W. C. Handy

W. C. Handy

Original Name William Christopher
Florence, Lauderdale County, Alabama, USA
Death 28 Mar 1958 (aged 84)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Plot Cosmos section, Block 203/198
Memorial ID 441 · View Source
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Musician, Composer. Born William Christopher Handy in Florence, Alabama, he is regarded as the "Father of the Blues", credited with helping popularize blues music. In 1896, he joined W. A. Mahara's Minstrels, as its trumpeter-bandleader and began a theatrical production that featured African American music. In the early 1900s, he started writing his own music with the first published commercial blues song "Memphis Blues", which became a big hit in 1912. With it's success, he formed the Handy Brothers Music Company, which published the hit songs "St. Louis Blues" (1914), "Yellow Dog Blues" (1914) and "Beale Street Blues" (1916). In 1918, he moved his business to New York and scored success with the composition "Aunt Hagar's Blues", continued to promote blues to mainstream audiences and put on the first blues performance in New York City's Carnegie Hall in 1928. Handy continued working steadily through the 1930s, promoting blues and publishing collections of African American music until he became blind by the mid-1940s. He died of pneumonia only months before his life story was played in movie theaters across the country in the film "Father of the Blues", which starred singer Nat King Cole as Handy.

Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 441
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for W. C. Handy (16 Nov 1873–28 Mar 1958), Find a Grave Memorial no. 441, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .