Personalities | W.C. Handy | Roots of Rock

(Archivist, bandleader, 1873–1958)

W.C. Handy, who led string quartets, brass bands and minstrel-show groups, was a major force in exposing the blues of southern blacks to a mainstream audience. In Memphis in the 1910s Handy, who would become known as the Father of the Blues, emerged with recordings of his compositions ‘Yellow Dog Blues’, ‘The Memphis Blues’ and ‘The St Louis Blues’, one of the most widely recorded songs in history. In 1917, Handy composed ‘Beale Street Blues’.

In 1918, Handy moved to New York, and established his publishing company on Broadway. Eventually he copyrighted over 150 songs of secular and religious material, while continuing to record. In 1926, he wrote Blues: An Anthology, for which he compiled sheet music for the most famous blues songs and attempted to explain their origins. He would compile other anthologies and write his autobiography before losing his eyesight by 1943. He died in 1958.

Styles & Forms | Roots of Rock
Personalities | John Lee Hooker | Roots of Rock

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


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.