Lou Busch was a music prodigy of sorts and was playing piano and leading a ragtime band when he was only 12 years old. Four years later he abandoned school and became a full-time musician. In addition to playing piano, Lou began arranging as well.
After a break for military service in WW II, Lou got a job working for Capitol Records. Lou played on successful records for other artists and began to record his own singles as well.
Lou used the stage name Joe “Fingers” Carr to record pop singles using backup singers he named the Carr-Hops. Gary Cosby and his dad (Bing) released Sam’s Song in early 1950, and Joe’s version of the song came out four months later. Both records made it into the top ten that year.
In late 1955 Lou released a single using his own name that got to the top eighty on the charts, Zambezi. The record was listed as “Vocal Group with Orchestra” even though the only vocal in the record was a group singing the title a few times. The record was much more successful internationally.
As Joe and the Carr-Hops, he released several more singles in the following years, but his biggest hit in the US was recorded as a pure instrumental. In 1956 Portuguese Washerwoman got as high as #19. That was his last visit to the charts, although he continued to record and release music into the mid-sixties.
The most enduring song Joe worked on came about in 1950 when he and Milton DeLugg created the song Rollercoaster. While the song may not have been a big hit for Lou, it lives on as the song playing over the closing credits of What’s My Line from 1950 to 1957.