Jerry Burke, Organist (1934-1965)
Burke Was A Member Of Lawrence Welk's Original Band
Burke Originally Joined As An Accordionist
Jerry Burke, an original Welk Orchestra member, played the Hammond organ, accordion, celeste and piano on the Lawrence Welk Show from 1934 to 1965.
He was born in Marshalltown, Iowa on July 26, 1911 and showed an early interest in music. He taught piano in Marshalltown and in 1932 joined Harry Turner's orchestra working out of Bismark, North Dakota. In 1934, Jerry received a letter from Lawrence Welk inviting him to join the Band. Jerry joined Welk in 1934 as an accordionist, at which time there were just six men in the band. After the Lawrence Welk Show's TV debut in 1955, Burke switched to the Hammond Organ.
Lawrence Welk Original Band Photo
Burke was absent from the show during the 1963-1964 season for health reasons and passed away on February 13, 1965 of a kidney ailment at the age of 54.
He was subsequently replaced by Bob Ralston.
Jerrry Burke and Larry Hooper Play a Duet to "Mack The Knife"