"....it brings a steady flow of tears to my eyes that 
	the young 'uns of today don't know jack about the 
	Wizard of the Strings and his wonderful ways." -- Don Pauldo de Boletus

Roy was born in 1900 in Reading, PA, where his father bequeathed to him the sum total of his musical knowledge: 3 chords. But from those humble beginnings, Roy became a self-made string instrument virtuoso and played the vaudeville circuit in his early days. In 1926 he appeared in one of the first sound films ever made by Warner Bros./Vitaphone (the first music video!). The Vitaphone was a projector/sound machine that synchronized a moving image with an audio disc record at 33 1/3 speed and played from the innermost groove to the outside edge. The first nationally promoted Vitaphone talking picture was "Don Juan," starring John Barrymore, and the production was accompanied by other short entertaining video pieces including one entitled "His Pastimes" featuring our man Roy. (Al Jolson's "Jazz Singer" was issued a year later.)

The "Pastimes" piece made an instant celebrity out of Roy and was just the beginning of six decades of accomplishments on the banjo, guitar, steel guitar and uke. In addition, Roy invented the Vita-Uke marketed by the Harmony Company. He also put his name to several other uke, guitar, Hawaiian guitar, steel guitar, and banjo models made by Harmony, and made over 500 recordings for Edison, Victor, Columbia, Decca, Crown, RCA and others. He wrote instruction/method books for guitar, Hawaiian guitar, uke and banjo by the dozens (hold the huevos, please); arranged innumerable(?) tunes for the uke; and made the first multiple-soundtrack movie for Paramount Pictures.

Roy played at FDR's presidential inaugural ball in 1932; George VI's coronation review in 1939; and toured and played in Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, Canada, Puerto Rico, Korea and, of course, Hawaii. He appeared on TV with Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, and Jack Paar. In short, Roy has done it all.

Perhaps his greatest accomplishment, though, was very simply being the foundation of popular music through his happy, hopping ukulele music of the twenties and thirties when uke was king. He was a tireless performer who played nearly everywhere, would stage a uke contest for amateurs in cities he would visit, and would appear in local music shops along the way for free demonstrations on his vita-uke

Roy recorded hundreds of songs, on his own and with other groups. Many are on 78rpm records, and a good number can be found on LPs. In hopes of reviving an interest in Roy's musical contributions, and in the power of happy music in general, here is an (as yet) incomplete listing of Smeck-ola!

Roy Smeck on LP:

  • Roy Smeck: Drifting and Dreaming -- Coral
  • Roy Smeck: HI FI Paradise -- ABC Paramount (ABCS 234)
  • Roy Smeck: Melodies with Memories -- ABC Paramount (ABC 174)
  • Roy Smeck: Roy Smeck, His Singing Guitar and Paradise Serenaders -- ABC Paramount (ABCS 379)
  • Roy Smeck: The Happy Banjo -- ABC Paramount (ABCS 309)
  • Roy Smeck: The Haunting Hawaiian Guitar -- ABC Paramount (ABCS 330)
  • Roy Smeck: The Magic Ukulele of Roy Smeck -- ABC Paramount (ABC 279)
  • Roy Smeck: I Love to Hear a Banjo -- ABC Paramount (ABC 484)
  • Roy Smeck: The Many Guitar Moods of Roy Smeck -- ABC Paramount (ABC 452)
  • Roy Smeck: Wizard of the Strings -- Blue Goose (BG 2027)
  • Roy Smeck: Roy Smeck Plays Hawaiian Guitar Banjo Ukulele and Guitar 1926-1949 -- Yazoo (1052)
  • Roy Smeck and his All Star Serenaders: Stringing Along -- ABC Paramount(ABC-412)
  • Roy Smeck/Alfred Apaka/et al.: South Seas Serenade -- ABC Paramount (ABC 119)
  • Roy Smeck/Alfred Apaka/et al.: Adventures in Paradise -- ABC Paramount (ABC-329)
  • Roy Smeck/Alfred Apaka/et al.: Adventures in Paradise vol. 2 -- ABC Paramount (ABC 358)
Roy Smeck on Ten Inch Long Playing Records:
  • The Ames Brothers with Roy Smeck: Sweet Leilani -- Coral (CRL 56042)
  • Roy Smeck: Songs of the Range (in Dreamy Hawaiian Style) -- Decca (Dl 5473)
  • Roy Smeck: Memory Lane -- Decca (DL 5458)
  • Roy Smeck: Drifting and Dreaming -- Coral (CRL 56013)
A Small Sampling of Roy Smeck 78 RPMs (Playing Hawaiian Guitar):
  • Roy Smeck and his Serenaders: Let Me Whisper/Cathedral in the Pines -- Decca 1817
  • Roy Smeck and his Serenaders: Yours/Maria Elena -- Decca 3790
  • Roy Smeck and his Serenaders: What Will I Tell My Heart/Wanted -- Decca 1156
  • Roy Smeck and his Serenaders: Heaven Can Wait/I Won't Believe It -- Decca 2358
  • Roy Smeck and his Serenaders: Moon Over Miami/On Treasure Island -- Decca 649
  • Roy Smeck: Forget Me Not, My Hawaiian Rose -- Banner 7208
  • Roy Smeck's Trio: If I Had You/Hawaiian Rosary -- Banner 6367
  • Roy Smeck's Trio: Pagan Love Song/Sunny, Sunny June -- Banner 6461
  • Roy Smeck's Trio: Home/Save The Last Dance For Me -- Conqueror 7943
  • Roy Smeck's Trio: When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver/Reaching For the Moon -- Conqueror 7791
  • Roy Smeck's Trio: When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain/Shine On Harvest Moon -- Conqueror 7878
  • Roy Smeck and his Quartette: Song of the Islands/Hilo March -- Perfect 11362