Weems moved to Chicago with his band around 1928. He had more chart success in 1929 with the novelty song "Piccolo Pete", and the #1 hit "The Man from the South". The band gained popularity in the 1930s, making regular radio broadcasts on Jack Benny's Canada Dry and the Fibber McGee & Molly program. In 1936, the Ted Weems Orchestra gave singer Perry Como his first national exposure. Among Weems' other discoveries were whistler-singer Elmo Tanner, sax player and singer Red Ingle, Marilyn Maxwell, who left the band for an acting career, and arranger Joe Haymes, who created the band's unique jazz-novelty style. During World War II, Ted Weems enlisted in the United States Merchant Marine.
Reorganising his big band in 1947, he made records for Mercury, including the hits "Peg O' My Heart" and "Mickey". However, the biggest hit of Weems' career was a reissue of his 1933 song "Heartaches", which topped the national charts for 13 weeks. Despite this sudden popularity, the hits dried up after 1947. Weems toured until 1953.
Ted Weems died of emphysema in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1963. His son Ted Jr. led a revival band at times during the 1960s and 1970s. Read more on Last.fm.
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