Pee Wee King
|Pee Wee King|
Pee Wee King c. 1944
|Birth name||Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski|
|Born||February 18, 1914|
Abrams, Wisconsin, United States
|Died||March 7, 2000 (aged 86)|
Louisville, Kentucky, United States
|Associated acts||Redd Stewart|
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".
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 accordion 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. His band also introduced on-stage dancing and Nudie Cohn's customized 'rhinestone cowboy' outfits to the Opry which later became popular with Nashville and country musicians, including Elvis Presley.
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.
- Pee Wee King, RCA Victor, 1954
- Waltzes, RCA Victor, 1955
- Swing West, RCA Victor, 1956
- Country Barn Dance, RCA Camden, 1965
- Ballroom King, Detour, 1982
- Hog Wild Too!, Zu Zazz, 1990
- Pee Wee King and His Golden West Cowboys (6-CD box set), Bear Family, 1995
- Pee Wee King's Country Hoedown (live radio performances), Bloodshot, 1999
|1951||"Tennessee Waltz" (re-release)||6|
|1952||"Silver and Gold"||5||18|
|"Backward, Turn Backward"||15|
- Miller, James. Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977. Simon & Schuster (1999), pp. 44-45. ISBN 0-684-80873-0.
- Kienzle, Richard. (2003). Southwest shuffle: pioneers of honky-tonk, Western swing, and country jazz. New York: Routledge. pp. 254-257.
- *Hall, Wade. (1998). "Pee Wee King". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 80-81.
- "Nudies Rodeo Tailors official website of Nudies suits". Nudiesrodeotailor.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2012-04-01.
- Countrymusichalloffame.com Archived August 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Hall, Wade. (1998). "Pee Wee King". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 283–4.