Paul Williams (saxophonist)

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Paul Williams
Birth name Paul Williams
Born (1915-07-13)July 13, 1915
Lewisburg, Tennessee, United States
Died September 14, 2002(2002-09-14) (aged 87)
New York City, United States
Genres R&B, jump blues
Occupation(s) Bandleader, saxophonist
Instruments Saxophone
Years active 1930s—1960s
Labels Savoy, Atlantic

Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams (July 13, 1915 – September 14, 2002)[1] was an American blues and rhythm and blues saxophonist and songwriter. In his Honkers and Shouters, Arnold Shaw credits Williams as one of the first to employ the honking tenor sax solo that became the hallmark of rhythm and blues and rock and roll in the 1950s and early 1960s.

After performing with Clarence Dorsey and King Porter he formed his own band in 1947. He was best known for his 1949 hit, "The Hucklebuck", a twelve-bar blues that also spawned a dance craze. The single went to number one on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart.[2] He used the billing of Paul Williams and his Hucklebuckers thereafter.

Williams' recording was covered by Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra, as well as by R&B artists Roy Milton and Lionel Hampton, but Williams' Savoy recording was still the best-selling rhythm and blues song of the year. Shaw points out that "The Hucklebuck" was an early example of crossover from R&B to mainstream popular music. The Williams version sold half a million copies by some estimates.[3] The melody of the song was based on Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time".

In later years, during the rock era, in 1960, Chubby Checker peaked at number fourteen with his version of the song,[4] while in 1963 Brendan Bowyer and the Royal Showband became the first Irish artists to top the Irish singles chart with their cover, staying at the top for seven weeks.[5] British Rockabilly band Coast to Coast reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in 1981 with a cover called "(Do) the Hucklebuck".[6] In 2010, Crystal Swing had a hit with the song.

With Tiny Grimes, Williams co-headlined the first Moondog Coronation Ball, promoted by Alan Freed in Cleveland on March 21, 1952, often claimed as the first rock and roll concert.

Williams later worked in the Atlantic Records house band, and was musical director for Lloyd Price and James Brown.

Williams died in September 2002, in New York City, at the age of 87.[1]


Do the Hucklebuck, do the Hucklebuck,
If you don't know how to do it, boy, you're out of luck,
Push your partner out,
Then you hunch your back,
Start a little movement in your sacroiliac,
Wiggle like an eel, waddle like a duck,
That's the way you do it when you do the Hucklebuck


With Ruth Brown


  1. ^ a b - accessed July 2010
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 627. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 119. 
  5. ^ The Showband Era: The Royal Showband Retrieved 11 July 2010
  6. ^

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