Extremely popular dance bandleader, Fred Waring was born in 1900 in Pennsylvania. His band was a banjo band he started at the age of 18 and while attending Penn State University he formed Fred Waring’s Collegians, which later became the Pennsylvanians.
The Pennsylvanians consisted of saxists George and Arthur McFarland, singer Priscilla Lane, pianist-vocalist Tom Waring, singer Rosemary Lane, trumpeter George Culley, choir director Kay Thompson, singers Blanche and Marian Thompson and violinist Fred Culley and featured trumpeter Johnny ‘Scat’ Davis.
The group recorded extensively throughout the 1920’s achieving their first success in 1923 with the #1 hit ‘Sleep,’ which became Fred’s theme song. Over the next four decades the group had over 50 hits on the pop charts including ‘Memory Lane’ (#1, 1924), ‘It Made You Happy When You Made Me Cry’ (#2, 1927), ‘Laugh, Clown, Laugh!’ (#1, 1928), ‘Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life’ (#2, 1928), ‘Little White Lies’ (#1, 1930), ‘I Found a Million-Dollar Baby (In a Five and Ten Cent Store)’ (#1, 1931) and ‘Dancing in the Dark’ (#3, 1931).
The group was featured on several radio shows from 1933 through the 1940’s and became known as the ‘glee club’ with the famous ‘Waring Blender’ sound.
The recipient of a 1982 Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to American music, Waring continued to perform until his death on July 29, 1984.