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 Henry Roeland “Professor Longhair” Byrd

Henry Roeland “Professor Longhair” Byrd

Birth
Bogalusa, Washington Parish, Louisiana, USA
Death 30 Jan 1980 (aged 61)
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Burial New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Memorial ID 2703 · View Source
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Singer, Pianist, Rock and Roll Pioneer. Henry Roeland Byrd was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana. In his teens, he began dancing on Bourbon Street in New Orleans for tips. Thereafter, he found a broken piano abandoned in an alley. He took it home and fiddled around with it until it played well enough for him to get by. Later, while a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps, he discovered that he could avoid working by playing the piano for his co-workers. In his late 20s, he took the stage at the Caldonia Club while the regular band was on a break. An instant hit, he was hired. He and the members of the band all had long hair and were thereafter referred to as "Professor Longhair and the Four Hairs." He recorded and toured for a decade, but life on the road took its toll on his health. He remained in New Orleans for the next 15 years, performing and recording intermittently. This, in turn, took its toll on his income, and he took various jobs to supplement it. His career slowly recovered in the 1970s when he appeared at several noted jazz festivals worldwide. Unfortunately, the traveling again was too much for him. Along with a group of fans and promoters in New Orleans, in 1977 he purchased a warehouse and converted it into a nightclub called Tipitina's, named after one of his songs. It was conveniently located close to his home. Tipitina's still operates as a jazz club today and houses a collection of Professor Longhair memorabilia.

Bio by: countedx58


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2703
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Henry Roeland “Professor Longhair” Byrd (19 Dec 1918–30 Jan 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2703, citing Mount Olivet Cemetery and Mausoleum, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .