Born on July 8, 1908 in Brinkley, Arkansas, Louis Jordan was a pioneering jazz, blues, R&B musician, songwriter and band leader. Jordan studied music under his father and during his youth played in his father’s bands. In 1932, Jordan moved to New York City and in 1936 joined the influential Savoy Ballroom orchestra where he played until 1938. Jordan’s first recording was in 1938 and over his career he had at least four million-selling hits, including “G.I. Jive” (1944), “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby” (1944), “Caldonia” (1945), and “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” (1946).
During the 1940s, Jordan had 18 number one and 54 top ten singles on the “race charts.” His records spent 113 weeks at number one, the most by any black recording artist to this day.
The United States Postal Service featured Jordan and the film Caldonia on a postage stamp and the 1992 Broadway show, “Five Guys Named Moe” was devoted to Jordan’s music. Jordan was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1975 and in 2008 the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Jordan on the centenary of his birth. Jordan died February 4, 1975.
The Akosua Report: Facts on The African Diaspora, is written by Akosua Lowery. Follow her on Twitter @AkosuaLowery.