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Cab Calloway - Record Repertoire

"Everybody came.....everybody came to the cotton club."

I, like I'm sure many other younger generations, first saw Cab Calloway in the film 'The Blues Brothers'. Cab and the film have become some of my all time favourites. The film for its humour and wit, Cab for his storytelling music.

My favourite thing about Cab Calloway and what makes him one of my favourite jazz musicians is that there has never been and never will be anyone though out space and time that danced like he did.


Cabell "Cab" Calloway III born December 25, 1907 in Rochester, New York, was an American jazz singer, dancer, and bandleader.

He learned the art of scat singing before landing a regular gig at Harlem's famous Cotton Club. Calloway became one of the most popular entertainers of the 1930s and '40s following the enormous success of his song "Minnie the Moocher" (1931) a No. 1 song that sold more than one million copies. The tune's famous call-and-response "hi-de-hi-de-ho" chorus—improvised when he couldn't recall a lyric—became Calloway's signature phrase for the rest of his career.

He appeared on stage in three plays and provided music for 2 more. He appeared in 25 films, main features like 'The Blues Brothers" and short subject films, a few named after his most famous songs. Calloway is the first African American musician to sell a million records from a single song.

He sadly died in 1994, at age 86, in Hockessin, Delaware, five months after having a stroke but his legacy, defining a generation and inspiring many generations after, still strongly lives on.

Cab Calloway's grandson Peter Brooks has run a petition to save his grandfathers house in Baltimore from demolition and turn it into a museum. On the 13th of December 2019 preservationists uncovered more history that they hope will help save the childhood home of Cab Calloway.



Reading Recommendations & Content Considerations

His autobiography, Of Minnie the Moocher and Me was published in 1976. Written by his nephew it includes his complete 1938 Hepster's Dictionary ( an introduction to the slang of the musicians working in New York's Harlem) as an appendix.

by by

George R. Coverdale Jr. Alyn Shipton


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