Pee Wee King

Induction Year: 1970

Birth Name: Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski

Birth Date: 02-18-1914

Place of Birth: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Death Date: 03-07-2000

Place of Death: Louisville, Kentucky

Pee Wee King's indelible contributions to American music include his co-written songs "Slow Poke," "You Belong to Me," "Bonaparte's Retreat" and "The Tennessee Waltz." The last-named is one of the most performed songs in history and has been recorded by more than 500 artists.

The songwriter, instrumentalist and bandleader was raised in a musical family of Polish extraction in Milwaukee. He formed his first band when he was 15, taking his stage name from a bandleader he idolized, Wayne King. In 1934, he and some of his band mates toured with singing cowboy Gene Autry. Noting that there were already a number of men named Frank in his troupe, Autry nicknamed the accordion player "Pee Wee."

When Autry left the Midwest for Hollywood and movie stardom, his manager, J. L. Frank, stayed behind. Frank relocated to Louisville and summoned Pee Wee King to join him there. King joined the Frank-managed Log Cabin Boys at WHAS radio. At a subsequent stint on WNOX in Knoxville, King formed his Golden West Cowboys band and married Frank's singing daughter, Lydia.

In 1937, Pee Wee King & the Golden West Cowboys joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The show was then dominated by string bands, and King and his group were decidedly more polished. They could all read music and were American Federation of Musicians union members. Not only did King bring the AFM to the Opry, he introduced flashy cowboy attire and the tightly rehearsed, smooth singing of polkas, waltzes and Western songs.

King and J. L. Frank co-wrote a number of songs for Gene Autry, as well as Opry star Roy Acuff's big 1944 hit "I'll Forgive You, But I Can't Forget." The Golden West Cowboys were the launch pad for such singers as Eddy Arnold and Cowboy Copas, as well as for comedian Minnie Pearl. Most of the band's biggest hits were sung by Redd Stewart. Their "Tennessee Waltz" became a multi-million-selling pop smash for Patti Page in 1951 and was named a state song of Tennessee in 1965. "Slow Poke" was #1 on both the country and pop charts for King and his band.

King left the Opry to return to Louisville in 1947. From there, he became a pioneer in country TV, starring in both regional and national programs. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1974.

"A Crazy Waltz"

(written with Roy Ayres, Redd Stewart)

Pee Wee King1952 
Helen O'Connell1952 

"Bonaparte's Retreat"

(written with Redd Stewart)

Pee Wee King1950 #10 country
Spade Cooley1950 
Kay Starr1950 #4 pop
Gene Krupa1950 #9 pop
Roy Acuff1953 
Reno & Smiley1957 
Justin Tubb1958 
Billy Grammer1959 #50 pop
Kitty Wells1960 
Floyd Cramer1964 
Paul Anka1966 
Hank Locklin1967 
Don Gibson1969 
Carl Smith1970 
Michael Nesmith1972 
Glen Campbell1974 #3 country, #42 pop
Redd Stewart1974 
Willie Nelson1975 
Lenny Breau1982 
Doc Watson1990 
Holy Modal Rounders1999 
Hot Club of Cowtown1999 
Bryan Sutton2006 
The Time Jumpers2007 

"Dog House Blues"

(written with J.L. Frank)

Bill Monroe1940 
Pee Wee King1952 

"Double Trouble on My Mind"

(written with J.L. Frank)

Cowboy Copas1947 

"I'll Forgive You, But I Can't Forget"

(written with J.L. Frank)

Roy Acuff1944 #3 country, #26 pop
Merle Travis1944 
Cliff Bruner1944 

"I'm Praying for the Day When Peace Will Come"

(written with Hank Williams)

Roscoe Hankins1951 

"My Heart's Below the Mason-Dixon Line"

(written with J.L. Frank)

Cowboy Copas1947 

"No More Roamin'"

Cowboy Copas1946 

"River Road Two Step"

(written with Redd Stewart)

Pee Wee King1952 
Spade Cooley1952 
Margaret Whiting1952 
Hank Thompson1963 

"Slow Poke"

(written with Chilton Price, Redd Stewart)

Pee Wee King1951 #1 country, #1 pop
Hawkshaw Hawkins1951 #7 country, #26 pop
Ralph Flanagan1951 #6 pop
Helen O'Connell1951 #8 pop
Arthur Godfrey1951 #12 pop
Roberta Lee1951 #13 pop
Doris Day1952 
Billy Vaughn Orchestra1952 
Tiny Hill1952 #28 pop
Eddy Arnold1954 
Bob Wills1957 
Homer & Jethro1963 
Riders in the Sky1986 
Lawrence Welk1987 

"Sundown and Sorrow"

(written with J.L. Frank)

Cowboy Copas1946 

"Tennessee Waltz"

(written with Redd Stewart)

Pee Wee King1948 #3 country, #30 pop
Cowboy Copas1948 #3 country
Roy Acuff1948 #12 country
Erskine Hawkins1950 #6 R&B
Patti Page1950 #1 pop, #2 country
Stick McGhee1950 #2 R&B
Guy Lombardo1950 #6 pop
Les Paul & Mary Ford1950 #6 pop
Jo Stafford1950 #7 pop
Pee Wee King (reissue)1951 #6 country
Spike Jones1951 #13 pop
The Fontane Sisters1951 #20 pop
Anita O'Day1951 #24 pop
Eddy Arnold1956 
Floyd Cramer1957 
The Louvin Brothers1958 
Margaret Whiting1958 
Connie Francis1959 
Bobby Comstock & the Counts1959 #52 pop
Chet Atkins1959 
Faron Young1959 
The Ames Brothers1959 
Jerry Fuller1959 #63 pop
Tennessee Ernie Ford1960 
Kitty Wells1960 
Don Roberston1961 
Pat Boone1962 
Webb Pierce1962 
Sam Cooke1964 #35 pop, #35 R&B
Slim Whitman1966 
Otis Redding1966 
Ernest Tubb1966 
Manfred Mann1967 
The Mills Brothers1968 
Johnny Jones1968 #49 R&B
Dottie West1968 
Don Gibson1969 
Ferlin Husky1969 
Sonny James1970 
Ella Fitzgerald & Joe Pass1976 
Anne Murray1978 
Charlie Daniels Band1978 
Lacy J. Dalton1980 #18 country
Emmylou Harris1981 
Mose Allison1982 
James Brown1983 
Leon Russell1984 
Sonny Rollins1989 
David Allan Coe1990 
LaVern Baker1992 
The Chieftains1995 
Kathy Mattea1996 
Norah Jones2002 
Charlie McCoy2008 
Shawn Colvin2010 

"The Chapel on the Hill"

(written with Eddy Arnold, J.L. Frank)

Eddy Arnold1953 

"The End of My Round Up Days"

(written with Milton Estes, J.L. Frank)

Gene Autry1937 

"Walk Me By the River"

(written with Marger Rothget, Redd Stewart)

Bing Crosby1953 

"You Belong to Me"

(written with Chilton Price, Redd Stewart)

Jo Stafford1952 #1 pop
Patti Page1952 #4 pop
Sue Thompson1952 
The Orioles1952 
Dean Martin1952 #12 pop
Joni James1952 
Jim Reeves1957 
Paul Anka1958 
Gene Vincent1958 
Pat Boone1959 
Santo & Johnny1960 
Mose Allison1961 
The Duprees1962 #7 pop
Patsy Cline1962 
Petula Clark1965 
Jane Morgan1965 
Jim Reeves (reissue)1975 #54 country
Al Martino1975 
Jerry Lee Lewis1976 
Ringo Starr1981 
Marshall Crenshaw1986 
Margo Smith1987 
Johnny Mathis1989 
T.C. Brandon1989 #93 country
Anne Murray1993 
Bob Dylan1994 
Floyd Cramer1996 
Bonnie Bramlett2002 
Crystal Gayle2003 
Carla Bruni2008 
Beegie Adair2009 

"You Tried to Ruin My Name"

(written with Redd Stewart)

Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper1952 
Pee Wee King1952 
Johnnie & Jack1952 

Pee Wee King

Induction Year: 1970