Tiny Bradshaw

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Tiny Bradshaw
Tiny Bradshaw.jpg
Bradshaw in 1942
Background information
Birth nameMyron Carlton Bradshaw [1]
Born(1907-09-23)September 23, 1907 [2] [3]
Youngstown, Ohio, United States
DiedNovember 26, 1958(1958-11-26) (aged 51)
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Genres Jazz, rhythm and blues
Occupation(s) Pianist, drummer, singer, songwriter, bandleader
Instrument(s) drums, piano
Years active19331958

Myron Carlton "Tiny" Bradshaw (September 23, 1907 – November 26, 1958) [4] was an American jazz and rhythm and blues bandleader, singer, composer, pianist, and drummer. [5] His biggest hit was "Well Oh Well" in 1950, and the following year he recorded "The Train Kept A-Rollin'", a song that was pivotal to the development of rock and roll. Bradshaw co-wrote and sang on both records.


Early years

Myron Carlton Bradshaw was born in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of Cicero P. Bradshaw and his wife Lillian Boggess. Bradshaw graduated from high school in Youngstown. [6] After graduating from Wilberforce University with a degree in psychology, Bradshaw turned to music for a living. [7] In Ohio, he sang and played drums with Horace Henderson's campus oriented Collegians. [7] [8] Then, in 1932, Bradshaw relocated to New York City, where he drummed for Marion Hardy's Alabamians, the Charleston Bearcats (later the Savoy Bearcats), and the Mills Blue Rhythm Band, and sang for Luis Russell. [5]


Tiny and saxophone players from his band, 1934. Tiny Bradshaw with saxophone players from his band.jpg
Tiny and saxophone players from his band, 1934.

In 1934, Bradshaw formed his own swing orchestra, which recorded eight sides in two separate sessions for Decca Records that year in New York City. [6] The band's next recording date was in 1944 for Manor Records, [6] at which point its music was closer to rhythm and blues. In 1947 Bradshaw recorded for Savoy Records under the auspices of label producer Teddy Reig. [6]

The band recorded extensively for the rhythm and blues market with King Records between late 1949 and early 1955, [5] [6] and had five hits on the Billboard R&B chart. His most successful record at the time was "Well Oh Well", which reached number two on the R&B chart in 1950 and remained on the chart for 21 weeks. Two follow-ups, "I'm Going To Have Myself A Ball" (no. 5, 1950) and "Walkin' The Chalk Line" (no. 10, 1951) also made the chart before a break of almost two years. [9]

What is now Bradshaw's best known recording was "The Train Kept A-Rollin'" (1951) not a chart hit at the time which passed from rhythm and blues history into rock's legacy. [5] The song was recorded by Johnny Burnette & The Rock and Roll Trio in 1956 and by The Yardbirds with Jeff Beck in 1965. It was covered again by Aerosmith in 1974 and by Motörhead in 1977. Furthermore, Jimmy Page reported in an interview that the first song played, at the very first rehearsal of what would become the English rock band Led Zeppelin was "The Train Kept A-Rollin'".

Bradshaw returned to the R&B chart in 1953 with "Soft" (no.3), an instrumental later recorded by Bill Doggett, and "Heavy Juice" (no.9). Both of these 1953 hits featured Red Prysock on tenor saxophone. [9]

Bradshaw's later career was hampered by severe health problems, including two strokes, the first in 1954, that left him partially paralyzed. He made a return to touring in 1958. [8] His last session that year resulted in two recordings, "Short Shorts" and "Bushes" (King 5114), [6] which proved an unsuccessful attempt to reach out to the emerging teenage record market.

Weakened by the successive strokes as well as the rigors of his profession, Bradshaw died in his adopted hometown of Cincinnati from another stroke in 1958. [4] He was 51 years old. [5]


Photograph of Tiny Bradshaw Maud Cuney Hare-137-Tiny Bradshaw.jpg
Photograph of Tiny Bradshaw

Bradshaw is remembered for a string of rhythm and blues hits. As a bandleader, he was an invaluable mentor to important musicians and arrangers including Sil Austin, Happy Caldwell, Shad Collins, Wild Bill Davis, Talib Dawud, Gil Fuller, Gigi Gryce, Big Nick Nicholas, Russell Procope, Red Prysock, Curley Russell, Calvin "Eagle Eye" Shields, Sonny Stitt, Noble "Thin Man" Watts, and Shadow Wilson. [5]



Decca Records

Regis Records

Manor Records

Savoy Records

King Records

Compilation albums

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  1. ASCAP Biographical Dictionary. Fourth edition. Compiled for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers by Jaques Cattell Press. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1980
  2. Ohio, Death Index, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, 1968-2007. (www.familysearch.org) Certificate No. 78528 Myron Bradshaw entry. Vol. No. 15588
  3. Some sources give his year of birth as 1905, but this appears to be an error. Brother Norman Bradshaw was born 9 March 1905 in Youngstown, OH [Ohio, County Births, 1856-1909 (www.familysearch.org) entry for Norman Bradshaw, Vol. 8 page 168]. This makes it highly unlikely that Myron was born a mere five months later in September of 1905. Also, census data provides Myron's age in both the 1910 and 1920 census with an estimated birth year of 1907. Myron's birth record remains elusive. His death record, as cited earlier, indicates a birth year of 1907.
  4. 1 2 "The Dead Rock Stars Club - The 50s and earlier". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Tiny Bradshaw". Brad's Blues. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Mohr, Kurt. 1961. Discography of Tiny Bradshaw. Jazz-Publications. Reinach, Switzerland. 16pp.
  7. 1 2 "Bradshaw Biography". Oldies.com. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
  8. 1 2 Biography by Scott Yanow at AllMusic. Retrieved 3 April 2013
  9. 1 2 Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 43.