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Harry "The Hipster" Gibson

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Harry "the Hipster" Gibson, a talented if eccentric pianist/vocalist, had his brief moment of fame before fading into obscurity. He started out playing on 52nd Street as a stride pianist and in 1944 even performed "In a Mist" at an Eddie Condon Town Hall concert. But it was his crazy compositions (including "Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine," "Handsome Harry the Hipster," and "Stop That Dancin' Up There") and frantic singing style (predating rock & roll by a decade) that gave him an underground reputation. Gibson's definitive recordings were made for Musicraft in 1944 and 1947, and his unusual showmanship was captured on a few soundies during the period. However, Gibson's excessive drug use resulted in his quick decline after 1947. He did record a somewhat demented Christmas album in 1974 and some new songs for Progressive in 1986, but largely wasted his great potential. ~ Scott Yanow

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Birth Name:

Harry Raab


27 June 1915 in The Bronx, NY

Years Active:

'40s, '50s