William Wirges was a pianist, bandleader, and composer who was a member of the legendary Cliquot Club Eskimos and a mainstay in the early days of radio. Born in Buffalo, Wirges served in World War I. After his return to the states, Wirges went on the road, working as piano accompanist on the so-called "Chautauqua circuit" backing up singers and vaudeville acts. Ultimately he would graduate to accompanying famous performers such as Belle Baker and Al Jolson.
Around 1924, Wirges joined the orchestra led by banjoist Harry Reser, which became the Cliquot Club Eskimos on early radio; he also appeared as "Dusty" of the Gold Dust Twins. In 1925, Wirges made his first three records for Pathé as a bandleader, although the band is basically identical to the Cliquot Club Eskimos and includes Reser. Wirges also led 16 more sides for Brunswick between 1928 and 1930. The earliest of these have a similar personnel to the Cliquot Club Eskimos, but without Reser, and one coupling is issued by the Brunswick Hour Orchestra, suggesting that Wirges was leading this band on a radio program called The Brunswick Hour.
The depression sank the happy-go-lucky music that had been William Wirges' bread and butter, but he kept busy on radio as a bandleader and formed a publishing company, William Wirges Music, Inc.. Wirges was a prolific composer, writing popular songs, sacred material, and commercial jingles. One of the jingles became Wirges' best-known number, the song "Chiquita Banana" written with lyricists Garth Montgomery and Len Mackenzie. Wirges also composed at least one extended, semi-classical choral work, "Mississippi Lament." One of the last radio shows on which Wirges worked was the popular detective drama Gangbusters. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis, Rovi