Elmo Tanner

Elmo Tanner

Whistler Most Famous For His Time With the Ted Weems Orchestra
Born Aug 8, 1904

William Elmo Tanner, known as Elmo Tanner was an American singer, whistler, bandleader and disc jockey, best known for his whistling on the chart-topping song “Heartaches” with the Ted Weems orchestra. He earned the nicknames ““Whistler’s Mother’s “Boy””, “The Whistling Troubador,” and “the nation’s best-known whistler. ” Tanner, like Bing Crosby, was able to whistle from his throat due to the muscles in his larynx.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Elmo Tanner.


1904 Birth Tanner was born on August 8, 1904 in Nashville, Tennessee.


1926 21 Years Old He grew up in Detroit, and moved to Memphis with his family by 1926. … Read More
1927 22 Years Old …  He recorded a few dozen sides as a soloist for Paramount and Vocalion in 1927 through 1929. … Read More
1928 23 Years Old In 1928 he formed a duet with Fred Rose as "The Tune Peddlers" and appeared on radio stations WLS, KYW, and WBBM. … Read More
1929 24 Years Old Tanner joined the Ted Weems band as a singer in 1929 and became a prominent feature of the group. … Read More


1936 31 Years Old 1 More Event
Tanner began appearing in films as part of the Ted Weems Orchestra in 1936; his first film role was in The Hatfields and McCoys, In 1938 he appeared in the movie Swing, Sister, Swing with the Weems outfit. … Read More
1939 34 Years Old Tanner married Eleanor Jones of Birmingham on January 31, 1939 in Indianapolis. … Read More
1940 35 Years Old During this time period Tanner appeared on the popular radio show Beat the Band with Weems; the program ran from January 28, 1940 until February 23, 1941.
1942 37 Years Old Tanner, Ted Weems, and the rest of his orchestra joined the Merchant Marine in 1942.
1944 39 Years Old At (and intermittently before) his discharge in 1944 he pursued a solo career. … Read More


1946 41 Years Old Tanner announced he would be fronting a twelve-piece band in September 1946; the band's theme was "Heartaches". … Read More
1947 42 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1947, a young disk jockey in Charlotte, North Carolina who worked the overnight shift had recently received some older records which he brought to work with him. … Read More
1950 45 Years Old Tanner left Weems in 1950 to open a restaurant in Nashville. … Read More


1958 53 Years Old He formed the Elmo Tanner Quartet and resumed touring for the next few years, until, tired of travel, he broke up his group in Seattle in 1958. … Read More
1959 54 Years Old In 1959, Tanner began working as a disc jockey on radio station WILZ in St. Pete Beach, Florida, a position which lasted several years. … Read More


1969 64 Years Old By 1969 he was retired.
1985 80 Years Old Tanner underwent gall bladder surgery in 1985 and was able to recover at his home in St. Petersburg.
1990 86 Years Old He died on December 20, 1990 in St. Petersburg, Florida. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmo_Tanner.
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