Despite having sold more than two million copies of one of his records and having written several totally evergreen standards, it seems the most enduring historical legacy of this artist is a series of instruments named after him. In this sense, Wendell Hall is the Les Paul of ukuleles and the slightly louder ukulele banjo, because just as the guitar maestro who designed a popular electric guitar as his namesake, Hall was the designer of a series of sought-after, collector's item ukes and banjo ukes, the subject of brisk commerce on the internet decades after his death. And just as many guitarists strumming their Les Paul guitars don't fret about who Les Paul is, there are surely many crooners strumming prestige Wendell Hall ukuleles who are unaware of who the Hall is. The singer and strummer was known as both "the red-haired music maker" and the slightly more pungent "pineapple picador." He had several decades of recording success in the '20s and '30s, performing a variety of pop and blues numbers while attracting attention with noveltly songs. He also had a shoe, or perhaps we should say a barefoot, in the hillbilly patch and in terms of national hit records is reported to be the first "official" hillbilly, if there can be such a thing. His song "It Ain't Gonna Rain No More" was considered a hillbilly release when it first was pressed in 1923, a distinction that has long since faded while the song itself has remained a classic standard. This was the release that sold two million for Hall, but it was not his only successful recording by any means. He played the other side of the rain cloud with a release of "It Looks Like Rain," although public response indicated a preference for dryer climates. He recorded a cover version of "Big Rock Candy Mountain," and an "answer" song to Harry McClintock's "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum" entitled "Who Said I Was a Bum?" He provided lyrical fodder for many a serviceman with "Show Me the Way to Go Home," and also drew attention collaborating with fellow official hillbilly Carson Robinson in a series of Stephan Foster platters, such as "Camptown Races" and "Oh Susanna." Hall also became involved in publishing instruction manuals and songs for ukulele early on in the game. His Ukulele Methods, published by Forster Music in 1925, was one of the first such manuals for the instrument to be commercially available. It came hot on the heels of Uke Songs published the year before by Jack Mills. Hall also recorded and performed on several other small stringed instruments, the mildly obscure tipple and the truly rare taropatch. He was featured on radio broadcasts over the NBC WHZ network in the '30s.
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