Wynonie Harris / Aug 24, 1915 - June 14, 1969

One of the fathers of rock & roll and a top blues shouter and dancer in his day, here is the guy Elvis Presley stole his stage moves from. From Omaha, Wynonie Harris got big locally in the '30s and took his show on the road: Kansas City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Harlem, Nashville and Texas were some key touch-down points.

In '44 he joined Lucky Millinder's band and "Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well" was a #1 hit in '45. After that success he signed as an artist with Philo and hired Johnny Otis to put his band together, which included Howard McGhee & Teddy Edwards. In '46 he cut records with Herman "Sonny" Blount (later known as Sun Ra--for those keeping score in their record rooms: "Dig This Boogie", "Lightnin Struck The Poorhouse", "My Baby's Barrelhouse" and "Drinkin By Myself" are the runes with Ra).

"Good Rockin' Tonight" was a huge hit in '48 and he had extensive chart action in the late '40s/early '50s, around the time Elvis caught him live. He also cut several dirty songs around this time. He also recorded for King, Decca, Roulette, Atco, Chess, Aladdin, Apollo, Bullet and others.

Tagged: blues, Celebrate Icons, jazz, rock, Sun Ra, Wynonie Harris

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