|Single by Professor Longhair
|"In The Night"
|New Orleans blues
"Tipitina" is a song written and made famous by Professor Longhair. The song has been widely covered, and the Professor Longhair version was recorded in 1953 for Atlantic Records. "Tipitina" was first released in 1953. A previously unreleased alternate take (also recorded in 1953) was released on the album New Orleans Piano in 1972. Although the nature of his contributions are unknown, recording engineer Cosimo Matassa is listed as the song's co-writer along with Roy Byrd, Professor Longhair's legal name.
The song, which is considered a New Orleans music standard, was added to the US National Recording Registry in 2011 because of its cultural significance. The subject of "Tipitina" is unknown. According to an interview and a recording by Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) played at the WWOZ Piano Night concert in 2020, Tipitina was a type of or name of a bird. Rebennack said he had never heard of that before or since. The New Orleans music venue, Tipitina's, was named for the song,and Tipitina's Foundation bears the Tipitina name.
Pianist Henry Roeland "Roy" Byrd, known as Professor Longhair, was a prominent New Orleans musician. He played syncopated music that combined blues, ragtime, zydeco, rhumba, mambo and calypso. His singing was characterized as hoarse. His peripatetic recording career began in 1949 with "Mardi Gras In New Orleans" and "She's Got No Hair" with a group credited as "Longhair and his Shuffling Hungarians." A year later at Mercury Records and Roy Byrd & his Blues Jumpers rerecorded "She's Got No Hair" as "Bald Head", which broke through as his only national R&B hit. In 1953, at Atlantic Records, he recorded "Tipitina",which is now regarded as his "signature song".
The melody is derived from Champion Jack Dupree's "Junker's Blues".Rolling Stone described the song as a "rhumba-style track" that has become a quintessential New Orleans standard. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which inducted Longhair in 1992, "The hum-along nonsense syllables and stutter stepping left-hand rhythm of 'Tiptina' is both a symbol and staple of New Orleans music."
Allen Toussaint described learning the song as a "rite of passage".The subject of the song is unknown. Among the speculated subjects are a place and a person. Hugh Laurie recorded a cover of the song around the time of its selection to the National Recording Registry. He commented about the mystery as follows: "I thought it was better not knowing. It adds to its mystique and its power to make me laugh and cry all in one go."
The song became a hit in New Orleans after its initial release, but was not as successful in the rest of the United States.The 1953 Professor Longhair version and the 1972 Dr. John version are both considered "Classic non Hot 100 songs".
In 2011, the song was included in the National Recording Registry.Byrd received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for this song. The song was listed among the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock in 1994 by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The song was also listed in the 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time and the Artists, Stories and Secrets Behind Them (2006) by Toby Creswell as well as the Rock Song Index: The 7500 Most Important Songs for the Rock and Roll Era (2005) by Bruce Pollock.
The National Recording Registry announcement for this song said the song is "a signature distillation of the musical ideas and personality that inspired and influenced such New Orleans pianists as Fats Domino, Huey "Piano" Smith, James Booker, Dr. John and Allen Toussaint".According to Creswell, "Tipitina" "marshalled New Orleans rhythm into a sparkling package".
The song has been widely covered as well as multiply recorded by Professor Longhair himself.
The original Professor Longhair version was recorded in New Orleans in November 1953 under the name Professor Longhair & His Blues Scholars. : a bio-discography, performers included Roy Byrd (vocals, piano), Lee Allen (tenor saxophone), Frank Fields (bass), Earl Palmer (drums), and Alvin "Red" Tyler (baritone saxophone). However, the Atlantic Records Discography credits Edgar Blanchard as the bassist. It was released as a single in 1953. This version is included on several albums including the CD reissue of the 1972 album New Orleans Piano, which contains the single take released in 1953 as well as the alternate take first released on the 1972 vinyl LP. Other albums that include this version are Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Piano Blues (2003) and Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens (2004).According to John Crosby's Professor Longhair
Henry Roeland "Roy" Byrd, better known as Professor Longhair or "Fess" for short, was an American singer and pianist who performed New Orleans blues. He was active in two distinct periods, first in the heyday of early rhythm and blues and later in the resurgence of interest in traditional jazz after the founding of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1970. His piano style has been described as "instantly recognizable, combining rumba, mambo, and calypso".
Willie Hall, best known by his nickname Drive 'Em Down, was a New Orleans blues and boogie woogie piano player. He never recorded, but has had a great influence on blues and rock and roll.
Earl Silas Johnson IV, known as Earl King, was an American singer, guitarist, and songwriter, most active in blues music. A composer of blues standards such as "Come On" and "Big Chief", he was an important figure in New Orleans R&B.
Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., better known by his stage name Dr. John, was an American singer and songwriter. His music combined New Orleans blues, jazz, funk, and R&B.
Allen Richard Toussaint was an American musician, songwriter, arranger, and record producer. He was an influential figure in New Orleans rhythm and blues from the 1950s to the end of the century, described as "one of popular music's great backroom figures." Many musicians recorded Toussaint's compositions. He was a producer for hundreds of recordings: the best known are "Right Place, Wrong Time", by longtime friend Dr. John, and "Lady Marmalade" by Labelle.
Lee Francis Allen was an American tenor saxophone player. Phil Alvin, Allen's bandmate in The Blasters, called him one of the most important instrumentalists in rock'n'roll. Allen's distinctive tone has been hailed as "one of the defining sounds of rock'n'roll" and "one of the DNA strands of rock."
The "Mess Around" is a song written by Ahmet Ertegun, co-founder and then-vice-president of Atlantic Records, under the pseudonym of A. Nugetre, or "Nuggy". It was performed by Ray Charles, and was one of Charles's first hits.
New Orleans Piano is a 1972 album by Professor Longhair. It consists of material recorded in 1949 and 1953, including tracks previously released by Atlantic Records.
Huey Pierce Smith, known as Huey "Piano" Smith, was an American rhythm-and-blues pianist whose sound was influential in the development of rock and roll.
Fird Eaglin Jr., known as Snooks Eaglin, was an American guitarist and singer based in New Orleans. In his early years he was sometimes credited under other names, including Blind Snooks Eaglin, "Lil" Snook, Ford Eaglin, Blind Guitar Ferd.
New Orleans blues is a subgenre of blues that developed in and around the city of New Orleans, influenced by jazz and Caribbean music. It is dominated by piano and saxophone, but also produced guitar bluesmen.
Isidore "Tuts" Washington was an American blues pianist from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.
"Junco Partner", also known as "Junco Partner (Worthless Man)", is a blues song first recorded by James Waynes in 1951. It has been recorded and revised by many other artists over several decades, including Louis Jordan, Michael Bloomfield, Dr. John, Professor Longhair, James Booker, Hugh Laurie, and The Clash. It has been covered in various genres of music including blues, folk, rock, reggae, and dub.
Alfred "Uganda" Roberts was an American conga/percussion player.
Junker Blues is a piano blues song first recorded in 1940 by Champion Jack Dupree. It formed the basis of several later songs including the 1949 "The Fat Man" by Fats Domino and the 1952 "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" by Lloyd Price. The song is about a drug user's conflict with life and the law, makes references to cocaine, "needles", "reefers", and life in the penitentiary, and contains admonishments against the use of hard drugs.
"Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu" is a song written and originally recorded by Huey 'Piano' Smith in 1957, who scored a minor Billboard hit with it, peaking at No.52 on the Top 100 chart, and a more successful No.5 on the Most Played R&B by Jockeys chart.
This is the discography for American R&B-jazz musician Allen Toussaint.
"Go to the Mardi Gras" or "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" is a New Orleans Mardi Gras-themed R&B song that was performed by Professor Longhair and recorded several times since 1949. He co-wrote the song with Theresa Terry. The song was covered by Fats Domino and released as a single in 1953. It is now considered an iconic festive song of the New Orleans Carnival season.
House Party New Orleans Style is a compilation album by the American musician Professor Longhair, released in 1987. The tracks were originally intended for Atlantic Records; the recording sessions were among Professor Longhair's first after his live show comeback in the early 1970s.
Sumter Joseph "Cha Cha" Hogan, sometimes credited as "Mr. Ink Spot" or "The Black Foxx", was an American comedian, musician, songwriter, and civil-rights activist.