LAWRENCE FOTINE was born Lawrence Constantine Fotinakis  on April 27, 1911 in Camden, NJ to Peter and Helen Fotinakis. His father had emigrated from Smyrna, Turkey to the United States in 1907, at a time when ethnic Greeks were experiencing great difficulty there. By the time of the 1930 Census, the family was living at 100 Haddon Avenue in Westmont NJ. The elder Fotinakis was then working as an insurance salesman.

After taking up the piano as a teenager, Lawrence Fotinakis formed his own band in 1935, performing as Larry Fotin in New Jersey and the surrounding states. His band played venues in Camden such as the Hotel Walt Whitman. By 1936 he had moved to 201 Ardmore Avenue in Westmont NJ, he later would move to nearby Audubon. He was listed in the 1936 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory as Larry Fotin. Sometime after June of 1939 he disbanded his own band to pursue other musical ventures. He later changed his name again, to Fotine. As Larry Fotine he would gain the most long-lasting recognition.

In 1940 Larry Fotine joined the Sammy Kaye Orchestra as an arranger, then did similar work for Blue Barron and Art Mooney from 1945 to 1947. In 1948 he again organized his own orchestra, under the name Larry Fotine. For seven years recorded and performed all over North America. After making his home in Camden County for all of his life, in 1955 he moved his family to California. 

Larry Fotine worked as an arranger for Lawrence Welk for two years, beginning in 1958. In 1959 he released his own 20th Contemporary Classical work for the Balboa label under the alias “Constantine and His Orchestra” with composer credits to Larry Fotine. In the 1960s he recorded Dixieland-style music under the name The Beale Street Buskers. Still working in the late 1980, he was composing background music and tunes for a variety of animated cartoon series.

Larry Fotine wrote or had a hand in writing well over 300 songs, some of which became standards over the years. He co-wrote I Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues with Duke Ellington, and Don, and his You Were Only Foolin' was recorded by Patsy Cline among others. He also wrote songs for television. He was still active in music into the late 1980s. 

Larry Fotine passed November 25, 1990 in Minden NV of an aortic aneurysm. 

Larry Fotine & His Beale Street Buskers
Fascination Rag
Yes, We Have No Bananas
Goodbye Blues
Rink Tink Piano Music
Old Time Movies
Take Five
Slow Freight
Mama's Gone, Goodbye

Larry Fotine & His Beale Street Buskers
Doodle Bird

Larry Fotine's daughter, Barbara, remembers:

"About the age of 14, he started to study piano. He then taught himself composition, arranging and orchestration. About 1935, he organized a youth orchestra and played various engagements in the surrounding states."

"Larry joined the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, as an arranger from 1940 to 1945 and from 1945 to 1947 was arranger for the Blue Barron, and Art Mooney Orchestras. He organized his own orchestra in 1948. This was heard by the well-known booking agent, Joe Glaser, who signed Larry and his orchestra to an exclusive booking agreement. Larry Fotine and His Orchestra proceeded to play various engagements throughout the U. S. and Canada."

"Some of the major engagements were at: Steel Pier, Atlantic City, NJ; Arcadia Ballroom and Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY; Claridge Hotel and Peabody Hotel, Memphis, TN; Aragon Ballroom, Oh Henry Ballroom and Melody Mill Ballroom, Chicago, IL; Syracuse Hotel, Syracuse, NY; Muehlback Hotel, Kansas City, MO."

"In 1955, Larry disbanded his orchestra and moved his family from Audubon, New Jersey to the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, California. He joined the Lawrence Welk orchestra in 1958 as an arranger and worked with Welk for two years."

"Larry Fotine was a member of ASCAP and wrote and published over 30 over 300 songs. Some of the better known were: 

You Were Only Foolin' (L. Fotine, F. Meadows, B. Faber)
I Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues (Duke Ellington, L. Fotine, D. George)
Blue Guitar (L. Fotine, F. Stanton)
Spring in Montmartre (L. Fotine, G. Shelley)

"He recorded with his own orchestra for Decca, King, Coral, Balboa and Sonic Arts labels. He also recorded under the name of Constantine and His Orchestra and under the name of Beale Street Buskers."

"In the late 1980's, he was still active writing music -- this time it was background music and songs for the seasonal animated cartoon series, 'Rusty and Buttons', which was distributed worldwide."

The Christmas Tree Train
Which Witch Is Which, with lyricist Francis Hayward Stanton
The Turkey Caper
A Chucklewood Easter

"Larry also wrote several books:

Theory and Techniques of Twelve Tone Composition
Musicians and Other Noisemakers
Contemporary Musician's Handbook and Dictionary
Pieces of Life (a collection of short stories)

"Larry married Dorothy Owens in New Jersey in 1940. They had 3 children, Nicholas, Donald and Barbara -- all "fotine" months apart, as he used to say. In September 1990, one month after celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, Larry and Dorothy moved from Los Angeles to Minden, NV (northern Nevada). Two months after moving there, Larry collapsed and died suddenly of a ruptured aortic aneurysm on November 25, 1990."

The BigBands Database Plus 
thanks Ms Barbara Atkins for sharing her memories of her famous father.

During his career, Larry composed over 300 songs, - some by himself and some with others. Some of the songs Larry composed by himself are:
     "Almost Square"
     "American Patrol"
     "Cues" music for the Benny Hill TV Show.
     "Brooklyn Bounce"
     "Charleston Forever"
     "Hot Peppers Gallop"
     "London Rhapsody"
     "My Trumpet Bloweth Over"
     "Raggle Taggle"
     "Steamboat Rag"
     "Wedding of Pocahontas"

Just a few of those composed with lyricist Francis Hayward Stanton, are:
     "Yum Yum Trolley"
     "Beautiful Bayou Waltz" (w/ Joe Basile)
     "Blue Guitar (Chet Atkins, among others recorded it.)
     "Girl With the Purple Feet"
     "It s a Lovely Day in Paree"
     "Till We Love Again"
     "Tutti Frutti Tree"

Among the tunes composed by the trio of Larry Fotin, Joe Basile and Francis Hayward Stanton are:
     "Smooth as Silk"
     "Fire Ball Gallop"
     "Diamonds and Pearls"
     "Blue Ribbon Waltz"
     "The Victoria Waltz"

Among the tunes composed by Larry Fotine with Gladys Shelley
     "Empty Words"
     "Secret of Suzette"
     "Spring in Montmarte"
     "Tutti Frutti Tree"

And, among the other composers with whom Larry worked are:
     "Sahara" - Joseph Schmitz
     "Shake Those Bones" - Dudley 'Tiny' Little
     "Arriba Aruba" - Dudley 'Tiny' Little
     "On The Rue De La Paix" - Buddy Kaye
     "Crazy Love Crazy Kisses" - Sheldon Cohen
     "Khartoum" - Sheldon Cohen
     "I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues" - Edward Kennedy 'Duke' Ellington and Don George
     "The Christmas Mambo" - Moe Jaffe
     "The Cocktail Tango" - Thomas Connor
     "Candlelight and Crystal" - David G. Stephens
     "Boogie Woogie Barnyard" - Don George
     "Belmont Boogie" - 
            (w/ Sammy Kaye listed as co-composer... but perhaps only to share in the royalties.)
     "Boogie Woogie Hotel" - Evelyne Love Cooper and Hans Lengsfelder.
     "Heartbroken" - Oscar Dumont, and Francis Hayward Stanton.

and perhaps a hundred or so others.

Camden Courier-Post - June 10, 1932