If you think that the answer to the question: “Who is the jukebox king in the USA” is Elvis Presley, think again. While Elvis has definitely made a lot of contributions to the jukebox era, he isn’t the one with the title. Louis Thomas Jordan is actually considered to be the Jukebox King of the country.
Early Life of Louis Thomas Jordan
Jordan was born on the 8th of July 1908. His hometown, which was Brinkley, Arkansas, was where his father, James Aaron Jordan, was working as a local music teacher, the Brinkley Brass Band’s bandleader, and the Rabbit Foot Minstrels’s bandleader as well. Adell, his mother, died when he was still very young.
With his father being involved in music, Jordan studied it and began learning how to play the clarinet. During his youth, he played with the bands of his feather rather than performing farm chores. He was also a professional pianist during the earlier stages of his musical career. However, he considered the alto saxophone as his main musical instrument. With his talent, skills, and motivation, Louis Thomas Jordan became a well-known songwriter, vocalist, and entertainer.
Musical Career of the Jukebox King
Louis Thomas Jordan became a pioneering American bandleader, musician, and songwriter. The peak of his popularity and fame started out in the late 30s all the way to the early 50s. He was given the title of “The King of the Jukebox”, what with his audience being comprised of both white and black Americans during the swing era’s later years. In 2004, the Rolling Stone magazine gave him the number 59 spot on its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list.
Commercial Success Achieved by Jordan
Louis Thomas Jordan then came to release more than a dozen hit songs, many of which have been included in lists of the top jukebox hits of all time. These songs include his swinging hit titled “Saturday Night Fish Fry”, which is actually one of the most powerful and earliest contenders for the “First Rock and Roll Record” title, the “Blue Light Boogie”, the classic “Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens”, “Ain’t That Just Like a Woman, “Buzz Me”, and of course, the multi-million selling hit titled “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”.
One of the biggest and most popular hits of the US jukebox king was “Caldonia”. The song is characterized by the screaming and full-of-energy punchline, the lyrics of which were being banged out by the entire band. The lyrics, by the way, goes like this: “Caldonia! Caldonia! What makes your big head so hard?”
After Louis Thomas Jordan enjoyed much success with the song, Caldonia was recorded by none other than Woody Herman. He did so in a more modern arrangement though, which included a unison chorus made by five trumpets. Muddy Waters also made his own version of the hit song.
The King of the Jukebox – Thomas Louis Jordan
With so many hit songs under his belt, there is no question that Thomas Louis Jordan is the king of jukebox in USA. The prime of his recording career was between the years 1942 and 1950, which makes him even more impressive since it was during this time that segregation on the radio was happening.