W.C. Handy

W.C. Handy

Composer of “The St. Louis Blues."

Founded

November 16, 1873 in Florence, Alabama

Full Name

William Christopher Handy

Date of Birth

November 16, 1873 in Florence, Alabama

Still Alive

Date of Death

March 28, 1958 in Memphis, Tennessee

Influenced By

Spirituals, Minstrel Shows

Later Influenced

Blues and jazz artists who followed him.

W.C. Handy, center rear, with his Memphis Orchestra c. 1918.
W.C. Handy, center rear, with his Memphis Orchestra c. 1918.

About The artist

W.C. Handy changed the course of popular music by integrating the blues into then-popular ragtime music. He brought Southern Black music into the mainstream by copyrighting old songs along with his new compositions.

Did you know...

As a young child, Handy displayed a keen interest in music and his intuitive ear could catalog the musical notes of songbirds, the whistles from nearby river boats, and even the rhythms of the Tennessee River.

Other Artists from this genre

Scott Joplin

Scott Joplin

The King of Ragtime.

Jelly Roll Morton

Jelly Roll Morton

A pivotal artist during the transition from ragtime to jazz.

Genres from this era

Ragtime

Ragtime

A uniquely American syncopated music and precursor to jazz.