Talk:Lionel Hampton

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Where did he die?[edit]

"died because of cardiac arrest at the Mount Sinai Medical center": we have a Mount Sinai Medical Center here in Toronto, Ontario -- surely that's not the place where Hamp died?


Amazing what a little research will get you...


Early Rock and Roll Record[edit]

"Flying Home" [...] is considered one of the first rock and roll records.

Would anyone care to who thinks this? I know LH was an early influence to R&R, but Flying Home doesn't particularly seem like the 'first one'. -- User:SeanO

Is the Smithsonian Institution authoritative enough for you? They included "Flying Home" on their album, Straighten Up and Fly Right, a collection of a dozen singles that were ancestors to rock and roll.
I would say there are several things that make "Flying Home" fit:
  1. Audience reaction. People reacted as if it were something new, not just more big band music, but that saxophone solo brought them out of their seats.
  2. The sax solo itself, a true r&b style honker. People may have played that way before, but it is one of the first on record. It is described in What Was the First Rock and Roll Record? as one of two 1939 recordings as influential in establishing the sound, and also states that Jacquet's solo was "what many critics have called the first R&B sax solo". The book's cutoff date was 1942 and uses another Jacquet solo as the starting point for its list of 50, but "Flying Home" and "Rock Me" by Lucky Millinder are the only two songs mentioned in the book as preceding the list.
  3. Furthermore, the fact that the solo's form was crystallized, built in to the arrangement, and not just a sax break. After Jacquet recorded it, Arnett Cobb played it, and after Cobb, sometimes the whole sax section played it in unison. A jazz solo tends to be much more improvised than a rock and roll solo, and usually varies from playing to playing, whereas rock players find the solo that fits and play it every time. This isn't a firm rule, but it is a way that rock solos in general differ from jazz solos. Note that on both "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Rock Around the Clock" the guitar solos are played twice, note for note.
  4. Finally, in addition to the Smithsonian, many other historians of rock and roll also call out "Flying Home" as one of the first singles to establish a rock and roll feeling in music, including me, who wrote that sentence, and also the first rock and roll record and who saw Arnett Cobb blow the roof off Symphony Hall in Boston playing "Flying Home" with the Hampton band.
It's pretty ironic that Hampton claims to hate rock and roll, but the fact is he was one of its progenitors. Ortolan88

Would it be possible to say "'Flying Home' is an important ancestor to rock and roll" instead? I'm assuming that "Straighten Up and Fly Right" is also included, as are some of the jump blues of Louis Jordan (and possibly something from Cab Calloway). All of them are important to the development of Rock and Roll, but I wouldn't call them the "First Rock and Roll Record". I agree with everything that you have said, BTW, I just think the attribution is too strong.

Well, I wanted to link it to the first rock and roll record article. If you go there you will see that it is given as an important predecessor. I suppose I could mark it [[first rock and roll record|early ancestor of rock and roll]] but that seems a little bit much. Maybe I can reword it, "predecessor to the first rock and roll records" might do it. Seems a little clumsy. I think though when we look backwards, we can see it was a rock and roll record.
Actually, "Straighten Up and Fly Right" isn't in that article yet. Lots of work to be done on that one. The most important omission is "Rock and Roll" from the first Jazz at the Philharmonic sessions.
Plenty more to write about here. Someone just started jump blues, but there's also Western swing, hillbilly boogie, blues in country music, novelty songs, plenty, plenty more to cover.

Also, just as a point of clarification, air checks of radio broadcasts show that, at least during the 'commercial' swing era, solos were much more 'pat' (i.e.: they were played the same night after night) then we are used to in Jazz. Benny Goodman's On The Air album is a really good example of this: The air checks are usually faster, tighter, and longer than the studio recordings, but the solos are usually very similar. Of course some cats during the swing era, particularly Coleman Hawkins, were great improvisers and made it a point of 'never playing it the same twice', but they were very often the exception. -- SeanO

Yep. That's why I drew the distinction about rock solos. In both cases, the solo is being fitted to the arrangement (and the music is more commercial). Hampton's band was definitely a jazz band. Not all the big bands were jazz bands, and not all the jazz big bands were as interested in soloing. After all, lots of solos are just playing scales and runs, so a nice well worked out pat solo would be better.
Just FYI, I am one old fart who was actually around for a lot of this, prototypical white southern early adopter of rock and roll who has stayed with it all the way since. "My" first rock and roll record was "Drinking Wine Spodee Odee" when I was nine years old in 1949. Still rockin' after all these years. Ortolan88

Lionel HamptoM[edit]

It would appear that WP has propagated a myth of a musician of almost the same name, born exactly 5 years later. My Google search on

Lionel HamptoM

produced "522 hits" on the first page (and more tellingly for those inquiring that far, "176 of about 454" on the last).

Besides copies on other sites, made from WP of old versions of April 12, i eventually found in the history an old version of it with

  • 1913 - Lionel Hampton, musician (d. 2002)

and further archaeology would surely turn up a Hamptom entry in a still earlier version.

Whoever removed the Hamptom entry didn't bother to do a what-lks-here check and find that List of people by name: Ham included

  • Hamptom, Lionel, (born 1913), musician
  • Hampton, Fred, (fl. 1960s), American Black activist
  • Hampton, Lionel, (1908-2002), musician

where the error is far less obvious. I'm creating the redirect, and changing the LoPbN entry to lead directly to Lionel Hampton, keeping it as a warning flag that "references to Lionel Hamptom, whether born 1913 or otherwise should be understood as references to Lionel Hampton". I don't think many people would look at Talk: List of people by name: Ham, and IMO this talk page is the best place for extended documentation of the foulup. IMO the one remaining Hamptom reference (in the LoPbN piping, not as a lk to the rdr) in the main namespace suffices for that namespace, but i think this more definitive and more explicit record is also needed, since it is unclear that the external sites that picked up the error from us will ever be expunged.
(BTW, the first of my hits, CNN lacks the Hamptom string in either rendered or source version; cached version hints at something i had not suspected about Google searches, in saying in its heading (emphasis here as on the Google-cache page)

These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: lionel hamptom

meaning, i guess, that Google bases hits not only on

  • the content of the hit-pages matching the search keys,

but also on

  • matches with the search keys by some aspects of pages, that in turn lk to high-scoring pages that don't match the search keys.

Did that make any sense? Some pages are hits not bcz they match the search terms, but bcz of the way pages that do lk to them (and my guess is, bcz these "pseudo hits" are high-scoring pages). Which makes the online world yet another step more complex.)
--Jerzy•[[User talk:Jerzy|t]] 13:53, 19 November 2005 (UTC)


There has got to be a better public domain picture of Hamp than one with America's brainless leader. Perhaps one where he's actually playing vibes...--Josh Rocchio 17:46, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree and would prefer no picture at all to this one.Sluzzelin 23:17, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I'd prefer one of him playing, but I don't see the problem with this one. It's just Hampton receiving an award and he was in fact a Republican. (Granted Hampton was like a Rockefeller Republican as I recall)--T. Anthony 01:59, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm working on finding a better picture. The National Endowment of the Arts has a great photo ([1]), I've asked them to clarify the copyright status of it. If they say it's good, then up it goes!!! --SeanO 02:07, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree completely: PLEASE find a better picture. The article is about LH; let's just have a picture of HIM by himself. And further, make it representative of his vibrant playing style (whoops! made a pun). Make it a picture of him playing back in his big band days or something. Thanks...

Orphanbot swept the picture away. ---Sluzzelin 13:24, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I've found a pretty good source "Rhythm and Blues Revue" which features Hamp in two numbers: one on vibes and one on drums. The one on vibes would be great, but he's wearing a totally distracting 'skipper hat' (think Gilligan's Island's Skipper). He doesn't wear a hat in the other number, but he's not playing the vibes. Let me see if I can crop the screen cap so it _could_ be him playing vibes, or else, do another shot of 'just his hands playing vibes', which I think would make a pretty good shot regardless --SeanO 14:05, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree, it would be nice to have a photo that is actually of Hampton himself. Why not change it for a CD cover (which will probably be a more flattering photo and more representative of his work)? It would qualify as fair use. 00:17, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Actually, fair use does not provide for album covers to be placed in infoboxes of an artist; especially not when a known free alternative exists. I'd rather not have Bush there with him either, but the image is free and does the job. He was a very staunch Republican afterall. I am not saying you were having qualms with that at all. I'm just saying. If someone can find a better one, that would be great. I'd welcome it. But it must be free since we have two free images as an alternative that DO represent the subject in question adequetely. (Mind meal 00:31, 12 July 2007 (UTC))

Apartment Fire[edit]

I seem to recall that Hamp had a devastating fire in his apartment shortly before his death. I don't have the time to look this up right now, but I seem to recall that his lifetime's worth of memorabilia was destroyed and that he barely escaped alive. Anyone want to fill in this blank??

I was a court reporter taking the testimony at the trial brought against Lionel Hampton by the tenants of his apartment building for the fire that originated out of his apartment back in January of 1997. His caretaker accidentally knocked over a halogen lamp on his bed where it caught fire. The dim-witted nurse opened the windows of the 20th-floor apartment to "blow out the flames" that quickly spread across his bed, quilt, etc. She was unaware that such heavy winds would actually exacerbate the flames, causing it to do even more damage. Mr. Hampton's caregivers took him out of the apartment unharmed, but all of his possesions perished that day, as did the apartments of several other well known celebrities. Already being somewhat senile and very fragile by the year 2000 when the case came to trial, he was of little knowledge and assistance, but the case nevertheless went forward. Sad.brennivan 17:29, 8 September 2006 (UTC) Brennivan


I am encountering problems with Lionel Hampton's birthdate, though typically from books published in the 1980s. I have one source that states he was born 1908, another 1909, and another 1912! I am going with Scott Yanow's birthdate because it is the most recent I can find and therefore there has been more time to unearth the accuracy of the previous birthdates. Please do not use the book by Linda Churchill titled "45 Profiles in Modern Music" from 1980 if anyone encounters it, as its filled with errors and chronology problems. She is the one who dates his birth at 1912, btw. She also places him with Les Hite after his work at the University of Southern California. Thanks! (Mind meal 06:52, 3 June 2007 (UTC))

Houston, we have a problem[edit]

There is a lot of confusion about when and where Lionel was born, though Steve Voce of The Independant in London states he understands this confusion and has the correct dates AND place. Please see this: [2]; apparently he was born in Birmingham, Alabama on April 20 and not in Louisville on the 21st. I will look for more credible sources to solidify this once and for all.(Mind meal 12:09, 3 June 2007 (UTC))

:Additionally, tons of sites have Hampton's birthplace wrong, including the Encyclopaedia Britannica! I would contact them, but they should be better than that. Please do not be persuaded by the ways certain websites place him, such as "He was born in Louisville and raised in Birmingham...". This is patently false information that has been repeated billions of times over by authors who don't do their own research. (Mind meal 13:56, 3 June 2007 (UTC))

IMdb and NNdb say Louisville, Kentucky. Is there a hard source for Birmingham, Alabama, beyond just disagreement? At any rate, we have to go with what can be sourced. Many sources say "born in Louisville, but moved to Alabama soon thereafter". Any usable sources say "born in Alabama" beyond just conjecture? Stevie is the man! TalkWork 16:07, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Hi Stevie. I wouldn't put it there if it wasn't referenced, actually Steve Voce from The Independant newspaper in London wrote a piece on the confusion in the link I provided you, right here in the article. I will also add additional sources to back up Voce's position in a few moments. The reference is already in the article at the end of the first paragraph in his early life section, btw.(Mind meal 23:05, 3 June 2007 (UTC))
I've added an additional source, and also will point out that BMI-who gave him an award in 1986-wrote a piece in 2001 stating he was born in Birmingham right here Lionel Hampton Dedication Ceremony. Here is more info on confusion of his birthplace - [3]; apparently Hampton's one-time manager Bill Titone states he was born in Birmingham. Yet more info from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz states he was born in Birmingham found at [4]. Found again here [5] at the NEA Jazz Masters site, another insitiution that had DIRECT contact with hampton over the years and whom awarded him a fellowship. (Mind meal 23:45, 3 June 2007 (UTC))
I'm unsure that any of the sources can be trusted, whether they say Louisville or Birmingham. We probably should look for an actual bound biography of Hampton somewhere and look it up. Biographies have a greater tendency to be fact-checked. I'd like to maintain WPLou coverage until a biography can be found. Competing web sources and an article with somebody's conjecture don't quite hit it for me. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 00:36, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Further, my hardbound Encyclopedia Britannica from the 1970s shows Louisville as the birthplace. I assume they were well-researched at the time. I'm not saying that this is definitive, but I'd be happy to settle on what a bound biography says. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 00:42, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Encyclopedias, newspapers, and hardbound books all make mistakes; I'm sure you know this. As is readily evident, there are plenty of sites and books falsely placing him in Louisville at birth. I have provided TWO sources stating why the confusion, one from an associated press reporter and the other from a reporter at The Independant in London. I want this article as accurate as possible, and Lionel simply was not born in Louisville. You can easily find me hundreds, perhaps thousands of sources that state Louisville. But just because it seems so, does not make it so. Also, on page 178 of "Current Biography Yearbook: 1971" by Charles Moritz it states he was born in Birmingham. I will list that in the references also. Hey, btw...your not on a wikibreak! (Mind meal 02:25, 4 June 2007 (UTC))
Further, if someone has Hamp's autobiography here I'll go with whatever that states. I am beginning to doubt Birmingham was where he was born as well; whatever the case, this is very frustrating. (Mind meal 03:18, 4 June 2007 (UTC))
Here's a link to the autobiography:
You can do a "Search Inside" with a query on the word "born." You'll find that Hampton says born in born in Birmingham and moved to Louisville. Unless another source knows something Hampton himself did not, I think you've got what you're looking for here. Wordmuse 19:55, 6 July 2007 (UTC) Wordmuse
Re: "there are plenty of sites and books falsely placing him in Louisville at birth", I don't see where you have established definitively that Birmingham is the birthplace. What is convincing you to be so certain he wasn't born in Louisville? I don't see it. I think it would be best if we remove our biases and try to look at this in a fact-based manner. I'm not making this an edit war to keep Louisville there -- but with so many sources saying 'Louisville', it would be irresponsible for me to drop this. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 14:57, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
You did see my previous post, yes? Or not? (Mind meal 17:44, 4 June 2007 (UTC))
Yes. Didn't see anything that was definitive. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 17:48, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
I think that if we are to follow WP:NPOV, until we find a definitive source, we're going to have to document the confusion over his birthplace. We have reasonable sources for both Birmingham and Louisville, so, for now, we should list both places in the article. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 18:19, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

On Yahoo Answers, I asked "Where was Lionel Hampton born?" with the text:

All the answers came back Louisville. Following are some sources given to back it up:

NPOV would seem to indicate to me that based on the massive evidence for Louisville, we should say he was born in Louisville, but so-and-so disputes it and says he was born in Birmingham. Sound good? Stevie is the man! TalkWork 19:15, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

I have no problem with letting readers know there is confusion over his place of birth, though 45 Profiles in Modern Music also had his date of birth at 1912. That is absolutely wrong. The placement of him in Birmingham at birth has been more of a recent discovery. As I said earlier, I would not be surprised that people can find a limitless amount of sources stating Louisville. Just a few early books stating that can have a dominoe effect unless evidence can clearly dispute it. I do not believe it has clearly been illustrated that he was born in Birmingham either, though I do believe there is enough there to cast serious doubt on Louisville. No doubt we will have constant edits if we don't mention it, so I am for adding both places as possible birthplaces. I would not be comfortable stating that Louisville is the place of birth, nor at this point would I feel comfortable stating Birmingham is the place of birth. I think we should say Louisville OR Birmingham, and then instruct readers to see the talk page to find out why. Your thoughts? (Mind meal 06:02, 10 June 2007 (UTC))
After re-reviewing your links and considering your arguments, I'm going to have to agree -- it's hard to tell one way or the other what is the true birthplace. I guess we'll just have to document the confusion and let readers make up their own mind. I honestly don't know what is the protocol for showing a disputed birthplace in an infobox, but definitely, we're going to need a paragraph or section on the matter. As for project coverage, both WP-Alabama and WP-Louisville should cover it, until we possibly arrive at a definitive birthplace at some point. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 19:12, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. I'll start on a paragraph explaining it all, and put it in shortly. (Mind meal 19:29, 10 June 2007 (UTC))
I noticed the mention of the talk page in the article, probably best to describe and source the confusion in the aritcle, rather then asking readers to look at this page. Cheers! —— Eagle101Need help? 00:35, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Public Domain Screenshots of Hampton[edit]

At there are several public domain movies and concerts Hampton appears in that are available to capture snapshots of while watching the movies. I am on dialup and cannot watch hour long movies, waiting for scenes with Hampton. There are also screen shots of tons of other celebrities on that site for the puiblic domain, including in the Rhythm and Blues Revue of 1955 which Hampton appears in. There are available screenshots available of Willie Bryant, [[Freddie Robinson, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Faye Adams, Bill Bailey]], Herb Jeffries, Amos Milburn, Sarah Vaughan, Nipsey Russell, Big Joe Turner, Martha Davis, Little Buck, Mantan Moreland, Cab Calloway and Ruth Brown in that movie. Screenshots of many of these artists would provide pictures in articles that otherwise have none; what's more they are free to use. Anyone who has high-speed internet that has some extra time, some good snapshots of hampton would be a great addition to the article. Thanks! (Mind meal 02:46, 4 June 2007 (UTC))

Start class?[edit]

I don't know about anyone else, but I think this article is a bit beyond start class? (Mind meal 04:00, 26 June 2007 (UTC))

I guess I would normally expect the career-related content to be somewhat thicker before this would be a 'B'. I'm not sure what to add offhand, but perhaps it can be made more in-depth. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 04:27, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

That sounds good, Stevie is the man!. I have 3 great Scott Yanow references coming in for me at my local library branch sometime this week, one of them devoted to Swing. I'll see what more I can use from there. I just thought it was B-class, but I suppose quantity means more than quality in this case?(Mind meal 04:45, 26 June 2007 (UTC))

Really, both quantity and quality, in terms of how deeply his extensive career is discussed. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 14:31, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Lionel Hampton Live performances[edit]

Hello, one thing that I believe is missing from this article is a list of the live performances of Mr. Hampton. Although I am no expert on Mr. Hampton's work, I remember attending a live performance in Athens, Greece sometime around 1985. However I couldn't find any references online. Is anyone able to contribute towards this end? Regards, Skonix (talk) 09:33, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

The Discography is presently incomplete. Is this on purpose? I know that in 1976/77 he recorded an album with Cat Anderson and Eddie Chamblee. My son has it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:D:6980:551:108C:68B7:657A:DAE3 (talk) 19:57, 17 December 2013 (UTC)