Professor Longhair

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Professor Longhair (pseudonym of Henry Roeland Byrd)

(1918–80) blues musician; born in Bogalusa, La. As a pianist and singer, he was an innovator of postwar New Orleans rhythm-and-blues. He worked outside music as a stuntman, dancer, boxer, and gambler until 1947, when he formed his first band. In 1949, he made several recordings in his prototypical style, but performed only sporadically for the next two decades. In 1971, his appearances at major festivals in New York and New Orleans led to a renewal of touring and recording activity, which he maintained until his death.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.