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HIGH SCHOOL DANCE

LARRY WILLIAMS

 

Born: May 10, 1935 in New Orleans, LA

Died: Jan 7, 1980 in Los Angeles, CA

Here is yet another great performer from New Orleans..

As a child in New Orleans Larry Williams learned how to play piano. He and his family moved to Oakland, CA, where he joined a local R & B group called the Lemon Drops. In 1954, when he was 19 years old, Williams returned to New Orleans for a visit. During the trip, he was introduced to Lloyd Price, who was recording for Specialty Records. Lloyd hired the teenager to be his valet and introduced him to Robert Blackwell, the label's producer. Soon, the label's owner, Art Rupe, signed Williams to a solo recording contract partially based on the fact that Williams had a sound quite similar to that of Little Richard who had decided to leave the recording industry and pursue a career in religion

Williams recorded "Short Fat Fannie," backed by "High School Dance" which shot to number one on the RB charts and number five on the pop charts in the summer of 1957. It was followed in the fall by "Bony Maronie," which hit number four on the RB charts and number 14 on the pop charts.

In 1959, Williams was arrested for selling narcotics, which caused Specialty to drop him from the record label.

In 1980, Williams was found dead in his Los Angeles home; he died of a gunshot wound to his head. The medical examiners determined the cause of death a suicide, but rumors persisted for years after his death that he was murdered because of his involvement in drugs, crime and -- "allegedly" -- prostitution.

 

Bopper Bob Hennessey

 

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