob Wills, who defied the Opry ban in 1945),[2] horns, the accordion, and electric instruments including the pedal steel guitar to the Opry's brand of country music.[3] His band also introduced on-stage dancing and Nudie Cohn's customized 'rhinestone cowboy' outfits[4] to the Opry which later became popular with Nashville and country musicians, including Elvis Presley.[5]

Pee Wee King in 1970

He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1974.

He joined producers Randall Franks and Alan Autry for the In the Heat of the Night cast CD Christmas Time’s A Comin’ performing "Jingle Bells" with the cast released on Sonlite and MGM/UA for one of the most popular Christmas releases of 1991 and 1992 with Southern retailers.

He died of a heart attack in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 86.

Discography

Albums

  • Pee Wee King, RCA Victor, 1954
  • Waltzes, RCA Victor, 1955
  • Swing West, RCA Victor, 1956
  • Country Barn Dance, Camden, 1965
  • Ballroom King, Detour, 1982
  • Hog Wild Too!, Zu Zazz, 1990
  • Pee Wee King and His Golden West Cowboys (6-CD box set), Bear Family, 1995
  • Pee Wee King's Country Hoedown (live radio performances), Bloodshot, 1999

Singles

Year Single Chart Positions
US Country US
1948 "Tennessee Waltz" 3
1949 "Tennessee Tears" 12
"Tennessee Polka" 3
1950 "Bonaparte's Retreat" 10
1951 "Tennessee Waltz" (re-release) 6
"Slow Poke" 1 1
1952 "Silver and Gold" 5 18
"Busybody" 8 27
1954 "Changing Partners" 4
"Bimbo" 9
"Backward, Turn Backward" 15

Notes

  1. ^ Miller, James. Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977. Simon & Schuster (1999), pp. 44-45. ISBN 0-684-80873-0.
  2. ^ Kienzle, Richard. (2003). Southwest shuffle: pioneers of honky-tonk, Western swing, and country jazz. New York: Routledge. pp. 254-257.
  3. ^ *Hall, Wade. (1998). "Pee Wee King". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 80-81.
  4. ^ "Nudies Rodeo Tailors official website of Nudies suits". Nudiesrodeotailor.com. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  5. ^ [2]

References

  • Hall, Wade. (1998). "Pee Wee King". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 283–4.

External links

  • Pee Wee King at the Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Pee Wee King at the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • Pee Wee King at the Internet Movie Database
  • Pee Wee King obit
  • Pee Wee King biography
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