Yesterday, February 16, 2022, would have been the 106th birthday of R&B keyboard great Bill Doggett, whose 1956 hit "Honky Tonk" remains a major R&B and rock 'n' roll instrumental from the '50s, covered by James Brown, Buddy Holly, The Beach Boys, Bill Haley & The Comets, George Clinton Roy Clark and more.
Doggett was born in Philadelphia in 1916. A master of the piano and organ who played with several bands, Doggett got his first big break in 1942 when he was hired by The Ink Spots as their pianist and arranger. He'd later work as an arranger for the like of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton.
He formed his own band and started recording for Cincinnati's King Records in 1951. Doggett worked up to the age of 80. He died in New York in 1996.
In honor of his birthday, here are some of his songs. Let's start with "Night Train":
This one's called "Big Boy":
I don't know about Part 1, but here's "Smokey (Part 2)":
Finally, here's a live version of Doggett's greatest hit, live on French TV