Lead Belly

Lead Belly

The deeply influential pioneer of American roots music.

Founded

January 23, 1888 in Mooringsport, Louisiana

Full Name

Huddie William Ledbetter

Date of Birth

January 23, 1888 in Mooringsport, Louisiana

Still Alive

Date of Death

December 6, 1949 in New York, New York

Influenced By

Traditional southern folk music

Leadbelly
Leadbelly

About The artist

"Somebody, somebody I’d never seen before, handed me a Lead Belly record with the song 'Cotton Fields' on it. And that record changed my life right then and there. Transported me into a world I’d never known. It was like an explosion went off. It was like somebody laid hands on me."
Bob Dylan

Did you know...

In 1918, he killed a man in a fight and was sentenced to thirty years in prison. In 1925, he wrote a song asking Texas Governor Pat Neff for a pardon. Neff, who had promised never to pardon a prisoner, broke his promise and set Huddie Ledbetter free.

Other Artists from this genre

Elizabeth Cotten

Elizabeth Cotten

A folk guitar master. She won her first Grammy at age 90.

DeFord Bailey

DeFord Bailey

He rose above many hardships to become a country icon.

Lesley Riddle

Lesley Riddle

An instrumental figure in the birth of country music.

Charley Pride

Charley Pride

The Jackie Robinson of country music.

Linda Martell

Linda Martell

The trailblazing Black female country star.

Genres from this era

Blues

Blues

Born in the Mississippi Delta.

Jazz

Jazz

Born in New Orleans with roots in ragtime and the blues.

Country & Folk

Country & Folk

Black musical tradition is a part of its core.

Gospel

Gospel

The progeny of spirituals and cousin to the blues.