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Dave Bartholomew, Rock & Roll Pioneer, Dies At 100
Multitalented bandleader, composer, arranger, and record producer Dave Bartholemew died at the age of 100. Bartholomew produced and co-wrote several chart-topping hits with fellow New Orleans native Fats Domino, including "Ain't That A Shame," "I'm Walkin'," and "Let The Four Winds Blow," as well as songs recorded and performed by Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and more.
Born in Edgard, La.. in 1918, Bartholomew grew up listening to Louis Armstrong on the only radio in his town and dreaming of playing music. He began gigging around New Orleans at age 15 and became to one of the most popular bandleaders in town early in his career. His path crossed with Fats Domino during, and the two began a collaboration that produced some of the most influential music to come out of New Orleans at that time
“We never sat down to write anything,” Bartholomew said of working with Domino, according to The Times-Picayune. “He and I just played. If we started a song and we got lost… I remember one time on ‘I’m in Love Again,’ we went outside and somebody said, ‘Don’t let the dog bite you.’ So we come back and put that in the song. We always had an awful lot of rhythm in our world, plus the blues, and New Orleans being known for its second-line, we considered that, too. With that, and what we added to it, we were very lucky. It went over big.”
Bartholomew also handled brass arrangemenents for Domino's ubiquitous hits "Blueberry Hill" and "My Blue Heaven," and wrote Berry's No. 1 hit "My Ding-A-Ling, Dr. John's "Blue Monday," which was also recorded by Holly, and "Witchcraft," a hit by the Spiders later recorded by Presley.
For his sizable contributions to the formation of rock and roll, Bartholomew was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 as the recipient of the Ahmet Ertegun Award. He's also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and, in 2012, was the recipient of the Recording Academy Trustees Award.
Farewell to the great Dave Bartholomew.
Still cannot believe we ever met, let alone performed together - MSG 2005. Rest well with respect and condolences to family and friends and give thanks for all he gave us.https://t.co/xyF9qIPprp pic.twitter.com/C7NW1saWnD
— Elvis Costello (@ElvisCostello) June 23, 2019
The late Dr. John, who passed away earlier this month at age 77, once wrote, "Guys like Dave Bartholomew come along once in a lifetime. Dave gave breaks to so many fantastic artists, from Fats Domino and Smiley Lewis to Johnny Fuller, Pee Wee Crayton, and Snooks Eaglin, and great musicians like Pappa Yellow "Tuts" Washington, Allen Toussaint, Huey Smith, James Booker, and Edward Franks. The list of musicians who played in his band and who he opened doors for is endless."
Bartholomew died on June 23 at a New Orleans-area hospital. His son, Dave Bartholomew Jr., told Associated Press, "His body simply broke down. Daddy was 100 years and six months old. It was just that time,”
"A rock and roll pioneer, Bartholomew's innovative approach to his craft helped define the New Orleans sound and establish the metropolis as one of our nation's great music cities," sais Neil Portnow, Recording Academy President/CEO. "Bartholomew's impactful contributions to the field of recording were recognized by the Recording Academy when he was selected as a Trustees Award recipient in 2012. He has eternally influenced rock and roll music, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations of musicians for years to come."