Wednesday 25 May 2022

Origins of Rock n' Roll: Big Jay McNeely, the "King of the Honkers".

Big Jay McNeely ripping things up at the Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles in 1953. Photo Credit:  Bob Willoughby.

Big Jay McNeely was one of the pioneers of "Jump Blues".

The "Jump Blues" genre, popularised by artists such as Louis Jordan and Big Joe Turner, was one of the music styles that would coalesce to form what came to be known as "Rock n' Roll".

Known as the "King of the Honkers", his patented "Jay Walk" had McNeely blasting his horn as he writhed his way around the stage on his back.

McNeely was popular during the 1950s up to the early 1960s. He left the music industry in 1971 to become a postman but returned to recording and touring during a blues revival in the early 1980s.

McNeely was born in 1927 and died in 2018.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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