Karl Lawrence King

About Karl Lawrence King

Who is it?: Musician (Composer)
Birth Day: February 18, 1921
Birth Place: Paintersville, United States

Karl Lawrence King

Karl Lawrence King was born on February 18, 1921 in Paintersville, United States, is Musician (Composer). Karl L. King was an American march music bandmaster and composer, renowned for his work “Barnum and Bailey's Favorite”, one of the most popular circus march music. Apart from being a brilliant composer, he was also an excellent baritone and cornet player as well. His march compositions became famous in circus bands, which seriously lacked standard march music till then. Many circus companies adopted his compositions and much of them are now regarded as classic works in this genre. His contributions to circus music earned him the title "March King", which he shared with another stalwart, John Philip Sousa. Karl King’s compositions had a standout quality as it matched with the rhythm of the acts and he quickly rose to leadership positions in leading circus bands like Buffalo Bill and the Barnum and Bailey. He concentrated only in circus band music and contributed much more than any other composer. Aerial waltzes and circus galops were his specialty and these were in popular demand during his time and, even after several years of his death, no other composer could beat the popularity of his compositions. He was a humble man, who led a common life and was greatly respected and loved as a spectacular composer and a great human being. Read on to learn more about this legend.
Karl Lawrence King is a member of Musicians

Does Karl Lawrence King Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Karl Lawrence King has been died on March 31, 1971.

🎂 Karl Lawrence King - Age, Bio, Faces and Birthday

When Karl Lawrence King die, Karl Lawrence King was 50 years old.

Popular As Karl Lawrence King
Occupation Musicians
Age 50 years old
Zodiac Sign Pisces
Born February 18, 1921 (Paintersville, United States)
Birthday February 18
Town/City Paintersville, United States
Nationality United States

🌙 Zodiac

Karl Lawrence King’s zodiac sign is Pisces. According to astrologers, Pisces are very friendly, so they often find themselves in a company of very different people. Pisces are selfless, they are always willing to help others, without hoping to get anything back. Pisces is a Water sign and as such this zodiac sign is characterized by empathy and expressed emotional capacity.

🌙 Chinese Zodiac Signs

Karl Lawrence King was born in the Year of the Rooster. Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Rooster are practical, resourceful, observant, analytical, straightforward, trusting, honest, perfectionists, neat and conservative. Compatible with Ox or Snake.

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Awards and nominations:

Highway signs leading into Fort Dodge list it as "Home of Karl L. King".



In 1910 at the age of 19, he began a short career playing baritone in and directing circus bands. That year, he joined the Robinson Famous Shows under Conductor Woodring Van Anda ("Woody Van"). The next year he was performing in the Yankee Robinson Circus band under Theo. Stout. In 1912, he performed in the Sells-Floto Circus under W.P. English (a famous march composer), and in 1913 in the Barnum and Bailey band under Ned Brill. At the request of Brill he wrote (and dedicated to Brill) "Barnum & Bailey's Favorite", his most famous march and possibly the most recognizable American music written specifically for the circus. It would soon be adopted as the theme of the circus.


"Barnum and Bailey's Favorite" (1913) remains his best-known composition, but other pieces that retain their popularity among fans of band music include:


His first full-time conducting job was in 1914 through 1915 with the Sells Floto Circus and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show combined shows band. He became bandmaster for the Sells-Floto Circus in 1915 and was bandmaster of the Barnum and Bailey Circus band 1917–1918. In his final band, he included his wife Ruth (Lovett) as the calliope performer. He had married Ruth November 17, 1916.


After a year in Canton where he directed the Grand Army Band (1919) King settled down in Fort Dodge, Iowa. This was in 1920 (age 29) and for the next fifty-one years he conducted the Fort Dodge Municipal Band, which featured Future American Bandmasters Association President Joseph Hermann on clarinet. The band became known as King's Band.


King was instrumental in the passage of the Iowa Band Law in 1921, which allowed cities to levy a local tax for maintenance of a band. He commemorated this with one of his marches, "Iowa Band Law". In 1960, King would direct "Iowa Band Law" with the largest mass band ever assembled: 188 high school bands and nearly 13,000 Musicians at a nationally televised University of Michigan football game.


A physical description of Karl King in the 1951 Who's Who in Music: brown eyes, brown hair, 6’1” in height, 200 pounds.


King's final published march was "The Home Town Boy March" (1962) dedicated to Meredith Willson.


A disastrous fire on January 12, 1971 destroyed the Knights of Columbus Hall where the Fort Dodge Band held rehearsals and stored instruments and uniforms. The hall also held most of Karl King's original manuscripts, including special arrangements.


King's marches for circus bands are usually composed at a high difficulty level (grade 4–5 typically) American march music. He also contributed greatly to the school band movement with numerous compositions at various levels of difficulty.

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