Journey of The McFadden Brothers...
Who would have guessed that a flourishing career would be
the result of "having fun with Daddy?" That's what
has happened in the case of The McFadden Brothers.
In their own words they recall; "as far as I can remember,
we were tap dancing," "Dad would practice with us - he
used to make it so much fun. This was like playtime
They have been entertaining since they were in elementary
school, learning their licks from their father, Kansas
City hoofer and all around entertainer Smilin' Jimmy
McFadden. Their dad, danced with the likes of "The
Count Basie Orchestra," "Blanche Calloway's Harlem
Review", "Jay McShann," and many more of the top name
entertainers and orchestra's of the 30's and 40's.
Along with leading a top notch tap dancing act of his own,
"The 3 Chocolate Drops." The 3 Chocolate Drops
traveled around the eastern and central United States.
Working in the same circuit as "The Berry Brothers," "The
Rhythm Kings" and another group by the name of "The Will
McFadden began teaching his sons tap dancing at the ages
of 3 and 4. In addition, he made sure both Lonnie
and Ronald would get a knowledge of music by making sure
they took piano lessons as he taught them lots of comedy
bits, tap routines and songs to sing. At ages 6 and
7 Lonnie and Ronald gave their first recital, an hour long
show that consisted of the two McFadden Brothers singing,
tap dancing, doing comedy bits and playing piano and
After The McFadden Brothers entered junior high school,
they completely quit tap dancing and taking piano lessons,
largely due to peer pressure as Lonnie recalls, "They
weren't too fond of tap dancers at the school we went to."
So they decided to concentrate more on playing the trumpet
(Lonnie) and the alto saxophone (Ronald).
Instruments that were more accepted by their peers.
As a teenager, Lonnie traveled with one of the regional
R&B and Top 40 bands playing trumpet and singing before
starting his own band, "Lonnie and The Band" that included
Ronald on the alto Sax. It was during this time that
Lonnie became a songwriter and arranger and Ronald
developed his own style as a choreographer. After
Lonnie and The Band had run it's course, The McFadden
Brothers were born.
In order to complement their musical and dancing skills,
the brothers began developing a stage persona - a more
complete presentation that was inspired by St. Louis
newsman and playwright, John Auble. Auble, who
already knew of Jimmy McFadden, learned of the young
brothers and journeyed to Kansas City in the early '80's
to see Lonnie and Ronnie perform. Several months
later, Auble wrote "Steps: The Pops McFadden story."
Lonnie and Ronnie starred in the play, which enjoyed a
long run in St. Louis in 1985.
"Steps" was a throwback to the days of vaudeville, and the
characters the McFaddens portrayed in that play are still
largely evident in their shows today.
By the 1980's the McFadden Brothers paralleled their
fathers career by performing with "The Count Basie
Orchestra". They played major jazz festivals in
Europe and Japan, appearing on the same bill with such
jazz greats as Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis.
During this time, they also made their first national
television appearance on "Incredible Sunday's" as a result
of a recommendation from Ben Vareen.
The McFadden Brothers have since appeared with some of the
biggest names in show business, like Sammy Davis Jr., Tony
Orlando and Wayne Newton. Their travels have taken
them to all parts of the world as well as some of the
finest venues in the world, from nightclubs to coliseums.
One of the most rewarding experiences the McFadden
Brothers have had was performing for our troops in Iraq on
a USO Tour hosted by Wayne Newton in 2004.
After years of experience as live performers, The McFadden
Brothers are now proud to announce their first CD entitled
"Chapter 1". This is a compilation of some of the
songs that audiences around the world have requested and
loved through the years. "Chapter 1" marks the
beginning of a new era in The McFadden Brother's career.