Willie Mabon

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Willie Mabon
Willie Mabon.jpg
Willie Mabon in 1976
Background information
Born (1925-10-24)October 24, 1925
Hollywood, Tennessee, United States
Died April 19, 1985(1985-04-19) (aged 59)
Paris, France
Genres Rhythm and blues
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, piano
Years active 1949–1984
Labels Apollo, Aristocrat, Parrot, Chess, Federal, Mad, Formal, USA, Storyville, Blues On Blues, Black and Blue, America, Ornament, L+R

Willie Mabon (October 24, 1925 – April 19, 1985)[1] was an American R&B singer, songwriter and pianist.

Career[edit]

Born Willie James Mabon,[2] and brought up in Hollywood, Memphis, Tennessee, he had become known as a singer and pianist by the time he moved to Chicago in 1942. He formed a group, the Blues Rockers, and in 1949 began recording for the Aristocrat label, and then Chess.

His biggest success came in 1952 when his debut solo release, "I Don't Know", topped the Billboard R&B chart for eight weeks.[3] It was one of the most popular releases of its era, becoming Chess's biggest hit in the period before Chuck Berry's and Bo Diddley's success. It also became one of the first R&B hit records to be covered by a leading white artist, Tennessee Ernie Ford. Mabon's original was played on Alan Freed's early radio shows and also sold well to white audiences, crossing over markets at the start of the rock and roll era.

Mabon returned to the top R&B slot in 1953 with "I'm Mad", and had another hit in 1954 with the Mel London song "Poison Ivy". However, his career failed to maintain its momentum, and record releases in the late 1950s on a variety of record labels were largely unsuccessful. Releases in the 1960s included "I'm The Fixer" and "Got To Have Some".[3]

After a 1972 move to Paris, Mabon toured and recorded in Europe as part of promoter Jim Simpson's American Blues Legends tour, recording The Comeback for Simpson's Big Bear Records label, and his 1977 album on Ornament Records.[4] He also performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival.[1] In April 1985, after a long illness, Mabon died in Paris.[5]

Legacy[edit]

Willie Mabon album cover, 1979

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Oldies.com biography - accessed January 2008
  2. ^ Discography fansite - accessed January 2008
  3. ^ a b Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 139. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  4. ^ Wirz, Stefan (January 8, 2010). "Ornament Discography". American Music. Retrieved January 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ Thedeadrockstarsclub.comn - accessed November 2009

External links[edit]