Les Elgart

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Lester Elliott Elgart (August 3, 1917 – July 29, 1995, Dallas, Texas) was an American swing jazz bandleader and trumpeter.


Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Elgart grew up in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey with his brother Larry.[1] Both brothers attended Pompton Lakes High School.[2]

He began playing trumpet as a teenager and was playing professionally by the age of twenty. During the 1940s he was a member of bands led by Raymond Scott, Charlie Spivak, and Harry James, occasionally finding himself alongside his brother Larry. They formed the Les & Larry Elgart Ensemble in 1945, hiring Nelson Riddle, Ralph Flanagan, and Bill Finegan to write arrangements. The union was short-lived, however, due to the Musician's Union strike and the waning of swing jazz's popularity. The ensemble broke up in 1948.

In 1952, the brothers reunited and released albums on Columbia Records, many to considerable sales success. Among their popular tunes was "Bandstand Boogie", which was used by Dick Clark as the theme song for the television dance show American Bandstand. By the end of the decade, Elgart quit performing, preferring to handle the business aspects of the band.

The brothers reunited again in 1963, hiring arrangers Charles Albertine and Bobby Scott for music that could be categorized as easy listening.

A resident of Dallas, Elgart worked until his death from heart failure in 1995, at age 77.[3]


  • Prom Date, Columbia E.P. CL 2503 (1954)
  • Campus Hop, Columbia E.P. (1954)
  • More of Les, Columbia E.P. (1955)
  • Sophisticated Swing, Columbia CL-536 (1953)
  • Just One More Dance, Columbia CL-594 (1954)
  • The Band of the Year, Columbia CL-619 (1954)
  • The Dancing Sound, Columbia CL-684 (1954)
  • For Dancers Only, Columbia CL-803 (1955)
  • The Elgart Touch, Columbia CL-875 (1955)
  • The Most Happy Fella, Columbia CL-904 (1956)
  • For Dancers Also, Columbia CL-1008 (1956)
  • Les & Larry Elgart & Their Orchestra, Columbia CL-1052 (1958)
  • Sound Ideas, Columbia CL-1123/CS-8002 (1958)
  • Les Elgart On Tour, Columbia CL-1291/CS-8103 (1959)
  • The Great Sound of Les Elgart, Columbia CL-1350/CS-8159 (1959)
  • The Band with That Sound, Columbia CL-1450/CS-8245 (1960)
  • Designs for Dancing, Columbia CL-1500/CS-8291 (1960)
  • Half Satin Half Latin, Columbia CL-1567/CS-8367 (1960)
  • It's De-Lovely, Columbia CL-1659/CS-8459 (1961)
  • The Twist Goes to College, Columbia CL-1785/CS-8585 (1962)
  • Best Band on Campus, Columbia CL-1890/CS-8690 (1962)
  • Big Band Hootenany, Columbia CL-2112/CS-8912 (1963)
  • Command Performance, Columbia CL-2221/CS-9021, (1964)
  • The New Elgart Touch, Columbia CL-2301/CS-9101, (1965)
  • Elgart au Go-Go, Columbia CL-2355/CS-9155, (1965)
  • Sound of the Times, Columbia CL-2511/CS-9311, (1966)
  • Warm and Sensuous, Columbia CL-2591/CS-9391 (1966)
  • Girl Watchers, Columbia CL-2633/CS-9433 (1967)
  • American Bandstand, Priam PR-218 (1981)


  1. ^ Staff. "Les Elgart, 77, Dies; Led a Dance Band", The New York Times, July 31, 1995. Accessed September 3, 2017. "Les Elgart was born in New Haven and grew up in Pompton Lakes, N.J."
  2. ^ Jackson, Kenneth T. "Elgart, Les(ter) Elliot" in The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, p. 147. Gale, 2000. ISBN 9780684806440. Accessed September 3, 2017. "During the 1930s the family moved several times, finally settling in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, where the brothers attended Pompton Lakes High School."
  3. ^ "The Baltimore Sun". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
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