Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame
For 30 years, his style, wit, and musical genius were on display every weeknight for the world to enjoy. But there is much more to Doc Severinsen than the five-note introduction to television’s The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson theme song he is associated with. He has proved himself one of the greatest trumpeters and musicians of the past several decades, a fact evident in the breadth and longevity of his musical career.
Severinsen became a staff musician for NBC in 1949 and was asked by Skitch Henderson to join the Tonight Show Band in 1962. In 1967 he became the music director for The Tonight Show and went on to become one of the cornerstones of the program. The easy repartee among Severinsen, Johnny Carson, and Ed McMahon helped establish The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson as can’t-miss TV through the 60s, 70s and 80s.
When Carson’s tenure as The Tonight Show host ended in 1992, Severinsen also stepped down. But that simply opened new musical avenues for his pursuit and since then he has toured with his own big band, performed with symphony orchestras all over the country, and been principal pops conductor with symphonies in Phoenix, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and elsewhere. In 2006, Doc moved to Mexico with thoughts of retirement from music performance. That didn’t last long. He soon connected with renowned guitarist Gil Gutierrez and today tours extensively with him in a quintet called The San Miguel Five.
A GRAMMY award winner, Doc Severinsen has released more than 30 albums, including the 2014 San Miguel Five CD entitled Oblivion.
Carl H. “Doc” Severinsen is of Danish descent.