Joe Hill Louis Biography

Lester Hill, 23 September 1921, Whitehaven Tennessee, USA, d. 5 August 1957, Memphis, USA. Hill learned blues harmonica from Will Shade as a teenager and was given the name Joe Hill Louis after victory in a boxing match. He performed in Memphis in the late 40s, where he became known as ‘The Be-Bop Boy’, and developed a one-man band act with guitar, foot-drum and harmonica. Louis’ first recordings were made for Columbia Records in 1949 before he took over B.B. King’s radio spot as the Pepticon Boy on WDIA in Memphis. This led to ‘Boogie In The Park’, a single produced by Sam Phillips for his short-lived Phillips label in 1950. Next, Phillips signed Louis to the Bihari Brothers’ Modern Records label, for which ‘I Feel Like A Million’ was a local hit. By 1952, Phillips was recording him with a backing group on tracks such as ‘We All Gotta Go Sometime’, and also used Louis to accompany such artists as the Prisonaires and Rufus Thomas, for whose ‘Tiger Man’ (1953) he supplied a scintillating guitar solo. There were other tracks for Checker Records, Meteor and Ace. His final records were made for House Of Sound shortly before his death from tetanus in Memphis in August 1957.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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