Cab Calloway Photography

Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway was a gifted singer, dancer, actor and bandleader—a true vaudevillian showman and jazz legend known best for his energetic performances and flashy wardrobe. He was one of the most popular and successful black entertainers of the 1930s and ’40s, with a regular gig at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club.

Calloway’s highly regarded swing band was one of the top grossing acts in jazz. His 1931 hit “Minnie the Moocher” sold millions of copies worldwide and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Calloway was introduced to an entirely new generation of fans with his appearance in 1980’s classic comedy The Blues Brothers, re-creating this signature song in a traditional big-band style while sporting his trademark white tuxedo.

“The Hi-De-Ho Man” continued to perform into his 80s, including a memorable cameo in Janet Jackson’s 1990 “Alright” music video. In 1993, Calloway was presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton and was posthumously awarded Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. Calloway passed away in 1994 at the age of 86.

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