Daniel Gardner Burley

Daniel Gardner Burley

Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, USA
Death 28 Oct 1962 (aged 54)
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Burial Alsip, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Plot Elmgrove, Lot 155, Grave 1
Memorial ID 37365952 · View Source
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Journalist, Musician, Activist. The life of Dan Burley touched on a variety of aspects of 20th century America. Born in Kentucky, the son of a preacher. His father died at a young age and Burley's mother moved the family to Chicago in 1915 after remarrying. Burley became a newspaper boy for the Chicago Daily Defender, and learned Boogie Woogie Piano playing while attending Wendell Phillips High School with classmates Lionell Hampton and Louis Jordan. He was also editor of the school newspaper and started writing for the Daily Defender. He was eventually named sports editor there and began writing various columns for the paper which were syndicated nationally. In the 1920's Burley moved to New York to further his career. He became Managing Editor of the Amsterdam News in the 1930's and continued his music career. His writing crossed over into the mainstream "white" media and his work appeared in Esquire, Life, Look, and The Saturday Evening Post and drew the attention of Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, Lucille Ball, and Walter Winchell, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy among others. Meanwhile he was writing songs for Hampton and Cab Callaway and other jazz musicians of the day. In the 1940's he recorded the LP "Dan Burley and the Skiffle Boys," with Brownie McGhee and Pops Foster. This recording influenced Lonnie Dunegan, creating the Skiffle music craze in England. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zepplin, The Kinks, the Hollies, and even Spinal Tap credit skiffle as an early musical influence. Reportedly the Beatles tune Lady Madonna borrows from a Dan Burley melody. In 1941 Burley wrote "The Harlem Handbook of Jive" defining Jive talk in the Harlem community. This book is credited with providing a genesis to Rap music and hip hop culture. Burley is also credited with coining the term "BeBop." During the war Burley served as a war correspondent and in 1948 led the first black focused USO Tour to Burma under Bob Hope. He also continued sports writing covering the Negro Leagues and reportinh the black perspective of Jackie Robinson's entrance into Major League baseball in 1947. In the 1950's Burley became managing editor of Jet Magazine and Associate Editor for Ebony Magazine, as well as editor of Mohammed Speaks, the publication of the Black Nation of Islam. Burley died suddenly after attendng a conference at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Bio by: Don M


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Don M
  • Added: 22 May 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 37365952
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Daniel Gardner Burley (7 Nov 1907–28 Oct 1962), Find a Grave Memorial no. 37365952, citing Burr Oak Cemetery, Alsip, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .