Jump, boogie, and let the good times roll! Louis Jordan was a
swinging musician who played "jazz with a broad grin." On December 21, 1946,
Jordan's single, "Let the Good Times Roll," debuted on the rhythm-and-blues
(R&B) charts. Over the next 22 weeks, the recording stayed near the top of the
chart, occupying the Number 2 spot for four weeks.
Do you play a musical instrument? Louis Jordan
started playing saxophone at the age of 7. As a teenager, he toured
with the famed Rabbit Foot Minstrels and backed blues singers,
including Bessie Smith. What was next for this talented musician?
By 1938, Jordan headed his own band--Louis Jordan
and His Tympany Five. His goal was to create music that appealed to
all people. From 1943 until 1950, his singles topped the R&B chart
more than 25 percent of the time. Fifteen of those hits crossed over
to the pop charts.
Jordan combined musical innovation with humor and
jive talk. "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" ranked Number 1 on
the R&B charts for 17 weeks. This excellent saxophonist and talented
entertainer appeared in films and recorded with prominent artists,
including Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Unfortunately, the next decade had something else in store for the
While Jordan introduced jump blues and
boogie-woogie to the masses in the 1940s, his career was not
successful in the 1950s. Repeated attempts to stage a comeback
If you've never heard a Louis Jordan recording,
you have certainly heard his style. Jordan influenced a wide range
of performers, most notably Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, and Bill
Haley. Among many others who have played his music are Woody
Herman, Muddy Waters, B. B. King, and Eric Clapton. Jordan was
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio,
1987, 12 years after he died.