Brother Bones

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Brother Bones
Birth nameFreeman Davis
Born(1902-10-04)October 4, 1902
Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.[1]
DiedJune 14, 1974(1974-06-14) (aged 71)
Long Beach, California, United States
Genrespopular songs
Occupation(s)Musician, dancer, actor, shoeshiner
Instrumentswhistling, bone, knives, spoons
Years active1940s–1950s
Associated actsScatman Crothers, The Shadows
"Sweet Georgia Brown" on the Tempo label (US), recorded by Brother Bones and His Shadows

Freeman Davis (October 4, 1902 – June 14, 1974[1]) was an American whistling and bone playing recording artist best known by his stage name Brother Bones as well as "Whistling Sam".

Early life[edit]

Freeman Davis was born in Montgomery, Alabama.[1]


Davis is best remembered for his 1949 recording[2] of the 1925 standard "Sweet Georgia Brown". The recording became internationally famous after being adopted as the theme song of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team in 1952. Notably, the bass line for this track uses the Novachord, a very early electronic synthesizer more prominently featured on the B side of the record. Despite the success of this record, Brother Bones himself remained relatively unknown.[citation needed]


Davis died in June 1974, in Long Beach, California, at the age of 71.[1] Davis was buried in Woodlawn Memorial Park, Compton, Los Angeles County, California.

Popular culture[edit]

His song, "Black Eyed Susan Brown", was sampled in the De La Soul song, "Pease Porridge", on their 1991 album, De La Soul Is Dead.

"Sweet Georgia Brown" was used in the Vauxhall Meriva television advertisement in the UK.


  1. ^ a b c d - accessed January 2010
  2. ^ Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 413. ISBN 9780199769155.

External links[edit]