Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Larry Williams :Bad Boy


Larry Williams is one of the almost forgotten fathers of rock and roll. Williams, a pianist, had a number of huge hits during the mid-Fifties as rock and roll was beginning to dominate American popular music. Several of Williams’ songs would be recorded by more famous bands and singers, and become forever associated with them. The Beatles recorded Williams’ songs, “Slow Down,” “Bad Boy,” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” during the earliest phase of their recording career.

Williams was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1935. He made his recording debut in 1957 for Specialty Records with a ballad, “Just Because.” Williams’ forte, however, was up-tempo rockers, and he scored a hit later the same year with the rocker, “Bonie Maronie.” A slew of hits would soon follow including, “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” Bad Boy,” and “Short Fat Fanny.”

Williams didn’t enjoy much success after 1957, and he fell back into the underworld life of drug-peddling that consumed much of his time prior to his music career. In the mid-Sixties, he made a comeback with an R&B band which included guitarist Johnny Guitar Watson, and he produced a couple of albums for his friend, Little Richard.

This success would not last as his drug addiction kept dragging him down. In 1977, he pulled a gun on Little Richard and threatened to kill him over a drug debt. Shortly thereafter, Williams was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head, in his Los Angeles home. His death was officially deemed a suicide. He was 44-years-old at the time of his demise.

Williams’ best recordings are found on the albums, “Here’s Larry Williams” (1959), “The Larry Williams Show (ft. Johnny Guitar Watson)” (1965), and “The Best of Larry Williams” (1988).
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