While with Wills he helped compose "San Antonio Rose". He is more noted, however, for his most famous composition, "Steel Guitar Rag", and his playing, along with that of [Bob Dunn (musician)|Robert Lee Dunn] (Milton Brown's Musical Brownies), that popularized the steel guitar in the United States. His playing (and Dunn's) is also credited with inspiring the rhythm and blues electric guitar style occurring some twenty years later. After the war, McAuliffe returned to Tulsa, forming his Western swing band and releasing a number of recordings, including "Panhandle Rag" (Columbia 20546) which reached number six in 1949. McAuliffe soon opened his Cimarron Ballroom in the remodeled Akdar Shrine Mosque in Tulsa.
He and his band, Leon McAuliffe and His Cimarron Boys, named for the ballroom, recorded several songs. He also opened a recording studio, Cimarron Records. In the late 1950s, he appeared on ABC-TV's Jubilee USA and other broadcasts. McAuliffe funded a music program at Rogers State College in Claremore, Oklahoma, paying for a recording studio and office on campus. It was from this studio and office that Junior Brown taught guitar and met his wife Tanya Rae.
McAuliffe was always giving to his students, featuring them in his concerts around northeastern Oklahoma. He died after a long illness on August 20, 1988 in Tulsa. The studio gear was donated by Eleanor, his widow, to a church McAuliffe favored. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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