W. C. Handy

WC Handy ( born November 16, 1873 in Florence, Alabama, † March 28, 1958 in New York bourgeois William Christopher Handy ) was an American blues composer, trumpeter and bandleader. Often it is referred to as the "Father of the Blues".


As the son of freed slaves found WC Handy his musical roots in church music and the sounds of the great outdoors, where he grew up. He learned various crafts, but he soon bought your own first guitar. His parents did not agree - for she was guitar music a sign of sin - and reported him to the organ lessons, which their Christian belief corresponded more closely. However, the young William Christopher got his own place and the organ he learned to play the trumpet.

His musical interests were diverse. He sang in a minstrel show and worked as a band leader, choral director, cornetist and trumpeter. At age 23, he led the band Mahara 's Colored Minstrels. In 1893 he played at the World Fair in Chicago, 1902, he hoofed it through Mississippi, where he came in contact with the original music of the simple black.

On July 19, 1896 married Elizabeth Price mobile phone. Shortly thereafter, he began his work with Mahara 's Minstrels, with whom he traveled for three years for $ 6 weekly wages by half of America and Cuba. Then the young couple in Huntsville, Alabama settled near Florence, where the first of six children, was born on 29 June 1900. The second child was the singer Katherine Handy ( 1902-1982 ).

From 1900 to 1902 cell phone worked as a music teacher at a college for blacks before he went back with Mahara 's Minstrels on tour. From 1903, he headed for six years, a black band, The Knights of Pythias, in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

1909 the band moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and established himself at the Beale Street; by this road he called the Beale Street Blues, another milestone in the development of the blues. During this time developed mobile phone from his observations of black music and the reaction of the white on the style that should be popular later than blues. 1909 was the Memphis Blues, which was released in 1912 and is considered the first ever published piece Blue. The piece made ​​phone known to a wider audience. Also, it is said to have the New York couple Vernon and Irene Castle inspired the development of the foxtrot. Handy sold the rights to the Memphis Blues for $ 100.

1917 moved to New York cell phone, where he hoped to find better working conditions. At the same time, jazz music became popular, and many of the compositions phones have become jazz standards. In the 1920s mobile phone started his own record company phone Record Company in New York.

On January 14, 1925 Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong made ​​with mobile phones St. Louis Blues one of the best blues recordings from the 1920s. 1926 Handy put a blues anthology, Blues: An Anthology: Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs, probably the first attempt, the blues fully documented and understood as part of American culture. In June 1929 a movie was filmed, in the Bessie Smith St. Louis Blues sang and was shown to 1932 as a supporting film in cinemas all over the States. The triumph of the blues was unstoppable.

1941 published his autobiography mobile Father of the Blues: An Autobiography. 1944 appeared Unsung Americans Sing about black American musicians. Overall mobile phone wrote five books ( see below).

Mobile 1943, blinded by an accident. After the death of his first wife he married in 1954 at the age of 80, his secretary Irma Louise Logan, who, as he often stressed, had become his eyes.

1955 mobile phone suffered a stroke and had to use a wheelchair from then on. For his 84th birthday than 800 guests came to the Waldorf -Astoria Hotel.

On March 28, 1958 W. C. Handy died. More than 25,000 people attended his funeral in Harlem. Over 150,000 people gathered in the surrounding streets. WC Handy is buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

Compositions by W. C. Handy (selection)

  • The Memphis Blues (written 1909, published 1912)
  • St. Louis Blues ( 1912)
  • Yellow Dog Blues ( 1912)
  • Loveless Love
  • Aunt Hagar 's Blues
  • Beale Street Blues (1916 )
  • Long Gone John (From Bowling Green )
  • Atlanta Blues
  • Oops

Books by W. C. Handy

  • Blues: An Anthology: Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs (1926 )
  • Book of Negro Spirituals
  • Father of the Blues: An Autobiography, New York, Macmillan 1941, Collier 1970
  • Unsung Americans Sung (1944 )
  • Negro Authors and Composers of the United States