Spade Cooley

Spade Cooley

Musical Artist
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Spade Cooley

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Description:
Donnell Clyde Cooley (December 17, 1910–November 23, 1969), better known as Spade Cooley, was an American Western swing musician, big band leader, actor, and television personality. His career ended in 1961 when he was arrested and convicted for the murder of his second wife, Ella Mae Evans.

Biography

Music career

One of the groups which played at the Venice Pier Ballroom in Venice, California was led by Jimmy Wakely with Spade Cooley on fiddle. Several thousand dancers would turn out on Saturday night to swing and hop. "The hoards (sic) of people and jitterbuggers loved him." When Wakely got a movie contract at Universal, Cooley replaced him as bandleader.L.A. Despair: A Landscape of Crimes & Bad Times. John Gilmore. 2005. Amok Books. Page 313. ISBN 9781878923165 ISBN 1878923161

To capitalize on the pioneering success of the Bob Wills–Tommy Duncan pairing, Cooley hired vocalist Tex Williams who was capable of the mellow deep baritone sound made popular by Duncan. Cooley's 18-month engagement at Santa Monica's Venice Pier Ballroom was record-breaking for the early half of the 1940s. His "Shame on You", released on Columbia's Okeh label, was recorded in December 1944, and was No. 1 on the country charts for two months. A Red Foley / Lawrence Welk collaboration issued by Decca (18698) was No. 4 to Cooley's No. 5...
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