Carl Fenton

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Carl Fenton (1889-1980) born as Walter G. Haenschen, was an American bandleader, composer, and radio musician.

Name origin

The Carl Fenton Orchestra (AKA "Carl Fenton’s Orchestra") was a title given to Brunswick Records studio bands through the 1920s. The name was invented by Brunswick music director Walter Gustave "Gus" Haenschen shortly after taking the position for their brand-new American division. Later, the name was taken by violinist Rudy Greenberg.

Haenschen, whose own name was considered ill-suited for commercial recordings, haphazardly chose the name "Fenton" after the town of Fenton, Missouri, near his hometown of St Louis, Missouri. He attended Washington University. (He told an interviewer "How do you find a name? Just pull it out of a hat." The first name "Carl" was likely selected by Brunswick’s office staff.

Early recordings

The earliest songs recorded by Carl Fenton’s Orchestra were Karavan and Romance, from October 1919. Brunswick Records released many "Carl Fenton" records, with various line-ups of musicians. The band was typically led by Haenschen in the studio, but was led by studio musician/conductor Reuben "Rudy" Greenberg during their occasional concerts.

Orchestra change

Around the time that Haenschen left Brunswick Records in mid-1927, Greenberg purchased the rights to the Carl Fenton name. From 1928-1930 Greenberg was musical director for Gennett Records,...
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