Harry "The Hipster" Gibson

Decades: 1990s


Harry Raab, 1914, New York City, New York, USA, d. May 1991, California, USA. Gibson’s first job was playing piano in a band which included future jazz musicians such as Flip Phillips and Billy Bauer. At this time he was working under his real name, but later changed it when he formed a double act with singer Ruth Gibson. In the 40s he enjoyed a brief period of fame when he caught to perfection the attitudes, language and mannerisms of a generation of zoot-suited, streetwise hipsters. Much of Gibson’s nightclub act was built around his own compositions, which included gems such as ‘Who Put the Benzedrine In Mrs Murphy’s Ovaltine?’ and ‘Zoot Gibson Rides Again’. Gibson’s lyrics, and the patter with which he surrounded his songs, made a marked impression upon a succeeding generation of stand-up comedians; his peers included Lord Buckley and Lenny Bruce. Gibson’s troubled lifestyle was akin to that of Bruce and another...

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