Cab Calloway

Charismatic American jazz bandleader and scat singer Cab Calloway was best known for his flamboyant moves on stage and his rendition of 'Minnie the Moocher', also known as the 'Hi-De-Hi-De-Ho' song. His older sister Blanche was also a singer, and he began performing at an early age, becoming well-known in his early 20s both for the hit 'Minnie the Moocher' and his regular performances at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City. He showed great musicianship throughout his career, leading bands such as The Alabamiams and The Missourians, the latter becoming Cab Calloway and His Orchestra. Prominent members of the band included the trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and 'Doc' Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and 'Chu' Berry, guitarist Danny Barker and bass player Milt Hinton. Following the success of 'Minnie the Moocher', Calloway became known as the Hi-De-Ho Man, and was invited to perform voiceovers for several cartoons, in which the movements of the characters were also based on his on-stage movements. His songs 'The Old Man of the Mountains', 'St. James Infirmary Blues' and the previously mentioned 'Minnie the Moocher' were all used in cartoons and Calloway toured through different locations in America to perform concerts coinciding with the release of the films which increased publicity surrounding his music. Further songs performed by Calloway with the 'Hi-De-Ho' theme included 'Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day', 'Keep That Hi-De-Hi in Your Soul' and 'Mister Paganini, Swing for Minnie'. He had chart success with, amongst others, 'Kicking the Gong Around' which reached number four, 'Angels With Dirty Faces' which reached number three, '(Hep Hep!) The Jumping Jive' which reached number two, and 'The Honeydripper' which reached number three. Calloway's career in film spread from 1932 in 'The Big Broadcast' to 1980 in 'The Blues Brothers'. In between these he made several other film appearances, including in 'The Singing Kid' (1936), 'Stormy Weather' (1943) and 'The Cincinnati Kid' (1965). His on-stage appearances included a role as Sportin' Life in 'Porgy and Bess' (1952), Horace Vandergelder in 'Hello Dolly' (1967) and Hines in 'The Pajama Game' (1973-4). His autobiography 'Of Minnie the Moocher and Me' was published in 1976. He continued performing throughout his life, with fans always happy to hear him sing 'Minnie the Moocher'. Sadly, he died following a stroke in 1994.

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Stations Featuring Cab Calloway

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