Happy Birthday, Les Brown – Les Brown and His Band of Renown Backed Up Bob Hope for Generations
March 14 is Les Brown’s birthday. Today, would have been his 107th birthday.
Who is Les Brown?
Brown is from Reinerton, in Porter Township. He’s a famed jazz band leader. His band, Les Brown and His Band of Renown, backed up Bob Hope for decades on his famed USO Tours entertaining troops in wars and conflicts and bases around the world. And he also helped launch the career of one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the 20th Century, Doris Day. Together, they recorded 9 top hits, including Sentimental Journey and I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.
Check out this video of Bob and Les rallying the men and women fighting for freedom in Vietnam:
Here are some shots of Bob and Les and someone named Doris Day:
Doris Day, never heard of her … and Les Brown
Here’s Les hanging with Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr., and President Richard Nixon.
Hope was known to say he never left home without Les Brown.
Indeed, wherever Bob was, you were probably sure to find Les (or Jack Benny).
That included one of the biggest star-studded television events of the 1980s, Bob Hope’s Ooh-La-La Birthday Spectacular in Paris in 1989. Bob was joined by some of the biggest stars of the 20th Century with Les right behind him.
Beyond Bob Hope
Of course, Les is known for more than just Bob Hope’s backup and musical conductor. He had an illustrious music career as a band leader, saxophonist, and clarinetist.
At age 13 or 14, he enrolled in the Conway Military Band School. Brown graduated from Duke University in 1936. His college band, Les Brown and His Duke Blue Devils eventually split and he headed off to Hollywood.
It’s there he and his new Band of Renown filmed their first picture, Sweet and Hot, 1942. He then met Doris Day and they recorded the song that made her a star to this very day, Sentimental Journey.
We found this reunion version of the song recorded for video in 1985.
She eventually embarked on her own to some prominence but before doing that, she and Les and His Band or Renown recorded nine #1 hits.
Did You Know?
Les’ son, Les Brown Jr., appeared on the hit shows Gunsmoke, General Hospital, and Gilligan’s Island.
Les’ grandson, Jeff Marsh, is a co-creator of the show Phineas and Ferb.