Shorty Long Biography

Frederick Earl Long, 20 May 1940, Birmingham, Alabama, USA, d. 29 June 1969, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Multi-instrumentalist Long received tutelage from W.C. Handy and Alvin Robinson before joining Harvey Fuqua’s Tri-Phi label in 1961. This Detroit-based company was later acquired by Motown Records and Long acted as master of ceremonies on his new outlet’s touring revues before recording ‘Devil With A Blue Dress On’ in 1964 for the Motown subsidiary Soul. The singer’s slow, blues-based interpretation was not a hit, but the song became successful in the hands of Mitch Ryder and Bruce Springsteen. Long enjoyed minor chart entries with ‘Function At The Junction’ (1966) and ‘Night Fo’ Last’ (1968), before reaching the US Top 5 in 1968 with a version of ‘Here Comes The Judge’. His premature death as a result of a boating accident on the Detroit River robbed Motown of an ebullient talent.

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

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