Brown Jr., Les
Les Jr. entered the music and entertainment world at the tender age of 15 when he spent his summer vacations on the road with his father’s famous "Band of Renown” as a drummer. In 1960, after leaving Duke University, Les joined the band full time as the "boy singer”.
Les Jr. on the cover of Downbeat magazine By 1962, Les Jr. turned to his other passion in life - acting - and worked both freelance and under contract for CBS and ABC TV, appearing in over 200 segments of various situation comedies and dramas. In 1964 he starred with Paul Ford and Judy Carne in the series "The Bailey’s of Balboa” and later spent two years on the daytime drama "The Young Marrieds” and "General Hospital.”
Six years later, Les Jr. switched his career back to the music business when he became Head of Production for International Management Combine (IMC). In that position he produced and oversaw the production of many albums from soundtracks to pop for all the major labels. IMC also started its own label at that time and Les produced and /or oversaw of all IMC’s albums.
COUNTRY MUSIC CONCERT PROMOTER?
In 1973, Les Jr. became president of Gold Dust Productions, Inc. producing record albums and concert tours for major artists. He was responsible for bringing many of the world’s top pop musical acts such as Loggins and Messina to Las Vegas. At the same time, he worked as a consultant to Bob Eubanks’ company, Concert Express, which booked major country music stars, such as Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Merle Haggard, into big arena tours throughout America.
BACK TO THE BAND OF RENOWN
In 1987, Les Jr. rejoined the Band of Renown as the "boy singer” and assistant leader as well as overseeing the production of their recordings. While going through the archives, Les discovered a series of previously unreleased tapes, recorded live at the Hollywood Palladium in the early fifties. These recordings, some of the first live stereo recordings (actually binaural), featured Les Sr., Harry James and The Music Makers and The Larry Elgart Band. The recordings were sold via an infomercial developed and produced by Les Jr., shot on location at the Hollywood Palladium and featuring Les Jr. and Les Sr.
Les Jr. enjoyed a second career producing variety and reality television shows such as "Swing Alive” (a 2 hour PBS special and CD starring Bob Hope, Hal Linden, Sheena Easton, Suzanne Somers, Tex Beneke, Royal Crowne Revue, Brian Setzer and others celebrating Les Sr.’s 60th year as the leader of the Band Of Renown.), "Bob Hope, Hollywood’s Brightest Star” (also for PBS), "Titanic” (a nationally syndicated special), and many others. In 2000, Les Jr. assembled an all-star team of singers, musicians and engineers to produce Session 55, his father’s last record. Les Brown Sr. left the stage for the last time on January 4, 2001.
A NEW HOME IN BRANSON
In 2004, Les Jr. and the Band moved from Los Angeles to their new home in Branson (the Beverly Hillbillies in reverse?). They are now in their second season as Branson’s only big band and are attracting visitors from across the USA.
STILL ENTERTAINING THE TROOPS
Beginning with their work with Bob Hope and the USO, veterans have been important to the Band of Renown. Les Jr. continues this tradition and is an active participant in Branson veteran’s community. Last Fall, Les and the Band provided the entertainment for the Opening Ceremonies Show for the Veteran’s Homecoming Week. Les is a board member of the Veteran’s Task Force and received the ‘Ambassador of Patriotism’ award from the POW Network. In June 2005, Les and the Band will perform in the Viet Nam Homecoming event in Branson.