Rosco Gordon

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Rosco Gordon
Background information
Birth name Rosco Gordon
Born (1928-04-10)April 10, 1928
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died July 11, 2002(2002-07-11) (aged 74)
Queens, New York City, New York, United States
Genres Blues
Years active 1950–2002
Labels Sun, Chess, RPM, Vee-Jay

Rosco Gordon (April 10, 1928 – July 11, 2002) was an American blues singer and songwriter. He is best known for his 1952 No. 1 R&B hit single, "Booted",[1] and two No. 2 singles "No More Doggin'" (1952 RPM 350) and "Just a Little Bit" (1960 Vee-Jay 332).[2]


Born in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up on Florida street, Gordon was a pioneer of the Memphis Blues style.[3] Gordon used a style of piano-playing known as 'The Rosco rhythm' and made a number of his early recordings for Sam Phillips at Sun Records.[1] This rhythm, where the emphasis is on the off-beats, was an influence on the Jamaican pianist Theophilus Beckford and hence on reggae music as a whole.[3]

"Booted" and "No More Doggin'" were both released in 1952.[3] Phillips sold the master of "Booted" to both RPM and Chess Records and both labels released the track as a single.[1] The RPM release reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B record chart.[2] Chess and the Bihari brothers later settled the conflict, with the Biharis getting exclusive rights to Gordon and Chess signing Howlin' Wolf to an exclusive contract.[4]

Gordon's last single to reach the charts was "Just a Little Bit" (1960).[2][3] In 1962, he gave up the music industry and moved to Queens, New York with his new wife, where he purchased a partnership in a laundry business. Following his wife's death in 1984, he returned to performing in the New York area.

In 2002, he was invited by filmmaker Richard Pearce to be featured as part of a documentary film about several blues musicians returning to Memphis for a special tribute to Sam Phillips in conjunction with the May 2002 W.C. Handy Awards. Called The Road To Memphis, the documentary aired on PBS television. Six weeks after filming finished, Gordon died of a heart attack at his apartment in Rego Park, Queens.[1] He was 74 years old.[1] He was interred in the Rosedale Cemetery in Linden, New Jersey.

"No More Doggin' " was covered by The Groundhogs on their 1972 album Hogwash,[5] and by Colin James on his 1993 album, Colin James and The Little Big Band.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Biography by Bryan Thomas". Retrieved June 1, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Record Research, Inc. p. 170. ISBN 0-89820-068-7. 
  3. ^ a b c d Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues – From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 114. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  4. ^ Cohodas, Nadine (2000). Spinning Blues into Gold. St. Martin's Press. p. 64. ISBN 0-312-26133-0. 
  5. ^ "Hogwash, album details". Retrieved 2014-07-12. 

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