Joe Liggins                                                   Years active 1930s-1987

Joseph Christopher Liggins, Jr. (born Theodro Elliott; July 9, 1916 - July 26, 1987) was an American R&B, jazz and blues pianist and vocalist who led Joe Liggins and his Honeydrippers in the 1940s and 1950s. His band appeared often on the Billboard magazine charts. The band's biggest hit was "The Honeydripper", released in 1945. Joe Liggins was the older brother of R&B performer Jimmy Liggins.


Background information From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Music career

The son of Harriett and Elijah Elliott, he was born in Seminole, Oklahoma, and took his stepfather's surname, Liggins, as a child. He apparently dropped the name Theodro and adopted the names Joseph Christopher during the 1930s. The family moved to San Diego in 1932. He graduated from Hoover High School, studied music at San Diego State College, and performed with local bands at clubs and Naval bases. He wrote arrangements on a freelance basis for Curtis Mosby’s Blue Blowers, and in 1935 Liggins joined the Creole Crusaders, which was led by the drummer Ellis Walsh.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1939, where he played with Sammy Franklin's California Rhythm Rascals and other groups. When Franklin turned down a chance to record Liggins' song "The Honeydripper", Liggins decided to start his own band. The original Joe Liggins and His Honeydrippers recordings were issued on the Exclusive Records imprint of brothers Leon and Otis René. Joe Liggins' Honeydrippers was formed in the basement of the Los Angeles home of the saxophonist Little Willie Jackson, who co-founded the group and who, at the time of his death in 2001, was the last original surviving member of the Honeydrippers. 

"The Honeydripper" topped the R&B chart, then called the race chart, for 18 weeks in 1945. More than 60 years later, "The Honeydripper" remains tied with Louis Jordan's "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" for the longest-ever stay at the top of that chart. It reportedly logged two million sales.


The Honeydrippers performed for five of the famed Cavalcade of Jazz concerts all performed at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles (picture) and produced by Leon Hefflin Sr. The first Cavalcade of jazz concert was on September 23, 1945 and included Count Basie, The Peters Sisters, Slim and Bam, and Joe Turner to a crowd of 15,000. 

The second Cavalcade of Jazz concert was held October 12, 1946 and included Jack McVea, Slim Gaillard, T-Bone Walker, Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra and Louis Armstrong. The third Cavalcade of Jazz was held September 7, 1947 and included Woody Herman, The Valdḗs Orchestra, T-Bone Walker, Slim Gaillard, Johnny Otis and his Orchestra, Toni Harper, The Three Blazers, and Sarah Vaughn. The fourth Cavalcade of Jazz was held September 12, 1948 and included Joe Adams as Emcee, Dizzy Gillespie, Frankie Laine, Little Miss Cornshucks, The Sweethearts of Rhythm, Joe Turner, Jimmy Witherspoon, The Blenders and The Sensations. The seventh Cavalcade of Jazz was held July 8, 1951 and featured Billy Eckstine, Lionel Hampton, Percy Mayfield, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Roy Brown. Joe Liggins and his Honeydrippers were on the program for more Cavalcade of Jazz concerts than any other artists. In the program description it was noted that band critics called Joe Liggins and his Original Honeydrippers, "The Hottest Little Band in the Land."


Liggins had a series of further R&B chart hits on the Exclusive label, including "Left a Good Deal in Mobile" (#2, 1945); "Got a Right to Cry" (#2, 1946); "Tanya" (#3, 1946); and "Blow Mr. Jackson" (#3, 1947). He signed with Specialty Records in 1950, where he gained more hits, including "Rag Mop" (#4, 1950), "Boom-Chick-A-Boogie", "Pink Champagne" (#1 for 13 weeks in 1950), and "Little Joe's Boogie". "Pink Champagne" also reached number 30 on the pop chart, and both "Pink Champagne" and "Got A Right To Cry" sold over one million copies and were awarded gold discs. His songs were mostly a blend of jump blues and basic R&B. With Roy Milton, he was an architect of the small-band jump blues of the first post-war decade. Liggins often toured with such acts as Jimmy Witherspoon, Amos Milburn and the jump blues shouter H-Bomb Ferguson. In March 1954, the band took part in a benefit show held at the Club 5-4 in Los Angeles for the wife of Stan Getz. In 1946, before the concept of rock music had been defined, Billboard (magazine) described the group's song "Sugar Lump" as "right ryhthmic rock and roll music". Although Liggins' success stopped in the late 1950s, he continued to perform until his death following a stroke, in Lynwood, California, at the age of 71.


Videos, Downloads

*Immanuel Kant


Created: 20220115

Updated: 20220123

Wikipedia: This page was last edited on 31 December 2021, at 05:54 (UTC).