Thursday, October 11, 2007

Larry Hooper & the Lawrence Welk Orchestra - Roger Boom (1956)

Larry Hooper (1917 - 1983) joined Lawrence Welk's 'Musical Family' in 1948, about three years prior to the premier of Welk's musical variety TV program.

Originally he'd been hired as a pianist when Welk's band was performing evening shows at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, but his rich and deep bass singing voice soon earned him a position as a featured vocalist. He would remain a regular on the TV program for many years to follow.

When it comes to novelty records, Lawrence Welk's name doesn't often spring to mind, but during Hooper's tenure with the band, that was often his purview.

'Roger Boom' was released as a single towards the very end of 1956.
The novelty record was certainly nothing new, but judging by the use of sound effects in this recording, I'll venture that there'd been some consideration towards cashing in on the craze that was gaining momentum that year.

In recent years there'd been strange noises and sound effects cropping up in a few of those crazy new-fangled Rock & Roll records, the ones that were driving the kids wild and their parents insane.
In 1954, Leiber & Stoller had staged The Robins' 'Riot In Cell Block #9', for example.

More notably, 1956 brought with it the squealing tires and car crashes of 'Transfusion', a one-hit wonder for the brilliant and unique Nervous Norvus, but Norvus was soon eclipsed by the insanely popular sonic attack of 'The Flying Saucer' by Buchanan and Goodman, which landed in August of that year.

The parade of chipmunks and purple-people-eaters and such was still a couple of years away...

Listen to: 'Lawrence Welk Presents Larry Hooper' - Roger Boom (click for audio)

(Originally a Coral Records 45 from 1956, I found it on an old Longines Symphonette LP box set called 'Champagne Memories')

Writer's credit on 'Roger Boom' goes to Bob Hilliard, a well-known lyricist who worked primarily from the 1930's into the '60's.

He'd written memorable novelty numbers in the past, such as 'Civilization (Bongo, Bongo Bongo)' in 1947, he'd contributed songs to Disney's 1951 production of 'Alice In Wonderland', and later he penned Paul Evans' 1959 hit, 'Seven Little Girls (Sitting in the Back Seat)'.

Hilliard also had many successes in collaboration with composers like Jule Styne, Mort Garson,
Sammy Fain, Milton DeLugg, and Burt Bacharach.

Some of the 'straighter' pop hits included on his roster are:

'In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning', 'Money Burns a Hole in My Pocket', 'Dear Hearts and Gentle People', 'The Coffee Song', 'Any Day Now', and 'Our Day Will Come'.

Click here for a lengthy listing of Bob Hilliard's songwriting credits.

Follow this link to a huge fansite devoted to The Lawrence Welk Show and all the performers associated with it over the years.

Finally, below is a YouTube clip of Larry Hooper and Pete Fountain performing "Nobody's Sweetheart", from a 1958 episode of the Lawrence Welk show...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wish I could find some album/CD or songs by Larry Hooper.
Enjoy his singing very much.

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