61 Facts About Cab Calloway

1.

Cabell Calloway III was an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, conductor, dancer, and actor.

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2.

Cab Calloway was associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem, where he was a regular performer and became a popular vocalist of the swing era.

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3.

Cab Calloway's band included trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie, Jonah Jones, and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon "Chu" Berry, guitarist Danny Barker, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Cozy Cole.

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4.

Cab Calloway had several hit records in the 1930s and 1940s, becoming known as the "Hi-de-ho" man of jazz for his most famous song, "Minnie the Moocher", originally recorded in 1931.

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5.

Cab Calloway reached the Billboard charts in five consecutive decades.

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6.

Cab Calloway made several stage, film, and television appearances until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.

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7.

Cab Calloway's career saw renewed interest when he appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

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8.

Cab Calloway was the first African-American musician to sell a million records from a single and to have a nationally syndicated radio show.

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9.

In 1993, Cab Calloway received the National Medal of Arts from the United States Congress.

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10.

Cab Calloway posthumously received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

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11.

Cab Calloway is inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame and the International Jazz Hall of Fame.

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12.

Cab Calloway was born in Rochester, New York, on December 25, 1907 to an African American family.

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13.

Cab Calloway's mother, Martha Eulalia Reed, was a Morgan State College graduate, teacher, and church organist.

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14.

Cab Calloway grew up in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Druid Hill.

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15.

Cab Calloway often skipped school to earn money by selling newspapers, shining shoes, and cooling down horses at the Pimlico racetrack where he developed an interest in racing and betting on horse races.

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16.

Cab Calloway resumed hustling when he returned to Baltimore and worked as a caterer while he improved his studies in school.

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17.

Cab Calloway began private vocal lessons in 1922, and studied music throughout his formal schooling.

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18.

Cab Calloway's mentors included drummer Chick Webb and pianist Johnny Jones.

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19.

Cab Calloway joined his high school basketball team, and in his senior year he started playing professional basketball with the Baltimore Athenians, a team in the Negro Professional Basketball League.

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20.

Cab Calloway graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1925.

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21.

In 1927, Cab Calloway joined his older sister, Blanche Cab Calloway, on tour for the popular black musical revue Plantation Days.

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22.

Cab Calloway's sister became an accomplished bandleader before him, and he often credited her as his inspiration for entering show business.

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23.

Cab Calloway's mother wanted him to be a lawyer like his father, so once the tour ended he enrolled at Crane College in Chicago, but he was more interested in singing and entertaining.

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24.

Cab Calloway spent most of his nights at Chicago's Dreamland Cafe, Sunset Cafe, and Club Berlin, performing as a singer, drummer, and master of ceremonies.

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25.

Cab Calloway established himself as a vocalist singing "Ain't Misbehavin'" by Fats Waller.

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26.

Cab Calloway appeared on radio programs with Walter Winchell and Bing Crosby and was the first African American to have a nationally syndicated radio show.

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27.

Cab Calloway performed the song and two others, "St James Infirmary Blues" and "The Old Man of the Mountain, " in the Betty Boop cartoons Minnie the Moocher, Snow-White (1933), and The Old Man of the Mountain (1933).

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28.

Cab Calloway performed voice-over for these cartoons, and through rotoscoping, his dance steps were the basis of the characters' movements.

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29.

Cab Calloway performed in the 1930s in a series of short films for Paramount.

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30.

Cab Calloway said 50 years later, "it was called The Buzz back then.

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31.

Cab Calloway made his first Hollywood feature film appearance opposite Al Jolson in The Singing Kid.

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32.

Cab Calloway sang several duets with Jolson, and the film included Calloway's band and 22 Cotton Club dancers from New York.

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33.

Cab Calloway's band recorded for Brunswick and the ARC dime-store labels from 1930 to 1932, when he signed with RCA Victor for a year.

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34.

Cab Calloway returned to Brunswick in late 1934 through 1936, then moved to Variety, run by his manager, Irving Mills.

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35.

Cab Calloway remained with Mills when the label collapsed during the Depression.

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36.

In 1941, Cab Calloway fired Gillespie from his orchestra after an onstage fracas erupted when Cab Calloway was hit with spitballs.

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37.

Cab Calloway wrongly accused Gillespie, who stabbed Calloway in the leg with a small knife.

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38.

The Cab Calloway Orchestra recorded songs full of social commentary including "Doing the Reactionary, " "The Fuhrer's Got the Jitters, " "The Great Lie, " "We'll Gather Lilacs, " and "My Lament for V Day.

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39.

In 1943, Cab Calloway appeared in the film Stormy Weather, one of the first mainstream Hollywood films with a black cast.

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40.

In March 1958, Cab Calloway released his album Cotton Club Revue of 1958 on Gone Records.

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41.

That year, Calloway appeared in the film St Louis Blues, the life story of W C Handy, featuring Nat King Cole and Eartha Kitt.

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42.

Cab Calloway remained a household name due to TV appearances and occasional concerts in the US and Europe.

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43.

Cab Calloway appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on March 19, 1967, with his daughter Chris Cab Calloway.

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44.

Cab Calloway was introduced to a new generation when he appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers performing "Minnie the Moocher".

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45.

In January 1990, Cab Calloway performed at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, with the Baltimore Symphony.

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46.

Cab Calloway was booked to headline "The Jazz Connection: The Jewish and African-American Relationship, " at New York City's Avery Fisher Hall in 1993, but he pulled out due to a fall at home.

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47.

In January 1927, Cab Calloway had a daughter named Camay with Zelma Proctor, a fellow student.

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48.

Cab Calloway's daughter was one of the first African-Americans to teach in a white school in Virginia.

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49.

Cab Calloway married his first wife Wenonah "Betty" Conacher in July 1928.

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50.

In 1952, Cab Calloway was arrested in Leesburg, Virginia on his way to the race track in Charles Town, West Virginia.

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51.

Cab Calloway was charged with speeding and attempted bribery of a policeman.

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52.

On June 12, 1994, Cab Calloway suffered a stroke at his home in Westchester County, New York.

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53.

Cab Calloway died five months later from pneumonia on November 18, 1994, a month before his 87th birthday, at a nursing home in Hockessin, Delaware.

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54.

Cab Calloway was survived by his wife, five daughters, and seven grandsons.

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55.

Cab Calloway was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.

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56.

Cab Calloway arguably did more things first and better than any other band leader of his generation.

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57.

In 1998, the Cab Calloway Orchestra directed by Calloway's grandson Chris "CB" Calloway Brooks was formed.

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58.

The Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation's executive director, however, said that properties in worse condition than the Cab Calloway House have been restored with financial support from a city tax credit program.

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59.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan urged that demolition of the Cab Calloway House be forestalled for its potential preservation as a historic house museum akin to the Louis Armstrong House in New York.

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60.

In 1990, Cab Calloway was presented with the Beacons in Jazz Award from The New School in New York City.

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61.

The Cab Calloway Stakes celebrated its 13th renewal on July 24, 2019, and was won by Rinaldi.

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