Wild Bill Moore
Moore was born in Houston, Texas. While living in Detroit, he was Michigan's amateur Golden Gloves light heavyweight champion in 1937, and turned professional for a while, but also played the alto saxophone. By 1944 he had switched to tenor, influenced by Chu Berry and Illinois Jacquet, and made his first recordings with Christine Chatman, the wife of Memphis Slim. The following year he began performing and recording in Los Angeles with Slim Gaillard, Jack McVea, Joe Turner, Dexter Gordon and others, including playing on Helen Humes’ hit record "Be-Baba-Leba".
In 1947 he moved back to Detroit and began recording with his own band, which included baritone player Paul Williams, later famous for "The Hucklebuck". In December of that year he recorded "We're Gonna Rock, We're Gonna Roll", for the Savoy label. The record was a modest hit, and is remembered today as one of many candidates for “the first rock and roll record”. It was one of the first records played by Alan Freed on his "Moondog" radio shows in 1951. However, by the standards of its time it was quite a primitive recording, notable mainly for the juxtaposition of the words “rock” and “roll”, and the battling saxophones of Moore and Williams. In 1949 he cut "Rock And Roll", reportedly featuring Scatman Crothers on vocals.
Moore continued recording (and re-recording his hit) for several years, and continued playing in clubs in and around Detroit. In this period he also recorded several jazz albums for the Jazzland label. In 1971 he was sought out by Marvin Gaye to play his saxophone on the album What's Going On, notably the track "Mercy Mercy Me". Eventually he returned to Los Angeles, California, and lived there until his death, aged 65.
- Wild Bill's Beat (Jazzland), 1961
- Bottom Groove (Jazzland), 1961
- Things That I Used To Do, (Big Joe Turner), (Pablo), 1977