Music

Bob Wills

Born 6 March 1905. Died 13 May 1975.
Bob Wills

Biography

James Robert Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975), better known as Bob Wills, was an American Western swing musician, songwriter, and bandleader. Considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western swing, he was universally known as the King of Western Swing (after the death of Spade Cooley who used the moniker "King Of Western Swing" from 1942 to 1969.)

Wills formed several bands and played radio stations around the South and West until he formed the Texas Playboys in 1934 with Wills on fiddle, Tommy Duncan on piano and vocals, rhythm guitarist June Whalin, tenor banjoist Johnnie Lee Wills, and Kermit Whalin, who played steel guitar and bass. The band played regularly on a Tulsa, Oklahoma radio station and added Leon McAuliffe on steel guitar, pianist Al Stricklin, drummer Smokey Dacus, and a horn section that expanded the band's sound. Wills favored jazz-like arrangements and the band found national popularity into the 1940s with such hits as "Steel Guitar Rag", "New San Antonio Rose", "Smoke On The Water", "Stars And Stripes On Iwo Jima", and "New Spanish Two Step".

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