Nov. 16: Birthday of The Father of the Blues

Wednesday, November 16th is the birthday of a man who gave musical voice to the universal feelings of millions of Americans. W. C. Handy, who became known as "The Father of the Blues, " was born in Florence, Alabama. He composed dozens of popular songs, but his most famous was The Saint Louis Blues. As a youth, Handy would go to the banks of the Tennessee River and listen to the laborers sing work songs and spirituals. Later, he would say that true American music came from African-Americans. Jazz, of which blues is a key element, has commanded a loyal following through the years. In the U.S., some 11 percent of adults go to a live jazz performance at least once a year about the same as those who attend plays and classical music concerts.

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