Professor Longhair

Dubbed Professor Longhair due to his luxuriant locks as a young piano player in New Orleans in the 1940s, Henry Roeland 'Roy' Byrd made records in the '50s but abandoned music in the following decade only to be hailed as a revelation in a '70s comeback. He is now revered as a key figure in Deep South blues and the development of rock & roll. His definitive album, 'House Party New Orleans Style' won him a posthumous Grammy Award for best traditional blues recording in 1987 and he has been inducted into both the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Starting out in New Orleans, he played for a time with a band called the Shuffling Hungarians and in 1950 he had a hit single titled 'Bald Head' as Roy Byrd & His Blues Jumpers. He was influenced early on by Latin music and his own style of boogie woogie became known locally as rumba-boogie. After a quiet decade in the '60s, Professor Longhair re-emerged at the 1971 Jazz & Heritage Festival and he released several albums before he died. Songs he wrote such as 'In the Night' and 'Ball the Wall' continue to be played by blues musicians in the Big Easy and Hugh Laurie recorded one of his most popular, 'Tipitina', on his album 'Let Them Talk'. A club in New Orleans, where he performed during his final years, is called Tipitina.

Related Artists

Stations Featuring Professor Longhair

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.