Spencer Williams

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Spencer Williams
Spencer Williams - pianist.jpg
Background information
Birth nameSpencer Williams
Born(1889-10-14)October 14, 1889
New Orleans, U.S.
DiedJuly 14, 1965(1965-07-14) (aged 75)
Flushing, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz, popular music
Occupation(s)Composer, musician
Instrument(s)Piano, vocals

Spencer Williams (October 14, 1889 – July 14, 1965)[1] was an American jazz and popular music composer, pianist, and singer. He is best known for his hit songs "Basin Street Blues", "I Ain't Got Nobody", "Royal Garden Blues", "I've Found a New Baby", "Everybody Loves My Baby", "Tishomingo Blues", and many others.[1]


Spencer Williams was born in Vidalia, Louisiana, United States.[1] He was educated at St. Charles University in New Orleans.[2][3]

Williams was performing in Chicago by 1907, and moved to New York City about 1916.[1] After arriving in New York, he co-wrote several songs with Anton Lada of the Louisiana Five. Among those songs was "Basin Street Blues", which became one of his most popular songs and is still recorded by musicians to this day.[3]

Williams toured Europe with bands from 1925 to 1928; during this time he wrote for Josephine Baker at the Folies Bergère in Paris.[1] Williams then returned to New York for a few years. At the end of the 1920s, Williams was tried but then acquitted on a charge of murder.[1] In 1932, he moved to Europe, spending many years in London before moving to Stockholm in 1951. Williams was married to Pat Castleton (a stage name of Agnes Bage). They had two daughters together called Della and Lindy.[4]

His hit songs include "Basin Street Blues", "I Ain't Got Nobody", "Royal Garden Blues", "Mahogany Hall Stomp", "I've Found a New Baby", "Everybody Loves My Baby", "Shimmy-Sha-Wobble", "Boodle Am Shake", "Tishomingo Blues", "Fireworks", "I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll", "Arkansas Blues", plus the dirty blues standard "Georgia Grind",[5][6][7][8] "Paradise Blues", "When Lights Are Low", and "My Man o' War".

Williams returned to New York in 1957, before his death in Flushing, New York on July 14, 1965.[3][9][10]

Williams was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who's Who of Blues (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 381/2. ISBN 0-85112-673-1.
  2. ^ "Tishomingo Blues:Spencer Williams". Riverwalk Jazz. Archived from the original on June 13, 2010. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Ankeny, Jason. "Biography of Spencer Williams". AllMusic. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
  4. ^ Giddins, Gary (18 May 2000). Visions of Jazz: The First Century. Oxford University Press, US. ISBN 9780195132410. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Jazzin' the Blues, Vol. 5: 1930-1953 - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  6. ^ "Hop Head - Duke Ellington & His Orchestra | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  7. ^ "Lucille3". Earlyblues.com. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  8. ^ Roberta Freund Schwartz (2018). "How Blue Can You Get? "It's Tight Like That" and the Hokum Blues". American Music. University of Illinois Press. 36 (3): 367–393. doi:10.5406/americanmusic.36.3.0367. S2CID 192728133.
  9. ^ "Spencer Williams | Songwriters Hall of Fame". Songhall.org.
  10. ^ Giddins, Gary (May 18, 2000). Visions of Jazz: The First Century. Oxford University Press, US. p. 46. ISBN 9780195132410.
  11. ^ "Spencer Williams". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on October 13, 2010. Retrieved September 13, 2010.

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