clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

YouTube Gold: The Calloway Boogie

Cab Calloway dazzles

Cab Calloway
Cab Calloway poses for a studio portrait in 1932 in the United States.
Photo by Gilles Petard/Redferns

Cab Calloway is probably one of the more under appreciated artists of the 20th century.

Born in 1907, Calloway became a band leader and singer who made his name at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club.

He was hugely energetic on stage, a magnetic performer, and one of the original great scat singers.

He was a naturally exuberant showman and an elegant stage presence.

His father was an attorney and his mother was a graduate of Morgan State. Calloway grew up in Baltimore and developed a love for jazz which his family did not much like - they wanted him to be an attorney too. But his talent was undeniable and by the time he was 23 he had a hit, St. Louis Blues, and never stopped.

Remarkably, he charted in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

In 1980, he was cast in The Blues Brothers, the John Belushi-Dan Akroyd musical comedy as Curtis, where he performed arguably his greatest hit, Minnie the Moocher.

The thing about Calloway is that first, his music stills sounds fresh, and second, he had a huge impact on generations of musicians.

Here he is in 1948 singing the Calloway Boogie with a much smaller band than he normally employed. If anything, it helps him to shine even brighter.