Publicists wanted in blues and jazz Contact us to apply


Roy Brown biography



Roy James Brown (September 10, 1925 — May 25, 1981 Career Brown was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Brown was a big fan of blues singer Wynonie Harris. When Harris made an appearance in town, Brown tried but failed to interest Harris in listening to "Good Rocking Tonight." Dejected, Brown went down the street to where another blues singer named Cecil Gant was appearing. Brown introduced his song, and Gant had Brown to sing it over the phone to the president of De Luxe Records Jules Braun at 4am, who signed him immediately. Brown recorded the song in a jump blues style with a swing beat. It was released in 1948 and reached #13 on the Billboard R&B charts. Ironically, Harris quickly covered it and hit the top of Billboard's R&B chart later in 1948. Brown continued to make his mark on the R&B charts, scoring 15 hits from mid-1948 to late 1951 with DeLuxe, ranging from the emotionally wracked crying blues of "Hard Luck Blues" (his biggest seller of all in 1950) to the party-time rockers "Love Don't Love Nobody", "Rockin' at Midnight," "Boogie at Midnight," "Miss Fanny Brown," and "Cadillac Baby." Strangely, his sales slumped badly from 1952 on, even though his frantic "Hurry Hurry Baby," "Ain't No Rockin' No More," "Black Diamond," and "Gal From Kokomo" for Cincinnati's King Records rate among his hottest house rockers. Brown was arguably the undisputed king of R&B from 1948 to 1951. The decline of his fortunes coincided with his successfully winning a lawsuit against King Records for unpaid royalties in 1952, one of the few African American musicians to do so in the 1950s. This has led some, such as author Nick Tosches (in his book Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll, which contains a chapter on Brown) to believe that Brown may have been blacklisted. Brown's misfortunes also included prison time for tax evasion. When his popularity ebbed in the rock and roll era, he tried teen-slanted songs like "School Bell Rock", but had little success and more or less retired. Brown did not experience commercial success during the mid-1950s rise of rock and roll, although he had a brief comeback through Imperial Records in 1957. Work with New Orleans producer Dave Bartholomew, who was experiencing success at the time with Fats Domino, Brown returned to the charts with the original version of "Let the Four Winds Blow" (co-written by Domino), which would become a hit later for Domino. He also released a few other notable rockers, such as "Diddy-Y-Diddy-O," "Saturday Night," and "Ain't Gonna Do It". He returned to King Records where his popularity ground down to a low by 1959, but he sporadically managed to find work and do some recording through the 1960s, making appearances where ever he was wanted. In 1970, Brown closed The Johnny Otis Show at the Monterey Jazz Festival. As a result of the crowd's positive reaction, he recorded "Love for Sale", which became a hit for Mercury Records. In the late 1970s a compilation album of his old work brought about a minor revival of interest. In 1978 he had a successful tour in Scandinavia following the release of Laughing But Crying and before the release of Good Rocking Tonight. Shortly before his death he performed at the Whisky A Go-Go in West Hollywood, California and headlined the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival during the spring of 1981. Brown died of a heart attack, at Pacoima Lutheran Memorial Hospital, The Reverend Johnny Otis conducted the funeral. He was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame the same year. In 2008, two of his songs, "Butcher Pete Pt. 1" and "Mighty, Mighty Man" were included in the video game Fallout 3. Discography This article is incomplete and may require expansion or cleanup. Please help to improve the article, or discuss the issue on the talk page. (February 2009) Albums Laughing But Crying — late 1970s Good Rocking Tonight — 1978 We Came to Party — 1978 CompilationsKing 156 "Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party" 1956 SinglesA-Side Year Chart Positions Billboard Pop Chart Billboard R&B Chart "Good Rocking Tonight" 1948 13 "Long about Midnight" 1948 1 "Rockin' at Midnight" 1948 2 "Hard Luck Blues" 1950 1 "Let the Four Winds Blow" 1957 29 5 "Party Doll" 1957 89 13 Singles by record number DeLuxe 1093 Good Rockin' Tonight/Lolly Pop Mama 1947 DeLuxe 1098 Special Lesson No. 1/Woman's A Wonderful Thing DeLuxe 1107 Roy Brown Boogie/Please Don't Go DeLuxe 1128 Mighty, Mighty Man/Miss Fanny Brown DeLuxe 1154 Long About Midnight/Whose Hat Is That DeLuxe 1166 All My Love Belongs To You/Ebony Rhapsody (with Ethel Morris) DeLuxe 3093 Good Rockin' Tonight/Lolly Pop Mama 1950 DeLuxe 3098 Special Lesson No. 1/Woman's A Wonderful Thing 1950 DeLuxe 3107 Roy Brown's Boogie/Please Don't Go 1950 DeLuxe 3128 Mighty Mighty Man/Miss Fanny Brown 1950 DeLuxe 3154 'Long About Midnight/Whose Hat Is That 1950 DeLuxe 3166 All My Love Belongs To You/Ebony Rhapsody 1950 (with Ethel Morris) DeLuxe 3189 Roy Brown Boogie/Miss Fanny Brown Returns 1950 DeLuxe 3198 Rainy Weather Blues/'Fore Day In The Morning 1950 DeLuxe 3212 Rockin' At Midnight/Judgement Day Blues 1950 King 4602 Travelin' Man/Hurry Hurry Baby 1953 King 4609 Grandpa Stole My Baby/Money Can't Buy Love 1953 King 4627 Gamblin' Man/Mr. Hound Dogs In Town 1953 King 4637 Old Age Boogie/Part 1 Old Age Boogie - Part 2 1953 King 4654 Crazy Crazy Women/Laughing But Crying 1953 King 4669 Caldonia's Wedding Day/A Fool In Love 1953 King 4684 Letter From Home/Midnight Lover Man 1953 King 4689 Everything's All Right/Lonesome Lover 1954 King 4704 Trouble At Midnight/Bootlegging Baby 1954 King 4715 Up Jumped The Devil/This Is My Last Goodbye 1954 King 4722 No Love At All/Don't Let It Rain 1954 King 4731 Ain't It A Shame/Gal From Kokomo 1954 King 4743 Worried Life Blues/Black Diamond 1954 King 4761 Fannie Brown Got Married/Queen Of Diamonds 1955 King 4816 Shake 'Em Up Baby/Letter To Baby 1955 King 4834 My Little Angel Child/She's Gone Too Long 1955 King 5178 La-Dee-Dah-Dee/Melinda 1959 King 5207 I Never Had It So Good/Rinky Dinky Doo 1959 King 5218 Hard Luck Blues/Good Looking And Forty 1959 King 5247 School Bell Rock/Ain't No Rocking No More 1959 King 5333 Ain't Got No Blues Today/Adorable One 1960 King 5521 Mighty Mighty Man/Good Man Blues 1961 Imperial 5422 Everybody/Saturday Night 1957 Imperial 5427 Party Doll/I'm Sticking With You 1957 Imperial 5439 Let The Four Winds Blow/Diddy-Y-Diddy-O 1957 Imperial 5455 I'm Convicted Of Love/I'm Ready To Play 1957 Imperial 5469 Tick Of The Clock/Slow Down Little Eva 1957 Imperial 5489 Ain't Gonna Do It/Sail On Little Girl 1958 Imperial 5510 Hip Shakin' Baby/Be My Love Tonight 1958 Imperial 5969 Let The Four Winds Blow/Diddy-Yi-Diddy-Yo 1963