Personalities | Professor Longhair | Roots of Rock

(Piano, 1918–80)

A New Orleans native, Roy Byrd brought an irresistible Caribbean feel to his piano-playing. The shaggy-haired Byrd got the nickname Professor Longhair from a club owner in 1948. Longhair first recorded his signature ‘Mardi Gras In New Orleans’ in 1949, the national R&B hit ‘Bald Head’ in 1950, and ‘Tipitina’ in 1953. Longhair endured tough times in the 1960s but enjoyed a resurgence in the 1970s. His work influenced Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and many others.

Styles & Forms | Roots of Rock
Personalities | Johnnie Ray | Roots of Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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