Wendell Hall (1896 – 1969)
(2009 INDUCTEE) SONG WRITER AND RADIO HOST WENDELL HALL PLAYED MANY INSTRUMENTS, BUT MOST NOTABLY THE UKULELE. HIS FIRST RECORDINGS, MADE AT GENNETT’S RICHMOND STUDIO IN 1923, HELPED POPLULARIZE THE “UKE”.
HONORING MRS. HENRY GENNETT MARTIN (LAUREL), DEDICATED ADVOCATE FOR THE GENNETT LEGACY, BY WAYNE VINCENT AND LINDA GENNETT IRMSCHER, LONGTIME FRIEND AND FAMILY.
Wendell Woods Hall, known as “The Red-Headed Music Maker,” was born in St. George, Kansas. His musical career began in Chicago where he attended prep school and had some early flirtations with vaudeville and radio. Along the way Hall learned to play instruments ranging from the xylophone to the banjo-uke, but most notably the ukulele. Although sometimes considered country, his musical style is probably best classified as “novelty.” Hall initially came to Richmond providing entertainment for a group of piano retailers from Pittsburgh that Starr executives were hosting, where he impersonated a bucolic character, probably in October 1923. Hall went to the Gennett studio the same day and recorded several numbers including his best-known song, “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’.” That record became one of the major hits of the decade and did much to popularize the ukulele. Wendell Hall went on to make successful recordings on other labels. Moving into radio in New York in 1924, he appeared on and/or hosted programs such as The Eveready Hour, The Majestic Theater of the Air, and Gillette’s Community Sing. As a songwriter, he composed numbers such as “Who Said I Was a Bum?” “Underneath the Mellow Moon,” and “Carolina Rose.” Other facets of Hall’s career include his hosting of the talent show that provided country music great Grandpa Jones with his start in show business. He also worked with future television comedian Milton Berle. In later days Hall wrote commercials for radio and television.
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