Wild Bill Moore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wild Bill Moore in 1981

William M. Moore (June 13, 1918 – August 1, 1983), known as Wild Bill Moore, was an American jazz and R&B tenor saxophone player.[1]

Moore was born in Houston, Texas. While living in Detroit, he was Michigan's amateur Golden Gloves light heavyweight champion in 1937,[1] and turned professional for a while, but also played the alto saxophone. By 1944 he had switched to tenor, influenced by Chu Berry and Illinois Jacquet, and made his first recordings with Christine Chatman, the wife of Memphis Slim. The following year he began performing and recording in Los Angeles with Slim Gaillard, Jack McVea, Joe Turner and Dexter Gordon and played on Helen Humes’ hit record "Be-Baba-Leba".

In 1947 he moved back to Detroit and began recording with his own band, which included baritone player Paul Williams, later famous for "The Hucklebuck".[1] In December of that year, he recorded "We're Gonna Rock, We're Gonna Roll" for the Savoy label which was a modest hit and is remembered today as one of many candidates for the first rock and roll record. It was one of the first records played by Alan Freed on his "Moondog" radio shows in 1951. However, by the standards of its time it was quite a primitive recording, notable mainly for the juxtaposition of the words “rock” and “roll”, and the battling saxophones of Moore and Williams. In 1949, he cut "Rock And Roll", reportedly featuring Scatman Crothers on vocals.[2]

Moore continued recording and playing in clubs in and around Detroit. In this period he also recorded several jazz albums for the Jazzland label. In 1971, he was sought out by Marvin Gaye to play saxophone on the album What's Going On, notably the track "Mercy Mercy Me".

Eventually he returned to Los Angeles, California and lived there until his death, aged 65.

In their 1992 book, What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record?, Jim Dawson and Steve Propes dedicated a chapter to Moore and his influential "We're Gonna Rock, We're Gonna Roll."


  • Wild Bill's Beat (Jazzland), 1961
  • Bottom Groove (Jazzland), 1961
  • The Real Thing,(Houston Person), (Eastbound), 1973
  • Things That I Used To Do, (Big Joe Turner), (Pablo), 1977


External links[edit]