Ben Bernie – Yowsah

By | May 30, 2009

If you were living in the 1930’s there’s a good chance that one of favorite musical stars would have been Ben Bernie. He’s not a common known artist today, but one phrase of his you may have heard, “Yawsah, Yawsah, Yowsah.”

Ben Bernie was born on May 30, 1891. By the age of 15 he was teaching violin. Even though this experience wasn’t a happy one music seemed to be his calling and soon he was performing on Vaudeville. He formed his band, the Lads, in 1924.

Bernie’s best known song is Sweet Georgia Brown the theme for the Harlem Globetrotters. He co-wrote the song with Maceo Pinkard and Kenneth Casey. His recording of it was the first and it hit number 1 for 5 weeks.

In the 1930s he hosted a popular radio program and was known as Ben Bernie, The Old Maestro. He would perform on radio throughout the 1930s and into the 40s.

Into the 40s Swing was becoming more popular and while others were moving nearer to swing he continued as he had since beginning 20 years earlier.

On October 20, 1943 after a sudden illness he died. A heavy cigar smoker most of his life is considered by many as a contributing cause to this illness.


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