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Wild Bill Moore


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Wild Bill Moore (William M. Moore, Houston, Texas, June 13, 1918 – August 1, 1983 Los Angeles, California) was an American rhythm & blues tenor saxophonist.

Living in Detroit, he was Michigan’s amateur Golden Gloves light heavyweight champion in 1937, and turned professional for a while, but also played the alto saxophone. By 1944 he had switched to tenor, influenced by Chu Berry and Illinois Jacquet, and made his first recordings with Christine Chatman, the wife of Memphis Slim. The following year he began performing and recording in Los Angeles with Slim Gaillard, Jack McVea, Joe Turner, Dexter Gordon and others, including playing on Helen Humes’ hit record “Be-Baba-Leba”.
In 1947 he moved back to Detroit and began recording with his own band, which included baritone player Paul Williams, later famous for “The Hucklebuck”. In December of that year he recorded “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll”, for the Savoy label. The record was a modest hit, and is remembered today as one of many candidates for “the first rock and roll record”. It was one of the first records played by Alan Freed on his “Moondog” radio shows in 1951. However, by the standards of its time it was quite a primitive recording, notable mainly for the juxtaposition of the words “rock” and “roll”, and the battling saxophones of Moore and Williams. In 1949 he cut “Rock And Roll”, reportedly featuring Scatman Crothers on vocals.


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