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1964. A small radio playing "She Loves You" by The Beatles. Hearing that music was all it took to capture his imagination. That very moment sparked a life-long love of music for Larry Hess.

After earning degrees in music education and performance, Larry Hess embarked on a musical journey working as a music educator, a 30+ year career with multiple symphony orchestras, and as a pit musician for numerous musical theatre productions.

Jazz, classical, rock or pop, Larry Hess has played it all. He has performed with such artists as Rita Moreno, the Fifth Dimension, Arthur Fiedler, the Crickets, Glen Campbell, the Moody Blues, Doc Severinsen, Tony Bennett, Michael Martin Murphy, Itzhak Perlman, Roger Williams, and more. Oh, and Bob Hope!

Mr. Hess is in demand as a speaker on popular music history, the soundtrack of your life! His audiences have been enthusiastic, saying, “this program was fantastic — really enjoyed it,” “Wanted to let you know how much all of us enjoyed yesterday’s program. I think it is the best one yet!” and “I prefer to hold back standing ovations only for excellent work. Today I gave you a standing ovation for the wonderful program. Love the talk, sad to see it end.”

Click here to visit Larry's website >>


1. Pop Music of World War II — Music for a World at War
In just one day, Pearl Harbor changed everything in America, including popular music Now, musical tastes would include stirring, uplifting songs of confidence (Remember Pearl Harbor), and songs of longing for relationships separated by great distances (I’ll Be Home for Christmas.) Experience the big bands, the vocalists, and the unique songs associated with these years; and the stories behind the music.

2. Pop Music of the 1950’s — the Birth of Rock & Roll
The “Baby Boomer” children born of returning GI’s came of age in the mid-fifties. They were interested in a new sort of music different than their parents! Artists like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly were there to deliver this new music. Experience the decade from Mona Lisa to Mack the Knife, from Blue Suede Shoes to Peggy Sue.

3. Pop Music of the 1960’s — The Times, They Are A’ Changin’
The 1960s were a time of civil and global unrest… the Cold War, Civil Rights, and Viet Nam all filled the headlines with news of changing times. The music popular during this decade reflected, perhaps even influenced, the headlines of the day. From How Much is That Doggie in the Window, all the way to Magic Carpet Ride,…America, and America’s pop music, changes! And let’s not forget the British Invasion.

4. Pop Music of the 1970’s — A Diversity of Sounds
Has there ever been a more diverse pop music decade than the 1970s? Hard rock and soft rock. Country rock and Arena rock. New Wave and Soul Music, Southern and Funk. Psychedelic and Soft Rock. And let’s not forget… Disco! Put on your “boogie shoes” and “hustle” on down for a musical trip through the 1970s.

5. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year — The Stories Behind the Christmas Songs We All Love to Sing
Christmas music may be the first music you recall hearing and learning. But, how did these songs originate? Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer, Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bells… you know the songs… come hear the stories behind the songs!

6. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Part 2 — MORE Stories Behind the Christmas Songs We All Love to Sing
Because one presentation was not enough! Come hear about Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Winter Wonderland, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting...). Come get in the holiday mood and learn some fascinating trivia behind the songs!

7. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Part 3 — The Stories Behind the SILLY Christmas Songs We All Love to Sing
Everyone asks about Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Well not everyone. But a few have. That, plus the Chipmunk Christmas song and many others we can't seem to avoid this time of year. You know you're curious!

8. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Widely regarded as one of rock's greatest albums, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is found on many of our "desert island" albums lists. Let's look at the making of the album and how The Beatles conceived of and created such a landmark album. Perhaps more interesting... what did The Beatles themselves think of their creation?

9. The Wrecking Crew -- the Studio Musicians who REALLY played on Your Favorite 60's and 70's Songs
You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling, This Diamond Ring, California Dreamin', I Got You Babe, Good Vibrations, Strangers in the Night, Up, Up and Away... just a few of the classic hits from the 1960s and 1970s that came out of the recording studios of Los Angeles. But did you know the same handful of (largely unknown) studio musicians played on ALL of these hits, and many, many more? Learn about the musicians who really played on your favorite albums!

10. The Musicals That Changed Broadway Forever
Do you love Broadway Musicals? Do you have favorites from all the performances you have enjoyed or cast recordings you have collected? Broadway's history is rich with stories of innovation, new directions, and trailblazers. We will explore some musicals that literally changed the direction of all the musicals that followed!

11. Three Chapters of the Beatles: Part 1 — The Early Years
One of the most influential and successful musical groups of the 20th century were The Beatles. Part 1 will cover their early years as the band formed, members joined or left, and the band “paid their dues” in preparation for success. You just might learn a few new stories!

12. Three Chapters of the Beatles: Part 2 — Beatlemania!
This talk covers Beatlemania, the period many of us discovered The Beatles and felt in love with their music. Their success was felt worldwide, and the success in America alone changed the pop music of the 1960s and introduced the British Invasion. Come and relive the thrill we all felt as Beatlemania swept the world!

13. Three Chapters of the Beatles: Part 3 — The Studio Years
With touring behind them, The Beatles had unprecedented time and resources in the recording studio to explore new musical and artistic expression for their music. Ultimately the group grew apart and disbanded in a “divorce.” We will discuss why and clarify those reasons and "myths."


1. Pop Music in the Hawaiian Islands
From early island musical influences to Don Ho (Tiny Bubbles) to slack-key guitar, the Hawaiian Islands have been a melting pot of musical influences reflecting its rich, diverse history. You will be in the "Aloha" mood after enjoying this musical treat!

2. The Drums of Tahiti
In the South Pacific, the drumming styles of Tahiti and French Polynesia have accompanied dances native to this exciting music. Native… and yet a marriage of many cultures. We will examine this drumming and the related dancing traditions and study the instruments themselves, and their rich history.

3. The History of Māori Music in New Zealand
You can imagine that Captain Cook’s ears were confused and challenged the first time he heard the traditional Māori music of the native people of New Zealand. What he described as “discordant” was simply a singing tradition unfamiliar to him. We will examine the Māori music forms such as Karanga, Mōteatea, and Waiata, and also study the traditional Māori musical instruments collectively known as Taonga pūoro.

3. The Samba Schools behind the Brazilian Carnival
Carnival! The annual Carnival of Brazil is the largest in the world, according to Guinness World Records. For many of us, when we think of Brazil images and sounds of Carnival parades fill our imagination. And the Samba Schools, like those in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, are the secret ingredient to this cultural and historical recipe. Come learn about how the samba schools are organized and how they prepare for the annual parade competition. We’ll watch some video examples as well!

4. “Bond. James Bond” — the Jamaican music of the film Dr. No
Stories about the making of the first James Bond film? Check. A brief history of Jamaican pop music history? Double-check. Pictures of Sean Connery in a tux? You betcha! Pictures of Ursula Andress in her white bikini? Of course! No matter your interest in any of these topics, this is the presentation for you! Monty Norman was hired to write the music for the film, but John Barry (whose music is forever married to the James Bond film catalog) was also involved. Lawsuits ensued! Drama... intrigue... and fun! Come hear how the native music of Jamaica and Jamaican musicians contributed to this classic spy film!

5. The Music of Costa Rica — a Blending of Cultures
The music of Costa Rica derives from a pinch of its neighbors, and a dash of native Costa Rica, all of which derives from the multi-cultural influences of the history of the Caribbean region. African influences evolved into Afro-Caribbean music like the rumba, calypso, and reggae. Costa Rican marimba music will be explored, and the historical ocarina will evolve over time to more international instruments like the guitar and accordion. Come experience this beautiful recipe of cultural music!

6. Buddy Holly’s Lubbock — then and now — and the United Kingdom
Larry Hess is a native of Lubbock, Texas, and a musician. So was Lubbock’s most famous native son, Buddy Holly. Buddy’s too-short career was marked by great creative output and exerted an influence far greater than the brief time was releasing records. Buddy’s music made it to the shores of the United Kingdom where it found an enthusiastic following, one that still exists today. Many UK citizens make “pilgrimages” to Lubbock to see the hometown of Buddy and visit the sites horning his life. Larry brings these very sites and stories to this talk, a “virtual visit” to Buddy’s hometown then and now, and a special gift to the country that has adopted him with their love and respect.
I am an experienced speaker having presented to many audiences throughout Texas, I began seeking engagements as a cruise ship enrichment speaker in 2020. I was booked to speak on the Celebrity Millennium in May 2020 (Tokyo to Vancouver) but the cruise was cancelled due to the coronavirus global breakout. I was then booked to speak aboard the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas in early May 2020 (Honolulu to Vancouver) and Celebrity Summit in later May 2020 (roundtrip Cape Liberty, NJ, originally to New England and Canada) and finally aboard the Celebrity Summit in November 2020, a Panama Canal itinerary. All itineraries were cancelled but I was pleased my applications had been favorably received several times in the year. I look forward to my first opportunity to present my talks before a cruise ship audience!