Today is the birthday of the great blues artist Elmore James (1918-1963). A highly influential figure, he is one of the generation that bridged the gap between the country blues of Robert Johnson and Tampa Red (both of whom he emulated) and the electrified city blues that sold hit records in the early 50s. His aggressive, distorted slide work was much admired by contemporaries like Muddy Waters, and he was even more revered by the sixties generation, including Brian Jones (who originally used the handle “Elmo’ Lewis”), Jim Hendrix (who originally billed himself as “Jimmy James”) and George Harrison, who references him in his song “For You Blue”).
James had several R & B hits in his day, the most famous of which remains his 1951 breakthrough “Dust My Broom” (a song in my musical Beach Blanket Bluebeard pays tribute to its famous riff).
To find out more about show biz, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc