Louis Jordan (July 8, 1908 - February 4, 1975) was a pioneering African-American jazz and rhythm & blues musician and songwriter who enjoyed his greatest popularity from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as “The King of the Jukebox”, Jordan was highly popular with both black and white audiences in the later years of the swing era.
Jordan was one of the first black recording artists whose popularity crossed over into the mainstream white audience and who scored hits on both the “race” charts and the mainstream white pop charts. He is now acknowledged as one of the most successful African-American musicians of the 20th century, ranking fifth in the list of the all-time most successful black recording artists.
Jordan scored at least four million-selling hits during his career, regularly topping the “race” charts, as well as scoring simultaneous Top Ten hits on the white pop charts on several occasions. Many of the songs he wrote or co-wrote have become 20th century popular music classics.
With his dynamic Tympany Five bands (which also pioneered the use of electric guitar and electric organ) Jordan largely mapped out the main parameters of the classic R&B, urban blues and early rock’n’roll genres with a series of hugely influential 78 rpm discs for the Decca label that presaged virtually all of the dominant black music styles of the 1950s and 1960s and which exerted a huge influence on many leading performers in these genres.