Doc Severinsen (born July 7, 1927 in Arlington, Oregon) is an American pop and jazz trumpeter, best known for leading the Tonight Show Band in the Johnny Carson era and later performing the song Georgia On My Mind for the television show Designing Women.
In the 1940s and 1950s Severinsen was a member of the Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnet, and Benny Goodman bands. Beginning in 1949, he worked for the National Broadcasting Company, eventually becoming leader of the Tonight Show Band in 1967.
On nights when Ed McMahon was absent, Severinsen would serve as fill-in announcer and sidekick. Although Severinsen was adept at comic interplay, he took his role as band leader on The Tonight Show seriously, and campaigned for the band to get featured slots in the show (Carson, being a jazz fan, would sometimes grant one). Severinsen resented the notion that he might be an inferior musician, and would challenge other trumpeters to play against him off the same charts. Severinsen remained as Carson's band leader until 1992, when he left at the same time that Carson retired.
In the 1960s, Severinsen also recorded with the Clarke/Boland Big Band and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis band. Severinsen was also the second trumpeter whose recording of the fanfare "Abblasen", composed by Gottfried Reiche, has been used as the theme for the CBS News program Sunday Morning.
Although he continues to record with jazz artists, his own recordings as a leader have consisted mainly of pop music. He is the principal pops conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Phoenix Symphony, and since 2001 Distinguished Visiting Professor of Music and Katherine K. Herberger Heritage Chair for Visiting Artists at Arizona State University School of Music.