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 "Tennessee Waltz".
Pee Wee King is credited with bringing the musicians union to the Grand Ole Opry - he was one of the first musicians in Nashville to carry a union card, and to have the members of his band work union. He also served on the board of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Background information From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Life and career
King 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. 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, due, mainly, to the immense success of Patti Page's version of the song.
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), horns, the accordion, and electric instruments including the pedal steel guitar to the Opry's brand of country music.
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.
Updated: 20190120 | 20200320
Wikipedia: This page was last edited on 20 January 2020, at 20:37 (UTC).