Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
It would probably be stretching the definition considerably to put Fred Waring in the jazz category, though he was very popular utilizing some concepts from the improvisational school. Waring led a dance-based banjo band at 18; he attended Penn State, then formed Fred Waring's Collegians, who ultimately became the Pennsylvanians, although they were based in Detroit. They recorded extensively in the '20s and enjoyed some success. The 1929 film Syncopation and 1930 stage show The New Yorkers helped Waring's band become popular sensations. They got steadily more commercial and lightweight in the '30s, while becoming widespread radio and film performers. The band appeared in a film with Dick Powell in 1937, were at the 1940 World's Fair, appeared on Broadway in 1945, then in a cartoon film in 1948. They also scored pop hits in 1947 and 1949, and became the first band to land their own television show in 1949. They became a diversified empire, with businesses, workshops for glee club directors, publishing wings, a monthly journal, real estate and a corporation to run it all from 1950-1970. The recepient of a 1982 Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to American music, Waring continued to perform until his death on July 29, 1984.