Monday, March 10, 2008

W. C. Handy Statue, Beale Street

W. C. Handy is often called "The Father of the Blues", and he and his band moved to Memphis in 1909 to establish their musical presence on Beale Street. His famous song, "Memphis Blues", was originally titled "Mr. Crump", as it was written for then-Mayoral candidate Edward H. "Boss" Crump. It was so popular that he later rewrote it and changed the name to "Memphis Blues". It is considered by some to be the first blues song. You can read more about W. C. Handy here.
This is one of my favorite statues, not only on Beale Street, but in all of Memphis. (All colored bold script should provide a clickable link for more information. Please click on the photo(s) to see an enlarged version.)
edited to add: Annie asked this question: "I've always wondered if B. B. King named his guitar after W. C. Handy's first child. Do you know?"
Per Wikipedia: "One of his trademarks is "Lucille", the name he has given to his guitars since the 1950s after he escaped a fire at a juke joint he was playing in. The fire was started by two men who were fighting over a woman named "Lucille". During their fight, they knocked over the bucket of burning kerosene used for heat. When King escaped the building, he realized that he had left his guitar in the burning building. He ran back inside to get it and after learning of what happened, he named his guitar "Lucille" to remind himself not to do it again." You can read the entire entry here.

13 comments:

oldmanlincoln said...

This is an exceptional post. I had no idea about this until I read the post.

Rambling Round said...

And he was born in Sweet Home Alabama!

Joy said...

Father of the Blues! I would have enjoyed listening to him then.

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Jim said...

I started to read the wikipedia link at work and lost track of time, I almost left to go home late.

George Townboy said...

Love these photos, and thanks for the history! I like the blues too.

Annie said...

I've always wondered if B. B. King named his guitar after W. C. Handy's first child. Do you know?

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

I wish I had that in my class room! :)

Annie said...

Wow, you are quick on the answers, Southern Heart. It wasn't Handy's child at all that inspired King's name for his guitar. (I'm a huge fan of B. B. King).

Fenrisar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
brian said...

very neat post.. i really like the angle looking up in the first photo. i work with jim, and i'm still laughing at his comment above..

George Townboy said...

That comment from fenrisar is evil, don't click on it. I had one earlier on my blog.

Kostas said...

Very good your blog.
With marvellously posts, beautiful photographs and comments with a lot of information.
Amazing current post!

Halcyon said...

Cool story. My husband and I may head up to Memphis the weekend of 21 March. Do you know if there's anything going on at that time? Of course, we'll take a stroll on Beale Street!