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*Roy Brown was born on this date in 1920. He was a Black singer.
From New Orleans, Louisiana, his mother was an accomplished singer and organist in church. This was instrumental in why Brown started as a gospel singer. After a move to Los Angeles, California, in the 1940s and a brief period spent as a professional boxer, he won a singing contest in 1945 at The Million Dollar Theater singing "There's No You." In 1946 he moved to Galveston, Texas, singing in clubs; he returned to New Orleans in 1947.
Soon Brown got an introduction to the president of Deluxe Records, who signed him. ‘Good Rockin Tonight’ was released in 1947 and reached no. 13 on Billboard's R&B charts. Brown's version was a jump blues with a swing beat. He and his band "The Mighty Men" were spectacular performers, with the kind of crowd-pleasing stage histrionics for which Little Richard would soon be famous. Unfortunately, tastes changed, and Brown could not keep up.
The decline of his fortunes coincided with his successfully winning a lawsuit against King Records for unpaid royalties in 1952, one of the few Black musicians to do so in the 1950s. This has led some to believe that Brown may have been blacklisted. His popularity was at its lowest at the end of the 1950s, but he found work through the 1960s.
In 1970 Brown closed The Johnny Otis Show at the Monterey Jazz Festival. As a result of the crowd reaction, he recorded "Love For Sale." In the late 1970s, a compilation of LPs of his old work brought about a minor revival of interest. In 1978 he had a successful tour in Scandinavia. From 1980 until shortly before his death, he was on a major upswing, performing at the Whisky A Go-Go in West Hollywood, California, and headlining the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival during the spring of 1981.
Brown's legacy, in part, was that he brought a soul-singing gospel music style to the emerging rock and roll genre. Roy Brown died on May 25, 1981.
ASCAP Biographical Dictionary
R. R. Bowker Co., Copyright 1980