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Charlie Kunz

Charlie Kunz, "the Medley King," was born in Allentown, PA, on August 8, 1896. His father was a master baker who blew the French horn. As a youngster Charlie played piano, church organ, and E-flat alto horn. In 1914 he switched from playing classical to popular dance music. He worked as a milkman, cobbler, ribbon weaver, bookseller, and mechanic. During the First World War he was a boiler riveter and a bombshell builder. By the age of 19 Charlie Kunz was leading his first band and opening for Paul Whiteman and Vincent Lopez at a ballroom in Allentown. He came to England in 1921 with a group led by percussionist Ed Krick. The following year he led Paul Specht's Criterions at the Trocadero Restaurant in Piccadilly. Remaining in England after his friends had all gone home, Kunz formed his first all-British band and began performing at the Lyons Corner House in Piccadilly Circus. He then expanded his ensemble to 14 pieces and played the Grafton Galleries. Kunz sat in on piano with the Dix Band at the Olympia Dance Hall in West Kensington and tickled the ivories at Ma Merrick's 43 Club, an infamous sporting house and all-night den of iniquity operating on Gerrard Street, Piccadilly. Kunz then played the Chez Henri Club in Long Acre, found it to his liking, and stayed on for eight and a half years.

In late 1928 and early 1929, Charlie Kunz & His Chez Henri Club Band made a handful of recordings for Columbia. The next phase of Kunz's career was inaugurated by nationally renowned dance instructor Santos Casani, who heard the band at Chez Henri and liked it so much that he lured Kunz away to his own Casani Club, which opened in March 1933 in Imperial House, Regent Street, London. Kunz became immensely popular as a result of BBC radio broadcasts that were transmitted from this location. His featured vocalist at the Casani was Vera Lynn; other singers who performed live and on record with Kunz were Dawn Davis, Dorothy Squires, George Barclay, Harry Bentley, Eve Becke, Phyllis Robins, George Buck, and Bobby Comber. Kunz's three mainstay instrumentalists were drummer and xylophonist Tommy Blades, bassist Frank Davis, and guitarist Ernie Penfold. The band's theme song was, naturally enough, "Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie"; their sign-off theme was "Pink Elephants." Although he would make quite a slew of records for the Sterno and Rex labels with his Casani Club Orchestra between the years 1933 and 1937, Charlie Kunz played the Holborn Empire alone in 1934 and henceforth toured regularly as a solo act, invariably remaining in England rather than crossing the Channel to mainland Europe.

Between 1939 and 1945 Kunz did a lot of work for charity and for the war effort. During the last 15 years of his life he became the unrivaled king of the piano medley, performing alone or with subtle rhythm accompaniment. Kunz was married thrice, to one Amanda Dysher, to fashion model Eva Dorothy Lloyd, and finally to Pat Sparkes. A heavy smoker, Kunz was plagued by debilitating illnesses throughout much of his life. He had a diseased lung removed in 1945, and suffered from spinal tuberculosis, crippling contraction of the ligaments in his hands, and bronchial asthma. His later recording projects were completed only with great difficulty; an album of melodies from My Fair Lady was left unfinished. Charlie Kunz died of a heart attack at his home in Middleton-on-Sea, West Sussex, England, on March 16, 1958. ~ arwulf arwulf
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Medley Of Medleys

1. Carousel Selection: If I Loved You / The Carouel Waltz / June Is Bustin' Out All Over

2. Rodgers And Hart Selection: With A Song In My Heart / Where Or When / There's A Small Hotel

3. Show Boat Selection: Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man / Bill / Why Do I Love You / Ol' Man River / You Are Love / Make Believe

4. South Pacific Selection: Some Enchanted Evening / I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair / A Wonderful Guy / Bali Ha'i

5. Oklahoma Selection: The Surry With The Fringe On Top / Oh! What A Beautiful Mornin' / People Will Say We're In Love

6. Richard Whiting Selection: Sleepy Time Gal / Ukulele Lady / Guilty

7. Walter Donaldson Selection: Sleepy Head / You're Driving Me Crazy / My Blue Heaven

8. Charmaine / Sally / Diane

9. Vilia / Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

10. Ray Noble Selection: The Very Thought Of You / The Touch Of Your Lips / Goodnight, Sweetheart

x

Track List: Some Enchanted Evening

1. Some Enchanted Evening

2. I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair

3. A Wonderful Guy

4. Bali Ha'i

5. Come Closer To Me

6. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

7. You're Just In Love

8. It's A Lovely Day Today

9. Always

10. What'll I Do

11. You Forgot To Remember

12. All Alone

13. Because I Love You

14. The Song Is Ended

15. Marrying For Love

16. The Best Thing For You

17. Washington Square Dance

18. If I Loved You

19. The Carousel Waltz

20. June Is Bustin' Out All Over

21. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top

22. Oh! What A Beautiful Mornin'

23. People Will Say We're In Love

24. My Thanks To You

25. Marta

26. Petite Waltz

27. Good Luck, Good Health, God Bless You

x

Track List: The Very Best Of

1. Dear Hearts And Gentle People/Confidentiality/Hop Scotch Polka

2. I'll Buy That Dream/It's A Grand A Night For Singing/It Might As Well Be Spring

3. Moonlight Cocktail/Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat/Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree

4. Shoe Shine Boy/When I'm With You/Somebody Stole My Gal

5. Maria Elena/I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire/It Always Rains Before The Rainbow

6. There Goes That Song Again/When They Sound The Last All Clear/Hey Little Hen

7. Symphony/Mariana/On The Atcheson/Topeka And The Santa Fe

8. You Are My Sunshine/My Devotion/That's The Moon My Son

9. Constantly/At Last/When The Lights Go On Again

10. Dearly Beloved/As Times Goes By/A Touch Of Texas

11. Homing Waltz/From The Time You Say Goodbye/Walkin' My Baby Back Home

12. Daybreak/For Me And My Gal/Yankee Doodle Boy/Daybreak (Reprise)

13. I'll Walk Alone/Swinging On A Star/Shine On Victory Moon

14. On Treasure Island/Thanks A Million/The Music Goes Round And Round

15. South Of The Border/I Paid For The Lie I Told You Boomps A Daisy

16. My Foolish Heart/Me And My Shadow/C'est Si Bon

17. Cry/We Won't Live In A Castle/Be My Life's Companion

18. Tangerine/One More Kiss Then Goodnight/Miss You

19. A Garden In The Rain/Danger Ahead/I'll Make Up For Everything

20. You Are My Lucky Star/Got A Feelin' You're Foolin'/She's Funny That Way/You Are My Lucky Star (Reprise)

21. Love Walked In/So Little Time/Says My Heart

22. Sand In My Shoes/Yours/Kiss The Boys Goodbye

23. Harbour Lights/There's Something In The Air/May I Have The Next / Romance With You

24. The White Cliffs Of Dover/Green Eyes/Rose O'Day

x

Track List: His Own Inimitable Style

1. "A" You're Adorable; The Harry Lime Theme; I Don't See Me In Your Eyes; Anymore;

2. Time May Change;You Can't Be True Dear; Nature Boy; Galway Bay; My Happiness; He

3. Waltzing With Noel Coward: I'll See You Again; I'll Follow My Secret Heart; Some

4. With His Ballroom Orchestra, Kiss The Boys Goodbye

5. Yours

6. Jealous Heart; You're Breaking My Heart; The Wedding Samba; Dear Hearts And Gent

7. So Tired; Ballin' The Jack; The Woody Woodpecker

8. I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire

9. My Foolish Heart; Me And My Shadow; C'est Si Bon

10. Dearie; Bewitched; Let's Do It Again

11. Reflections On The Water; Golden Earrings; Civilization

12. A Tree In The Meadow; I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now Near You

13. On The 5.45; It's Magic Powder You Face With Sunshine; For You; Farway Places; T

14. Waltz Of My Heart; Glamorous Night; Music In May

15. Till Then; Five Minutes More; The Old Lamplighter; Let It Be Soon; Sweetheart, W

16. My Thanks To You; Marta; Out Of A Clear Blue Sky; The Old Piano Roll Blues; I'd

17. On A Slow Boat Tochina; Underneathe The Linden Tree; A Little Bird

x

Track List: The Best Of Charlie Kunz

1. Medley No. D 94: Jealous Heart; You're Breaking My Heart; The Wedding Samba; Dear Hearts And Gentle People; Confidentially; Hop Scotch Polka

2. Medley No. D 98: My Foolish Heart; Me And My Shadow; C'est Si Bon; Dearie; Bewitched; Let's Do It Again

3. Medley No. D 102: September Song; Ferry Boat Inn; Tennesse Waltz; If; Beloved Be Faithful

4. Medley No. D 105: Too Young; Too Late Now; Ivory Rag; With These Hands; The Loveliest Night Of The Year; My Truly Truly Fair

5. Medley No, D 108: Unforgettable; Tell Me Why; Saturday Rag;Cry; We Won't Live In A Castle; Be My Life's Companion

6. Medley No. D 110: When You're In Love; I'm Yours; Meet Master Callaghan; The Homing Waltz; From The Time You Say Goodbye; Walkin' My Babymack Home

7. Medley No. D 114: There Must Be A Reason; Hold My Hand; If Give My Heart To You; Little Things Mean A Lot; Make Her Mine; My Son My Son

8. Medley No. D 119: Love And Marriage; Rose Tatoo; Memories Are Made Of This; Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing; When You Lose The One You Love; The Shifting Whispering Sands

9. Medley No. D 120: You Can't Be True To Two; No Other Love; The Poor People Of Paris; It's Almost Tomorrow; A Tear Fell; My September Love

10. Medley No. D 121: Wo Are We?; Walk Hand In Hand; The Birds And The Bees; The Wayward Wind; Whatever Will Be Will Be; Hot Diggity

x

Track List: Charlie Kunz And The Casino Club Orchestra

2. I Raised My Hat

3. Dear Stranger

4. By A Waterfall

5. Harbour Lights

6. Red Sails In The Sunset

7. Unless

8. Memories Of Hours Spent With You

9. Did My Heart Beat, Did I Fall In Love

10. Crying My Heart Out For You

11. On The Good Ship Lollipop

14. There's No Green Grass Round The Old North Pole

15. There Was An Old Woman

16. Let's Sit This One Out

18. Moonstruck

21. Roaming

x

Track List: Serenade In The Night

1. A Star Fell Out Of Heaven/Serenade In The Night/A Fine Romance

2. Grandma Said/I Miss You In The Morning/Nice People

4. I'll Buy That Dream/It's A Grand Night For Singing/It Might As Well Be Spring

12. Dearly Beloved/As Time Goes By/A Touch Of Texas

13. I'll Walk Alone/Swinging On A Star/Shine On Victory Moon

14. The White Cliffs Of Dover/Green Eyes/Rose O'Day

19. Tangerine/One More Kiss Then Goodnight/Miss You

Comments

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O to hear good music again.
Report as inappropriate
spencersmith 3 9 0 1
I believe the band's correct name is Charlie Kunz & his Casani Club Orchestra, not "Casino" Club...both Charlie's piano and his dance band records made in the early to mid 1930s still transcend the years to prove that good sweet music is universally appealing over the generations.
Report as inappropriate
Beautiful song!
Report as inappropriate
A master baker who blew the French Horn Nice turn of phrase

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