(1889-1980) born as Walter G. Haenschen
, was an American
bandleader, composer, and radio musician.
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.
The earliest songs recorded by Carl Fenton’s Orchestra were Karavan
, 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.
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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