Ken Maynard Biography

21 July 1895, Vevay, Indiana, USA, d. 23 March 1973, California, USA. Maynard, who could play guitar, banjo and fiddle, worked in rodeos until he broke into films as a stuntman. He became the first motion picture singing cowboy, when he sang in The Wagon Master in 1929. In this part-talkie (it was 40% silent), he sang ‘The Lone Star Trail’ and ‘The Cowboy’s Lament’. He recorded eight cowboy songs for Columbia Records in 1930. A cowboy song was used for a film title for the first time in Maynard’s 1930 film The Strawberry Roan. His career as a singing cowboy ended with the film debut of Gene Autry in Maynard’s 1934 film, In Old Sante Fe. His singing, which has been described as rustic, was not comparable to that of Autry, Roy Rogers or later singing cowboys, but he continued for some years as a noted cowboy actor. His brother Kermit Maynard (b. 1897, d. 1971) was also a cowboy actor.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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