Lester Elliott (Les) Elgart began playing trumpet as a teenager, and by age 20 had landed professional gigs. In the 1940s he played in bands led by Raymond Scott, Charlie Spivak, and Harry James, and occasionally found himself in bands alongside brother Larry. Together they put together their own Les & Larry Elgart Ensemble in 1945, hiring Nelson Riddle, Ralph Flanagan, and Bill Finegan to do arrangements. The union was short-lived, however, due to the Musician's Union recording strike and the waning of swing jazz's popularity; they split in 1946.
In 1952, the pair reunited and released a substantial number of albums on Columbia Records, many to considerable sales success. Among their better-known tunes is "Bandstand Boogie", which was used by Dick Clark as the theme song for American Bandstand. Later in the 1950s Les moved away from performing to handling the band's business end, and had essentially stopped performing by the end of the decade.
In 1963, the pair reunited, hiring arrangers like Charles Albertine and Bobby Scott for material that tended more toward the contemporary easy listening sound. Les continued to work until his death from heart failure in Dallas, Texas in 1995.
Married Ann Landry Elgart, 1973. Divorced, 1977. Married Joerene Elgart, 1979.
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- 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)
- Wonderful World of Today's Hits, Columbia CL-2780/CS-9580 (1967)
- Les & Larry's Elgart's Greatest Hits, Columbia CS-97220 (1968)
Blue Heaven Records
- Ralph Patt, jazz guitarist who toured with Elgart
- "The Baltimore Sun". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 6 February 2012.