Burl Ives was one of six children born to a Scottish-Irish farming family. He first sang in public for a soldiers' reunion when he was age 4. In high school, he learned the banjo and played fullback, intending to become a football coach when he enrolled at Eastern Illinois State Teacher's College in 1927. He dropped out in 1930 and wandered, hitching rides, doing odd jobs, street singing.
Summer stock in the late 1930s led to a job with CBS radio in 1940; through his "Wayfaring Stranger" he popularized many of the folksongs he had collected in his travels. By the 1960s, he had hits on both popular and country charts. He recorded over 30 albums for Decca and another dozen for Columbia. In 1964 he was singer-narrator of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) (TV), an ...» read full biography