New Orleans R&B icon Professor Longhair
Pianist ~ Singer
birth name: Henry Roeland Byrd

Professor Longhair

December 19, 1918, Bogalusa, LA ~ January 30, 1980, New Orleans, LA

New Orleans is said to be a city where having a party has been elevated from a casual pastime to a way of life. Nobody understood this better than Professor Longhair, one of the pioneers of New Orleans rhythm & blues. His influence can be heard in Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and Dr. John, among many others. Known for his unique mix of blues, jazz, calypso, ragtime, and zydeco, ‘Fess’ (as he was known) defined and captured the essence of New Orleans in his music. ~ Alligator Records: Professor Longhair ~ retrieved December 18, 2013 © Alligator Records

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December 19, 1970 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (4) The 5th Dimension, One Less Bell To Answer ~ #2 (6) George Harrison, My Sweet Lord/Isn't It A Pity ~ #1 (1) Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Tears Of A Clown


Justly worshipped a decade and a half after his death as a founding father of New Orleans R&B, Roy ‘Professor Longhair’ Byrd was nevertheless so down-and-out at one point in his long career that he was reduced to sweeping the floors in a record shop that once could have moved his platters by the boxful. ~ Allmusic: Professor Longhair ~ retrieved December 18, 2013 © Allmusic

Professor Longhair ~ Inducted in the 1992 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame ~ He has been hailed as “the Picasso of keyboard funk” and “the Bach of rock.” Professor Longhair also served to influence profoundly a generation of New Orleans pianists that came up behind him, many of whom made their mark in the interlocking worlds of rhythm & blues and rock and roll. Some of his more prominent musical heirs include Mac Rebennack (a.k.a. Dr. John), Fats Domino, Huey Piano Smith, James Booker and Allen Toussaint. ~ 1992 © Rock & Rock Hall Of Fame

In 1995 two songs by Professor Longhair made it to the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock & Roll ~ Mardi Gras In New Orleans ~ Tipitina

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