Musical icon Bob Wills
Musical icon Bob Wills (BW001). Famed as "the King of Western Swing" James Robert (Jim Rob) "Bob" Wills was born on March 6, 1905, in Limestone County, Texas, into a family of musicians. His parents were John and Emma Wills. As a youngster, when he played the fiddle, Wills was forced to use all of the bow (not just the upper end as breakdown fiddlers do) and he developed a long bow technique. In 1935 Wills made Tulsa's Cain's Ballroom the bands headquarters for the broadcast of their noonday show, Monday through Saturday, and their Thursday and Saturday night dances. The band added horns, and by 1940 the Playboy organization had grown to a size comparable to any big swing band in the nation. With a repertoire of more than three thousand songs, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys became legends. Bob Wills died on May 13, 1975, and was buried in Tulsa beside his parents and siblings. Wills and the Texas Playboys band members made numerous recordings in more than fifty years in the music industry, including classics such as "Take Me Back to Tulsa," "Faded Love," and "San Antonio Rose."