Lester Raymond “Les” Brown, Sr. (March 14, 1912 – January 4, 2001) and the Band of Renown are a big band that began in the late 1930s, initially as the group Les Brown and His Blue Devils, that Brown led while a student at Duke University. He was the first president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He was best known for his nearly seven decades of work with the group Les Brown and His Band of Renown (1938–2001). After graduating from New York Military Academy in 1932, Brown attended college at Duke University from 1932–1936. There he led the group Les Brown and His Blue Devils, who performed regularly on Duke’s campus and up and down the east coast.
Brown took the band on an extensive summer tour in 1936. At the end of the tour, while some of the band members returned to Duke to continue their education, others stayed on with Brown and continued to tour, becoming in 1938 the Band of Renown. A few years later, in 1945, this band brought Doris Day into prominence with their recording of Sentimental Journey. The song’s release coincided with the end of World War II in Europe and became the unofficial homecoming theme for many veterans. The band had nine other number-one hit songs, including I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.