Doc Tomato performs Louis Jordan hit "Let the Good Times Roll" at the Louis Jordan Tribute, 1998 Photo: Jeff Ward
Tribute to Louis Jordan
Few people have been more influential in creating
the indigenous, uniquely-American musical styles as
Brinkley-Arkansas born Louis Jordan. Jordan (1908-1975) is
considered the father of rhythm & blues, rock 'n roll, and even
rap by those who should know. Ray Charles, B.B. King, Chuck Berry
and James Brown, among many others, acknowledge Jordan's profound
influence, even if the general public does not recognize it.
Between 1942 and 1951, Jordan logged 55 top-ten chart
hits. He starred in his own short music films a half-century before
what we now call "music videos" were introduced. He had a handful
of Calypso hits before Harry Belafonte became known for his, and
was rapping over a rhythmic beat decades before the first
contemporary rappers were born.
Though never overtly political, Jordan took quiet
stands against segregation, and, when he appeared on WBAY-TV, was
the first Negro to appear as a guest star on any established
program in Florida. In the early 1950s, he helped to break the
color lines in the venues of Reno and Las Vegas.
Every year since 1997, the AR Artists' Consortium
holds a Louis Jordan Tribute in Little Rock to honor the legacy and
spirit of Jordan through a concert and conference featuring
performance, film, lecture, and the visual arts. This has given the
public the ability to see the timelessness of Jordan's music.
Originally submitted by: Vic Snyder, Representative (2nd District).
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