Charlie Kunz

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Charlie Kunz
Birth name Charles Leonard Kunz
Born August 18, 1896(1896-08-18)
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Died March 16, 1958(1958-03-16) (aged 61)
Genres Jazz
Occupations Bandleader, Musician
Instruments Piano
Years active 1912–1958
Labels Decca Records, Sterno Records, Rex

Charles "Charlie" Kunz (August 18, 1896 – March 16, 1958) was an American-born British musician, who became well-known and liked during the British dance band era. He played in nightclubs where people would come to ballroom dance. He had a rhythmic, relaxed style and played popular music with his own way of expressing feeling and moods.

Early life and career[change | change source]

Kunz was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1896. His father was a master baker who also played the French horn. Young Charlie began to play in front of an audience as an amateur when he was only six years old. When he was seven, he had become good enough to play as a professional pianist.

He came to England in 1922 with a small dance band that was led by the drummer, Ed Krick. Kunz liked London so well that he did not want to leave, so that band returned without him to Pennsylvania. In England, he soon became such a popular pianist that he gave up his own orchestra to just work at his piano playing. He played at ballroom and nightclub venues and also on the BBC radio. Two of Britain's most famous female vocalists were with his band in the 1930s; Vera Lynn and Welsh songstress Dorothy Squires. His best known singer was George Barclay, who was known as a crooner, a popular singing style at that time.

His first time playing as a soloist came in 1934 at the Holborn Empire. In that same year, he began to record the first of many solo records of "Charlie Kunz Medleys". His most famous song was Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie. Each time he performed, his closing theme was Pink Elephants.[1]

Personal life and death[change | change source]

He was married three times. He had one child with his first wife, Amanda Dysher. She later died. In 1923, he married again to Eva Dorothy "Nin" Lloyd, who was a fashion model. They had two sons. They were married until 1939. His third wife was Pat Sparkes, whom he married in 1942. They were still married when he died. He kept living in England until his death from a heart attack in 1958. He is buried in Streatham Vale Cemetery.

References[change | change source]

  1. Ades, David; Bickerdyke, Percy; Holmes, Eric (July 1999). This England's Book of British Dance Bands. Cheltenham: This England Books. pp. 11–13. ISBN 0-906324-25-4 .

Other websites[change | change source]