Sam Butera & The Witnesses where a swing and jazz band who played mostly as the back up band for Louis Prima during their heyday years in Las Vegas.
Butera was born and raised in New Orleans, where his father, Joe, ran a butcher shop and played guitar in his spare time. He heard the saxophone for the first time at a wedding when he was seven years old, and, with his father's encouragement, he began to play.
Prima transitioned from big band to Vegas somewhat hastily, having signed a contract with the Sahara without having first assembled a back-up band. From his Vegas hotel room, Prima phoned Butera in New Orleans and had him assemble a band posthaste. Butera and the band drove from New Orleans to Las Vegas in such a hurry that they had not taken time to give their act a name.
On opening night in 1956, Prima asked Butera before a live audience what the name of his band was. Butera responded extemporaneously, "The Witnesses," and the name stuck. Butera remained the bandleader of The Witnesses for the better part of the next twenty years.