Pee Wee King
Pee Wee King
@pee-wee-king
 

Pee Wee King appeared in movies with Gene Autry, was a regular on the Grand Ole Opry, and wrote “The Tennessee Waltz.” He was born Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski in Milwaukee on February 18, 1914. His father was a professional polka musician who taught Pee Wee to play the fiddle. In the 1930s, Gene Autry picked Frank King for his backup band and gave him the nickname Pee Wee because of his 5’6” height. Autry moved on to Los Angeles and the movies, while Pee Wee stayed back in Louisville, where he played with the Log Cabin Boys and started his own band, the Golden West Cowboys. They were noted for their sharp dress and showmanship, a forward-looking group that got them invited to join the Grand Ole Opry in 1937, despite the skepticism of traditionalists. He was reunited with Gene Autry in Hollywood when he performed in Gold Mine in the Sky.  

He wrote "The Tennessee Waltz" In 1946 with the band's vocalist, Redd Stewart, inspired by Bill Monroe’s "Kentucky Waltz." Pee Wee got to Number 3 in the charts with it in 1947, but Patti Page made it a smash pop record in 1950 and it went to become the state’s official song in 1965. Pee Wee also had a hit on RCA with “Slow Poke” in 1951 and then rerecorded in 1961 for Landa Records, coupled with the Browns’ smash hit, “Looking Back to See.” Pee Wee King Orchestra also released “Bumming Around” b/w “When, When, When” on Landa. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1974. He died of a heart attack in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 86 in 2000.

 

Landa 668

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