Baur was born in New York and educated at Amherst. At 19, he was selected from over 50 candidates as principal tenor in the Park Avenue Baptist Church known as the John D. Rockefeller Church. His grandfather on the maternal side held the same position for many years in Henry Ward Beecher's Brooklyn church.
Baur made hundreds of recordings for about a dozen different recording companies, including the three major labels, Victor, Columbia and Brunswick. His first recording, If the Rest of the World Don't Want You, was for Victor in 1923. Baur recorded for Victor as a featured soloist, as a member of the Shannon Quartet (known as The Revelers after 1925), as one the vocalists for Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra, and also with Roger Wolfe Kahn and His Orchestra, and on occasion, as the vocalist for Paul Whiteman's orchestra, with many of his recordings being listed by Joel Whitburn as "charted." The Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings (EDVR) lists detailed information for Baur's Victor recordings.
Baur first recorded for Columbia in 1924, with many more Columbia recordings to follow, and for other labels, including Brunswick, Banner, Domino, Emerson, Gennett, Grey Gull, Puritan, Oriole, and Regal, often using pseudonyms.
Radio and other performances
Baur's first stage appearance was in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1927, in which he was a featured vocalist.The show starred Eddie Cantor.
Baur became the highest salaried ballad singer on the radio during the 1920s.
Baur's most notable radio broadcasts were for the well-known Voice of Firestone (initially titled The Firestone Hour). He was one of the soloists on Firestone's first broadcast in December 1928 and remained with Firestone through May 1930, after which his contract was not renewed because he had asked for compensation, in addition to his generous weekly broadcast fee, to perform at a company function.
- Gracyk, Tim with Frank Hoffman, Popular American Recording Pioneers: 1895--1925, Haworth Press, New York, 2000, pp. 39--42. ISBN 0-7890-1220-0
- DeLong, Thomas A., Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960, McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina, 1996, p. 26. ISBN 0-7864-0149-4
- Ziegfeld Follies of 1927, New Amsterdam Theatre, program, page 45, Franklyn Baur short biography: http://www.playbillvault.com/Show/Detail/Whos_who/13565/45755/Ziegfeld-Follies-of-1927
- Whitburn, Joel, Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories: 1890--1954: The History of American Popular Music, Record Research, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, 1986, p. 47--48, 367 and 386--387, 449. ISBN 0-89820-083-0
- *Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings (University of California, Santa Barbara)
- Sies, Luther F., Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920--1960, McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina, 2000, pp. 49, 471, 504, 611. ISBN 0-7864-0452-3
- Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-507678-8.