Lawrence Welk (1903-1992)
(2007 INDUCTEE) LAWRENCE WELK IS BEST KNOWN FOR THE TELEVISION PROGRAM, THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW. BUT HE MADE HIS FIRST RECORDINGS IN RICHMOND FOR THE GENNETT LABEL IN 1928.
DONATED IN MEMORY OF CLARENCE GENNETT BY HIS FAMILY
Lawrence Welk of Strasburg, North Dakota, is most commonly associated with easy-listening music because of the tremendous success of The Lawrence Welk Show on television. He made his first recordings in Richmond for the Gennett label with his “Novelty Orchestra” in 1928. Of German immigrant parentage, Welk learned to play polkas on his father’s accordion. He began to play music full-time in 1924 and after organizing the “Lawrence Welk Novelty Orchestra,” began to play on a Yankton, South Dakota, radio station in 1927. Welk’s musical career took off in 1940, when his band began a ten-year stint in Chicago. He made his first television appearance in 1951, and The Lawrence Welk Show was launched in 1955 and has become one of the longest-running programs in television history. Welk’s success with television helped fuel the popularity of his recordings, and between 1956 and 1963, 19 of Welk’s LPs reached the Top 20 in record sales.
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