Donnell Clyde Cooley, 22 February 1910, Grande, Oklahoma, USA, d. 23 November 1969, Vacaville, California, USA. His grandfather and father were talented fiddlers and he was playing at dances at the age of eight. Around 1930, the family moved to Modesto, California, where Cooley played local venues. In 1934, his resemblance to Roy Rogers found him employment as a stand-in and his work with other bands soon led to him fronting his own at the Pier Ballroom, Venice. Between 1943 and 1946, he was resident at the prestigious Riverside Rancho Ballroom in Santa Monica, where he acquired the nickname of King Of Western Swing (Bill C. Malone records this as the first time the music pioneered by Bob Wills and Milton Brown had been so described). In 1947, Cooley adapted to television and his programme on KTLA became one of the top west coast shows until 1958. Cooley, with his orchestra playing a mixture of country, jazz and dance music, became a national...
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