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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Honky Tonk - Bill Doggett

Bill Doggett (February 16, 1916 – November 13, 1996) was an American jazz and rhythm and blues pianist and organist. He is best known for his compositions "Honky Tonk" and "Hippy Dippy", and variously working with The Ink Spots, Johnny Otis, Wynonie Harris, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Jordan William Ballard Doggett was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.[1] His mother, a church pianist, introduced him to music when he was nine years old. By the time he was fifteen, he had joined a Philadelphia area combo, playing local theaters and clubs while attending high school. Doggett later sold his band to Lucky Millinder, and worked during the 1930s and early 1940s for both Millinder and arranger Jimmy Mundy. In 1942 he was hired as The Ink Spots' pianist and arranger. Toward the end of 1947, he replaced Wild Bill Davis as the pianist for Louis Jordan's Tympany Five. It was in Jordan's group that he first achieved success playing the Hammond organ. In 1950 he is reputed to have written one of Jordan's biggest hits, "Saturday Night Fish Fry", for which Jordan claimed the writing credit. In 1951, Doggett organized his own trio and began recording for King Records. His best known recording is "Honky Tonk", a rhythm and blues hit of 1956 which sold four million copies (reaching No. 1 R&B and No. 2 Pop), and which he co-wrote with Billy Butler. The track topped the US Billboard R&B chart for over two months. He won the Cash Box award for best rhythm and blues performer in 1957, 1958, and 1959. He also arranged for many bandleaders and performers, including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lionel Hampton. As a jazz player Doggett started in swing music and later played soul jazz. His bands included saxophonists Red Holloway, Clifford Scott, Percy France, David "Bubba" Brooks, Clifford Davis, and Floyd "Candy" Johnson; guitarists Floyd Smith, Billy Butler, Sam Lackey and Pete Mayes; and singers Edwin Starr, Toni Williams and Betty Saint-Clair. His biggest hits, "Honky Tonk" (the Part 2 side of the record) and "Slow Walk" featured saxophonist Clifford Scott. He continued to play and arrange until he died, aged 80, of a heart attack in New York  

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