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Billy Wright - JPop.com
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Billy Wright

Billy Wright

Billy Wright


Billy Wright (May 21, 1932 – October 28, 1991) was an American jump blues singer. Billy Wright was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Throughout his career, he was known as the "Prince of the Blues." He was a key figure in Atlanta blues after World War II and had a major influence on rock and roll pioneer Little Richard, whom he helped get his first recording contract. He recorded his last recordings in 1959. He continued to do shows around Atlanta until he suffered a stroke Read more on Last.fm
Billy Wright (May 21, 1932 – October 28, 1991) was an American jump blues singer. Billy Wright was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Throughout his career, he was known as the "Prince of the Blues." He was a key figure in Atlanta blues after World War II and had a major influence on rock and roll pioneer Little Richard, whom he helped get his first recording contract. He recorded his last recordings in 1959. He continued to do shows around Atlanta until he suffered a stroke, and then died of a pulmonary embolism, just before his 1991 Halloween Show at the Royal Peacock in Atlanta. Billy Wright was a somewhat obscure southern rhythm & blues artist who lived in Atlanta GA and recorded over 30 songs for the Savoy and Regent labels, several of which were regional hit singles beginning in 1949. He was also known as an out gay drag performer, popular on the bawdy 'tent show queen' circuit, and was a major influence on Little Richard, recommending Little Richard to RCA for his first recording contract. Little Richard, wrote of Wright, "I thought he was the most fantastic entertainer I had ever seen.

His gospel-style-blues shouting and crying made a tremendous mark on performers in and around Atlanta...Billy had four top ten R&B hits in 1949-1951 ... His makeup was really something. I found out what it was and started using it myself. It was called Pancake 31.” Wright regularly performed at venues around Atlanta, like the Poinciana, the Congo, the Zanzibar, 81 Club, the Peacock as well as rhythm and blues revues at the City Auditorium, Piedmont and Harlem Theaters.

Wright toured, and was well known on the R&B circuit during the early 50's at venues like The Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans, the Howard in Washington D.C., the Bronze Peacock in Houston and as far as The Apollo Theater in New York. Herman Lubinsky's Savoy imprint dropped him in 1954, and he made a few more recordings for Duke Robey's Peacock before he retired from the road. Wright hosted drag revue shows around Atlanta in the 1970's, until he was felled by a series of strokes in the 1980's. He lived long enough to see his out of print recordings reissued to a new niche of fans who could appreciate the pioneering role he had played with his raucous, gender bending blues of the late 40's and early 50's. Read more on Last.fm.

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