Wynonie Harris

Born in Nebraska in 1913, Wynonie Harris was always an extrovert performer, working in Omaha clubs as a dancer and MC from his late teens. By the early 1940s he was working in Harlem where he began blues singing. He was spotted by Lucky Millinder, with whose band he cut the big hit ‘Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well’ in 1945 on Decca Records. After recording for several independent labels he signed to King in 1947 and had his signature success the following year with ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’. Remaining with King until 1954, he had many strong R&B releases, often with different musicians to retain freshness, although he eventually lost popularity when radio stations ignored his often risqué material. Always influential, he recorded in a more rock’n’roll style for Atco in 1956, before going to Roulette where he re-cut some earlier material. He died of cancer in 1969.

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