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Huey "Piano" Smith

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Huey “Piano” Smith (born January 26, 1934, New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American rhythm and blues pianist whose sound was influential in rock and roll.

His piano playing incorporated the boogie styles of Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons; the jazz style of Jelly Roll Morton and the piano playing of Fats Domino. Allmusic journalist, Steve Huey, also noted “At the peak of his game, Smith epitomized New Orleans R&B at its most infectious and rollicking, as showcased on his classic signature tune, “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu.”

Smith was born in New Orleans’ Garden District, and was influenced by New Orleans’ piano innovator, Professor Longhair. He became known for his shuffling right-handed break on the piano that influenced other Southern players.

Smith wrote his first song on the piano, “Roberson Street Boogie” (named after the street where he lived), when he was only eight years old, and performed the tune with a friend. They billed themselves as Slick and Dark. Smith attended McDowell High and Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. When Smith was fifteen he began working in clubs and recording records with his flamboyant partner, Eddie Jones, who rose to fame as Guitar Slim. When he was eighteen, in 1952, he signed a recording contract with Savoy Records, which released his first known single, “You Made Me Cry”. In 1953 Smith recorded with Earl King.

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