Meade "Lux" Lewis
born on 3/9/1905 in Chicago, IL, United States
died on 7/6/1964 in Minneapolis, MN, United States
Meade Lux Lewis
|Meade Lux Lewis|
Meade "Lux" Lewis (September 1905 June 7, 1964) was an American pianist and composer, noted for his work in the boogie-woogie style. His best-known work, "Honky Tonk Train Blues", has been recorded by many artists.
Lewis was born Meade Anderson Lewis in Chicago, Illinois in September 1905 (September 3, 4 and 13 have all been cited as his date of birth in various sources). In his youth he was influenced by the pianist Jimmy Yancey.
A 1927 rendition of "Honky Tonk Train Blues" on the Paramount Records label marked his recording debut. He remade it for Parlophone in 1935 and for Victor in 1937 and a recording exists of a Camel Caravan broadcast, including "Honky Tonk Train Blues" from New York City in 1939. His performance at John Hammond's historic From Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall in 1938 brought Lewis to public attention. Following the event, Lewis and two other performers from that concert, Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson, often appeared as a trio and became the leading boogie-woogie pianists of the day.
They performed an extended engagement at Café Society, toured as a trio, and inspired the formation of Blue Note Records in 1939. Their success led to a decade-long boogie-woogie craze, with big band swing treatments by Tommy Dorsey, Will Bradley, and others; and numerous country boogie and early rock and roll songs.
Lewis appeared in the movies New Orleans (1947) and Nightmare (1956). He also appeared, uncredited, in the movie It's a Wonderful Life, playing piano in the scene where George Bailey gets thrown out of Nick's Bar.
Lewis died in a car accident in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 7, 1964, aged 58.
Lewis' best-known work, "Honky Tonk Train Blues", has been recorded in various contexts, often in a big band arrangement. Early recordings of the piece by artists other than Lewis include performances by Adrian Rollini, Frankie Trumbauer, classical harpsichordist Sylvia Marlowe, theater organist George Wright (with drummer Cozy Cole, under the title "Organ Boogie"), and Bob Zurke with Bob Crosby's orchestra. Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer often included it in his repertoire and recorded it in 1972.
Lewis was mentioned in Chapter 81 of author Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle. Lewis is also mentioned in Ross Macdonald's novel The Moving Target and in Keith Richards's autobiography Life.
- 1975 - Tell Your Story, Oldie Blues, OL 2805
- 1982 - Giant of Blues and Boogie Woogie 1905-1964, Oldie Blues, OL 2810
- 1984 - Chicago Piano Blues and Boogie Woogie 1936-1951 Vol. 3, Oldie Blues, OL 2827
- Meade Lux Lewis biography on African American Registry
- Meade 'Lux' Lewis discography at Discogs
- Meade 'Lux' Lewis discography at Rate Your Music
- 1.0 1.1 1.2 [Meade Lux Lewis at All Music Guide Biography by Scott Yanow]. Allmusic.com. Retrieved on May 29, 2009.
- 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray, Dubai: Carlton Books Limited.
- "Deep Blues" by Robert Palmer, 1981, p. 130
- Meade Lux Lewis on IMDb. Retrieved on December 28, 2009.
- Tell Your Story at Discogs
- Giant of Blues and Boogie Woogie 1905-1964 at Discogs
- Chicago Piano Blues and Boogie Woogie 1936-1951 Vol. 3 at Discogs