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Professor Longhair
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    (December 19, 1918-January 30, 1980)
    Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana
    Recorded albums ‘New Orleans Piano’ (1953), ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Gumbo’ (1974) and ‘Crawfish Fiesta’ (1980)
    Oddly enough, he was also known as Roy ‘Bald Head’ Byrd.
    He used a fake mustache so he could perform in clubs when underaged.
    His stint as a boxer ended after one fight when his teeth were knocked out.
    He was a card shark.
    He frequently changed his band’s name because of contract problems.
    He hit rock bottom in the 60s and had to support himself as a janitor.
    Racism drove his family out of his birthplace when he was two.
    As a teenager he supported himself tap-dancing on the streets of New Orleans.
    He taught himself to play the piano using an abandoned instrument.
    His innovative piano playing (a mixture of rumba, mambo and Calypso) earned him nicknames such as ‘The Picasso of Keyboard Funk.’
    His son was shot to death in the 60s.
    His career was revived when he performed at the 1971 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
    His version of ‘Mardi Gras in New Orleans’ is the most played song during Mardi Gras.

Credit: Georgina

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