Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway

Overview
Cabell "Cab" Calloway III (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994) was an American jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 singer and bandleader
Bandleader
A bandleader is the leader of a band of musicians. The term is most commonly, though not exclusively, used with a group that plays popular music as a small combo or a big band, such as one which plays jazz, blues, rhythm and blues or rock and roll music....

. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club
Cotton Club
The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem, New York City that operated during Prohibition that included jazz music. While the club featured many of the greatest African American entertainers of the era, such as Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Adelaide Hall, Count Basie, Bessie Smith,...

 in Harlem
Harlem
Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 where he was a regular performer.

Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing
Scat singing
In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice.- Structure and syllable choice...

 and led one of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

' most popular African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 big band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

s from the start of the 1930s through the late 1940s. Calloway's band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, singer, and composer dubbed "the sound of surprise".Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz...

 and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster
Ben Webster
Benjamin Francis Webster , a.k.a. "The Brute" or "Frog," was an influential American jazz tenor saxophonist. Webster, born in Kansas City, Missouri, was considered one of the three most important "swing tenors" along with Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young...

 and Leon "Chu" Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker
Danny Barker
Danny Barker , born Daniel Moses Barker, was a jazz banjoist, singer, guitarist, songwriter, ukelele player and author from New Orleans, founder of the locally famous Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band...

, and bassist Milt Hinton
Milt Hinton
Milton John "Milt" Hinton , "the dean of jazz bass players," was an American jazz double bassist and photographer. He was nicknamed "The Judge".-Biography:...

.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Cab Calloway'
Start a new discussion about 'Cab Calloway'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Cabell "Cab" Calloway III (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994) was an American jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 singer and bandleader
Bandleader
A bandleader is the leader of a band of musicians. The term is most commonly, though not exclusively, used with a group that plays popular music as a small combo or a big band, such as one which plays jazz, blues, rhythm and blues or rock and roll music....

. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club
Cotton Club
The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem, New York City that operated during Prohibition that included jazz music. While the club featured many of the greatest African American entertainers of the era, such as Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Adelaide Hall, Count Basie, Bessie Smith,...

 in Harlem
Harlem
Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 where he was a regular performer.

Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing
Scat singing
In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice.- Structure and syllable choice...

 and led one of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

' most popular African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 big band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

s from the start of the 1930s through the late 1940s. Calloway's band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, singer, and composer dubbed "the sound of surprise".Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz...

 and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster
Ben Webster
Benjamin Francis Webster , a.k.a. "The Brute" or "Frog," was an influential American jazz tenor saxophonist. Webster, born in Kansas City, Missouri, was considered one of the three most important "swing tenors" along with Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young...

 and Leon "Chu" Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker
Danny Barker
Danny Barker , born Daniel Moses Barker, was a jazz banjoist, singer, guitarist, songwriter, ukelele player and author from New Orleans, founder of the locally famous Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band...

, and bassist Milt Hinton
Milt Hinton
Milton John "Milt" Hinton , "the dean of jazz bass players," was an American jazz double bassist and photographer. He was nicknamed "The Judge".-Biography:...

. Calloway continued to perform until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.

Early years


Cab Calloway was born in a middle-class family in Rochester, New York
Rochester, New York
Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. Known as The World's Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City...

, on Christmas Day in 1907 and lived there until 1918, on Sycamore Street. He was later raised in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, Cabell Calloway II, was a lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 and his mother, Martha Eulalia Reed, was a teacher and church organist. When Cab was young, he enjoyed singing in church. His parents recognized their son's musical talent and he began private voice lessons in 1922. He continued to study music and voice throughout his formal schooling. Despite his parents' and vocal teachers' disapproval of jazz, Calloway began frequenting and eventually performing in many of Baltimore's jazz clubs, where he was mentored by drummer Chick Webb
Chick Webb
William Henry Webb, usually known as Chick Webb was an American jazz and swing music drummer as well as a band leader.-Biography:...

 and pianist Johnny Jones.

After graduating from Frederick Douglass High School
Frederick Douglass Senior High School (Baltimore, Maryland)
Frederick Douglass High School known locally as Douglass is a public high school located in Baltimore, Maryland, US. Established in 1883 as the Colored High and Training School, Douglass is the second oldest historically integrated public high school in the United States...

 Calloway joined his older sister, Blanche
Blanche Calloway
Blanche Calloway was a Jazz singer, bandleader, and composer from Baltimore, Maryland. She is not as well known as her younger brother Cab Calloway, but she may have been the first woman to lead an all male orchestra. Cab Calloway often credited her with being the reason he got into show business...

, in a touring production of the popular black musical revue Plantation Days. (Blanche Calloway herself would become an accomplished bandleader before her brother, and he would often credit her as his inspiration for entering show business.) Calloway attended Lincoln University
Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)
Lincoln University is the United States' first degree-granting historically black university. It is located near the town of Oxford in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. The university also hosts a Center for Graduate Studies in the City of Philadelphia. Lincoln University provides...

 in Pennsylvania, but left in 1930 without graduating.

When the tour ended in Chicago in the fall, Calloway decided to remain in Chicago with his sister, who had an established career as a jazz singer in that city. His parents had hopes of their son becoming a lawyer like his father, so Calloway enrolled in Crane College. His main interest, however, was in singing and entertaining, and he spent most of his nights at the Dreamland Ballroom, the Sunset Cafe, and the Club Berlin, performing as a drummer, singer and emcee.

At the Sunset Cafe he met and performed with Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong , nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana....

 who taught him to sing in the "scat" style.

Success




The Cotton Club
Cotton Club
The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem, New York City that operated during Prohibition that included jazz music. While the club featured many of the greatest African American entertainers of the era, such as Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Adelaide Hall, Count Basie, Bessie Smith,...

 was the premier jazz venue in the country, and Calloway and his orchestra (he had taken over a brilliant but failing band called "The Missourians" in 1930) were hired as a replacement for the Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

 Orchestra while they were touring. Calloway quickly proved so popular that his band became the "co-house" band with Ellington's, and his group began touring nationwide when not playing the Cotton Club. Their popularity was greatly enhanced by the twice-weekly live national radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 broadcasts on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 at the Cotton Club. Calloway also appeared on Walter Winchell
Walter Winchell
Walter Winchell was an American newspaper and radio gossip commentator.-Professional career:Born Walter Weinschel in New York City, he left school in the sixth grade and started performing in a vaudeville troupe known as Gus Edwards' "Newsboys Sextet."His career in journalism was begun by posting...

's radio program and with Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

 in his show at New York's Paramount Theatre. As a result of these appearances, Calloway, together with Ellington, broke the major broadcast network color barrier.

Like other bands fronted by a singing bandleader, Calloway initially gave ample soloist space to its lead members and, through the varied arrangements of Walter 'Foots' Thomas
Walter 'Foots' Thomas
Walter 'Foots' Thomas was a saxophonist and arranger in Cab Calloway's orchestra.Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, he moved to New York City in 1927, and played for a time with Jelly Roll Morton...

, provided much more in the way of musical interest. Many of his records were "vocal specialities" with Calloway's vocal taking up the majority of the record.

In 1931 he recorded his most famous song, "Minnie the Moocher
Minnie the Moocher
"Minnie the Moocher" is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, selling over 1 million copies. "Minnie the Moocher" is most famous for its nonsensical ad libbed lyrics . In performances, Calloway would have the audience participate by repeating each scat phrase in a...

". That song, along with "St. James Infirmary Blues
St. James Infirmary Blues
"St. James Infirmary Blues" is based on an 18th century traditional English folk song of anonymous origin, though sometimes credited to the songwriter Joe Primrose . Louis Armstrong made it famous in his influential 1928 recording.-Authorship and history:"St...

" and "The Old Man Of The Mountain," were performed for the Betty Boop
Betty Boop
Betty Boop is an animated cartoon character created by Max Fleischer, with help from animators including Grim Natwick. She originally appeared in the Talkartoon and Betty Boop film series, which were produced by Fleischer Studios and released by Paramount Pictures. She has also been featured in...

 animated shorts Minnie the Moocher, Snow White and The Old Man of the Mountain
The Old Man of the Mountain (1933 cartoon)
The Old Man of the Mountain is a 1933 animated short in the Betty Boop series, produced by Fleischer Studios. Featuring special guests Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, the short was originally released to theaters on August 4, 1933 by Paramount Productions...

, respectively. Through rotoscoping, Calloway not only gave his voice to these cartoons, but his dance steps as well. He took advantage of this and timed his concerts in some communities with the release of the films in order to make the most of the attention. As a result of the success of "Minnie the Moocher," he became identified with its chorus, gaining the nickname "The Hi De Ho Man". He also performed in a series of short films for Paramount in the 1930s. (Calloway and Ellington were featured on film more than any other jazz orchestras of the era.) In these films, Calloway can be seen performing a gliding backstep dance move, the precursor to Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records...

's "moonwalk"
Moonwalk (dance)
The moonwalk or backslide is a dance technique that presents the illusion of the dancer being pulled backwards while attempting to walk forward. A popping move, it became most popular around the world after Michael Jackson executed the dance move during a performance of "Billie Jean" on Motown 25:...

—Calloway said fifty years later, "it was called The Buzz back then." The 1933 film, International House
International House (1933 film)
International House is a comedy film, directed by A. Edward Sutherland and released by Paramount Pictures. The tagline of the film was "the Grand Hotel of comedy".-Actors:*Peggy Hopkins Joyce as herself*W. C. Fields as Prof. Henry R...

 featured Calloway performing his classic song, "Reefer Man," a tune about a man who favors marijuana cigarettes.

Calloway made his "first proper Hollywood movie appearance" opposite Al Jolson
Al Jolson
Al Jolson was an American singer, comedian and actor. In his heyday, he was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer"....

 in The Singing Kid in 1936. He sang a number of duets with Jolson, and the film included Calloway's band and cast of twenty-two Cotton Club dancers from New York. According to music historian Arthur Knight
Arthur Knight (film critic)
Arthur Knight was a movie critic, film historian, professor and TV host.His book The Liveliest Art, first published in 1957, is a history of the cinema used as a text book at colleges and universities throughout the world.-Early life:...

, the film aimed in part "to both erase and celebrate boundaries and differences, including most emphatically the color line." He also notes that "when Calloway begins singing in his characteristic style – in which the words are tools for exploring rhythm and stretching melody – it becomes clear that American culture is changing around Jolson and with (and through) Calloway. . ."

Calloway's was one of the most popular American jazz bands of the 1930s, recording prolifically for Brunswick
Brunswick Records
Brunswick Records is a United States based record label. The label is currently distributed by E1 Entertainment.-From 1916:Records under the "Brunswick" label were first produced by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company...

 and the ARC dime store labels (Banner, Cameo, Conqueror, Perfect, Melotone, Banner, Oriole, etc.) from 1930–1932, when he signed with Victor for a year. He was back on Brunswick in late 1934 through 1936, when he signed with manager Irving Mills
Irving Mills
Irving Mills was a jazz music publisher, also known by the name of "Joe Primrose."Mills was born to Jewish parents in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. He founded Mills Music with his brother Jack in 1919...

's short-lived Variety in 1937, and stayed with Mills when the label collapsed and the sessions were continued on Vocalion
Vocalion Records
Vocalion Records is a record label active for many years in the United States and in the United Kingdom.-History:Vocalion was founded in 1916 by the Aeolian Piano Company of New York City, which introduced a retail line of phonographs at the same time. The name was derived from one of their...

 through 1939, and then OKeh
Okeh Records
Okeh Records began as an independent record label based in the United States of America in 1918. From 1926 on, it was a subsidiary of Columbia Records.-History:...

 through 1942. After the recording ban due to the 1942-44 musicians' strike
1942-44 musicians' strike
On August 1, 1942, the American Federation of Musicians, at the instigation of union president James Petrillo, started a strike against the major American recording companies because of disagreements over royalty payments...

 ended, he continued to record prolifically.

Calloway's vocal style is a blend of hot scat singing and improvisation coupled with a very traditional vaudeville-like singing style. Many of his ballads are devoid of tone bending jazz styling.

In 1941 Calloway fired Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, singer, and composer dubbed "the sound of surprise".Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz...

 from his orchestra after an onstage fracas erupted when Calloway was hit with spitballs. He wrongly accused Gillespie, who stabbed Calloway in the leg with a small knife.

In 1943 Calloway appeared in the high-profile 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

 musical film, Stormy Weather
Stormy Weather (1943 film)
Stormy Weather is a 1943 American musical film produced and released by 20th Century Fox. The film is one of two major Hollywood musicals produced in 1943 with primarily African-American casts, the other being MGM's Cabin in the Sky, and is considered a time capsule showcasing some of the top...

.

In 1944 The New Cab Calloway's Hepsters Dictionary: Language of Jive was published, an update of an earlier book in which Calloway set about translating jive
African American Vernacular English
African American Vernacular English —also called African American English; less precisely Black English, Black Vernacular, Black English Vernacular , or Black Vernacular English —is an African American variety of American English...

 for fans who might not know, for example, that "kicking the gong around" was a reference to smoking opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

.

Later years


In the 1950s Calloway moved his family from Long Island, New York to Greenburgh, New York, to raise the three youngest of his five daughters.

In his later career Calloway appeared in a number of films and stage productions that utilized both his acting and singing talents. In 1952 he played the prominent role of "Sportin' Life" in a production of the Gershwin opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 Porgy and Bess
Porgy and Bess
Porgy and Bess is an opera, first performed in 1935, with music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. It was based on DuBose Heyward's novel Porgy and subsequent play of the same title, which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward...

with William Warfield
William Warfield
William Caesar Warfield , was an American concert bass-baritone singer and actor.-Early life and career:Warfield was born in West Helena, Arkansas and grew up in Rochester, New York, where his father was called to serve as pastor of Mt. Vernon Church. He gave his recital debut in New York's Town...

 and Leontyne Price
Leontyne Price
Mary Violet Leontyne Price is an American soprano. Born and raised in the Deep South, she rose to international acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s, and was one of the first African Americans to become a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera.One critic characterized Price's voice as "vibrant",...

 as the title characters. Another notable role was "Yeller" in The Cincinnati Kid
The Cincinnati Kid
The Cincinnati Kid is a 1965 American drama film. It tells the story of Eric "The Kid" Stoner, a young Depression-era poker player, as he seeks to establish his reputation as the best...

(1965), with Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret
Ann-Margret
Ann-Margret Olsson is a Swedish-American actress, singer and dancer whose professional name is Ann-Margret. She became famous for her starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas, The Cincinnati Kid, Carnal Knowledge, and Tommy...

 and Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson was a Romanian-born American actor. A popular star during Hollywood's Golden Age, he is best remembered for his roles as gangsters, such as Rico in his star-making film Little Caesar and as Rocco in Key Largo...

.

Calloway appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on March 19, 1967 with Chris Calloway.
In 1967, Calloway co-starred opposite Pearl Bailey
Pearl Bailey
Pearl Mae Bailey was an American actress and singer. After appearing in vaudeville, she made her Broadway debut in St. Louis Woman in 1946. She won a Tony Award for the title role in the all-black production of Hello, Dolly! in 1968...

 as Horace Vandergelder in an all-black cast change of Hello, Dolly!
Hello, Dolly! (musical)
Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The Matchmaker in 1955....

on Broadway during its original run. It revived flagging business for the show and RCA
RCA
RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

 released a new cast recording, rare for the time. In 1973–1974, Calloway was featured in an unsuccessful Broadway revival of The Pajama Game
The Pajama Game
The Pajama Game is a musical based on the novel 7½ Cents by Richard Bissell. It features a score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The story deals with labor troubles in a pajama factory, where worker demands for a seven-and-a-half cents raise are going unheeded...

alongside Hal Linden
Hal Linden
Hal Linden is an American stage and television actor and television director, best known for his role in the television comedy series Barney Miller and as presenter on the ABC educational series Animals, Animals, Animals....

 and Barbara McNair.

1976 saw the release of his autobiography, Of Minnie The Moocher And Me (Crowell). It included his complete Hepsters Dictionary as an appendix.

Calloway attracted renewed interest in 1980 when he appeared as a supporting character in the film The Blues Brothers
The Blues Brothers (film)
The Blues Brothers is a 1980 musical comedy film directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as "Joliet" Jake and Elwood Blues, characters developed from a musical sketch on the NBC variety series Saturday Night Live. It features musical numbers by R&B and soul singers James...

, performing "Minnie the Moocher
Minnie the Moocher
"Minnie the Moocher" is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, selling over 1 million copies. "Minnie the Moocher" is most famous for its nonsensical ad libbed lyrics . In performances, Calloway would have the audience participate by repeating each scat phrase in a...

", and again when he sang "The Jumpin' Jive" with the Two-Headed Monster on Sesame Street
Sesame Street
Sesame Street has undergone significant changes in its history. According to writer Michael Davis, by the mid-1970s the show had become "an American institution". The cast and crew expanded during this time, including the hiring of women in the crew and additional minorities in the cast. The...

. This was also the year the cult movie Forbidden Zone
Forbidden Zone
Forbidden Zone is a 1982 musical comedy film based upon the stage performances of the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. The film stars Hervé Villechaize, Susan Tyrrell and members of the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, and features appearances by Warhol Superstar Viva, Joe Spinell and The...

was released, which included rearrangements of, and homages to, Calloway songs written by Danny Elfman
Danny Elfman
Daniel Robert "Danny" Elfman is an American composer, best known for scoring music for television and film. Up until 1995, he was the lead singer and songwriter in the rock band Oingo Boingo, a group he formed in 1976...

, a Calloway fan.

Calloway helped establish the Cab Calloway Museum at Coppin State College (Baltimore, Maryland) in the 1980s, and Bill Cosby helped establish a scholarship in Calloway's name at the New School for Social Research New York City. In 1994, a creative and performing arts school, the Cab Calloway School of the Arts
Cab Calloway School of the Arts
The Cab Calloway School of the Arts is an arts-oriented magnet school in Wilmington, Delaware, operated by the Red Clay Consolidated School District, that focuses on a strong academic curriculum along with an education in the arts. It is a public school, but children are required to audition within...

, was dedicated in his name in Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington is the largest city in the state of Delaware, United States, and is located at the confluence of the Christina River and Brandywine Creek, near where the Christina flows into the Delaware River. It is the county seat of New Castle County and one of the major cities in the Delaware Valley...

.

In 1986, Calloway appeared at World Wrestling Entertainment
World Wrestling Entertainment
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. is an American publicly traded, privately controlled entertainment company dealing primarily in professional wrestling, with major revenue sources also coming from film, music, product licensing, and direct product sales...

 (WWE)'s WrestleMania 2
WrestleMania 2
WrestleMania 2 was the second annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation...

as a guest judge for a boxing match between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr. T
Mr. T
Mr. T is an American actor known for his roles as B. A. Baracus in the 1980s television series The A-Team, as boxer Clubber Lang in the 1982 film Rocky III, and for his appearances as a professional wrestler. Mr. T is known for his trademark African Mandinka warrior hairstyle, his gold jewelry,...

 that took place at the Nassau Coliseum. Also in 1986, he headlined to great success a gala ball for 4,000 celebrating the grand opening of one of the top hotels in the US at the time, the Dallas-based Rosewood Hotel Co.'s Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas, Texas. In 1990, he was the focus of Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson
Janet Damita Jo Jackson is an American recording artist and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 25 years...

's 1930s-themed music video "Alright
Alright (Janet Jackson song)
"Alright" is the fourth single from American R&B and pop singer Janet Jackson's fourth studio album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 .-Song information:...

", appearing as himself at the end. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, he also appeared in several commercials for the Hula Hoops
Hula Hoops
Hula Hoops are a potato-based snack, in the shape of short, hollow cylinders. They were first introduced in 1973. Hula Hoops come in several different flavors. They are produced by KP Snacks...

 snack, both as himself and as a voice for a cartoon (in one of these commercials he sang his hit "Minnie The Moocher"). He also made an appearance at the Apollo Theatre.

In May 1994, Calloway suffered a stroke. He died six months later on November 18, 1994. His body was cremated and his ashes were given to his family.
Upon the death of his wife Zulme "Nuffie" Calloway on October 13, 2008, his ashes were interred next to her at Ferncliffe Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.

Honors

  • In 1993, the University of Rochester presented Calloway with the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.
  • In 1993, he was presented with the National Medal of Arts
    National Medal of Arts
    The National Medal of Arts is an award and title created by the United States Congress in 1984, for the purpose of honoring artists and patrons of the arts. It is the highest honor conferred to an individual artist on behalf of the people. Honorees are selected by the National Endowment for the...

    .
  • In 1998, The Cab Calloway Orchestra (directed by Calloway's grandson C. "CB" Calloway Brooks) was formed to honor his legacy on the national and international levels.

Grammy history

Year Category Title Label Result Notes
2008 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording."...

Honoree
1999 Grammy Hall of Fame Award Minnie the Moocher
Minnie the Moocher
"Minnie the Moocher" is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, selling over 1 million copies. "Minnie the Moocher" is most famous for its nonsensical ad libbed lyrics . In performances, Calloway would have the audience participate by repeating each scat phrase in a...

Brunswick (1931) Inducted Jazz (Single)

Other honors

Year Category Title Result Notes
1987 Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame Inducted
1967 Best Performances Outer Critics Circle Awards Winner Hello, Dolly Musical
Hello, Dolly! (musical)
Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The Matchmaker in 1955....


Stage appearances

  • Porgy and Bess
    Porgy and Bess
    Porgy and Bess is an opera, first performed in 1935, with music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. It was based on DuBose Heyward's novel Porgy and subsequent play of the same title, which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward...

    (1953)
  • Hello, Dolly!
    Hello, Dolly! (musical)
    Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The Matchmaker in 1955....

    (replacement in 1967)
  • The Pajama Game
    The Pajama Game
    The Pajama Game is a musical based on the novel 7½ Cents by Richard Bissell. It features a score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The story deals with labor troubles in a pajama factory, where worker demands for a seven-and-a-half cents raise are going unheeded...

    (1973)
  • Bubbling Brown Sugar (1976)
  • Uptown...It's Hot! (1986)

Filmography



Features:
  • The Big Broadcast
    The Big Broadcast
    The Big Broadcast is a musical comedy film produced by Paramount Pictures, directed by Frank Tuttle, and starring Bing Crosby, Stuart Erwin, and Leila Hyams, with George Burns and Gracie Allen in supporting roles...

    (1932
    1932 in film
    -Events:*Cary Grant's film career begins*Katharine Hepburn's film career begins*Shirley Temple's film career begins*Disney released Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon in three-strip Technicolor film.*Santa, first sound film made in Mexico released....

    )
  • International House
    International House (1933 film)
    International House is a comedy film, directed by A. Edward Sutherland and released by Paramount Pictures. The tagline of the film was "the Grand Hotel of comedy".-Actors:*Peggy Hopkins Joyce as herself*W. C. Fields as Prof. Henry R...

    (1933
    1933 in film
    -Events:* March 2 - King Kong premieres in New York City.* June 6 - The first drive-in theater opens, in Camden, New Jersey.* British Film Institute founded....

    )
  • The Singing Kid (1936
    1936 in film
    The year 1936 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*May 29 - Fritz Lang's first Hollywood film Fury, starring Spencer Tracy and Bruce Cabot, is released.*November 6 - first Porky Pig animated cartoon...

    )
  • Manhattan Merry-Go-Round (1937
    1937 in film
    The year 1937 in film involved some significant events, including the Walt Disney production of the first full-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.- Events :*April 16 - Way Out West premieres in the US....

    )
  • Stormy Weather
    Stormy Weather (1943 film)
    Stormy Weather is a 1943 American musical film produced and released by 20th Century Fox. The film is one of two major Hollywood musicals produced in 1943 with primarily African-American casts, the other being MGM's Cabin in the Sky, and is considered a time capsule showcasing some of the top...

    (1943
    1943 in film
    The year 1943 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* January 3 - 1st missing persons telecast * February 20 - American film studio executives agree to allow the Office of War Information to censor films....

    )
  • Sensations of 1945
    Sensations of 1945
    Sensations of 1945 is a 1944 American musical-comedy film which was released by United Artists.This film was an attempt to recapture the ensemble style of films such as Broadway Melody of 1936 by showcasing a number of top musical and comedy acts of the day, in a film linked together by a loose...

    (1944
    1944 in film
    The year 1944 in film involved some significant events, including the wholesome, award-winning Going My Way plus popular murder mysteries such as Double Indemnity, Gaslight and Laura.-Events:*July 20 - Since You Went Away is released....

    )
  • Ebony Parade (1947
    1947 in film
    The year 1947 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*May 22 - Great Expectations is premiered in New York.*November 24 : The United States House of Representatives of the 80th Congress voted 346 to 17 to approve citations for contempt of Congress against the "Hollywood Ten".*November 25...

    )
  • Hi De Ho (1947)
  • Rhythm and Blues Revue (1955
    1955 in film
    The year 1955 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* November 3 - The musical Guys and Dolls, starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra, debuts.* June 27 - The last ever Republic serial, King of the Carnival, is released....

    )
  • St. Louis Blues
    St. Louis Blues (1958 film)
    St. Louis Blues is a 1958 film broadly based on the life of W. C. Handy. It starred jazz and blues greats Nat "King" Cole, Pearl Bailey, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, and Barney Bigard, as well as gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and actress Ruby Dee...

    (1958
    1958 in film
    The year 1958 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* February 16- "In the Money" by William Beaudine is released on this date. It would be the last installment of The Bowery Boys series which began back in 1946....

    )
  • Schlager-Raketen (1960
    1960 in film
    The year 1960 in film involved some significant events, with Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho the top-grossing release in the U.S.-Events:* April 20 - for the first time since coming home from military service in Germany, Elvis Presley returns to Hollywood, California to film G.I...

    )
  • The Cincinnati Kid
    The Cincinnati Kid
    The Cincinnati Kid is a 1965 American drama film. It tells the story of Eric "The Kid" Stoner, a young Depression-era poker player, as he seeks to establish his reputation as the best...

    (1965
    1965 in film
    The year 1965 in film involved some significant events, with The Sound of Music topping the U.S. box office.-Top grossing films : After theatrical re-issue- Awards :Academy Awards:...

    )
  • The Blues Brothers
    The Blues Brothers (film)
    The Blues Brothers is a 1980 musical comedy film directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as "Joliet" Jake and Elwood Blues, characters developed from a musical sketch on the NBC variety series Saturday Night Live. It features musical numbers by R&B and soul singers James...

    (1980
    1980 in film
    - Events :* May 21 - Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is released and is the biggest grosser of the year ....

    )


Short Subjects:
  • Minnie the Moocher
    Minnie the Moocher
    "Minnie the Moocher" is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, selling over 1 million copies. "Minnie the Moocher" is most famous for its nonsensical ad libbed lyrics . In performances, Calloway would have the audience participate by repeating each scat phrase in a...

    (1932
    1932 in film
    -Events:*Cary Grant's film career begins*Katharine Hepburn's film career begins*Shirley Temple's film career begins*Disney released Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon in three-strip Technicolor film.*Santa, first sound film made in Mexico released....

    )
  • Snow-White (1933
    1933 in film
    -Events:* March 2 - King Kong premieres in New York City.* June 6 - The first drive-in theater opens, in Camden, New Jersey.* British Film Institute founded....

    ) (voice)
  • The Old Man of the Mountain (1933)
  • Betty Boop's Rise to Fame
    Betty Boop's Rise to Fame
    Betty Boop's Rise to Fame is a 1934 Fleischer Studios animated short film, starring Betty Boop.-Plot:In a live action sequence, a reporter interviewing Max Fleischer asks him about his latest animated star Betty Boop. Max obligingly draws Betty "out of the inkwell" and asks her to perform a...

    (1934
    1934 in film
    -Events:*January 26 - Samuel Goldwyn purchases the film rights to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from the L. Frank Baum estate for $40,000.*February 19 - Bob Hope marries Dolores Reade...

    ) (voice)
  • Cab Calloway's Hi-De-Ho
    Cab Calloway's Hi-De-Ho
    Cab Calloway's Hi-De-Ho is a 1934 American musical short film.On 13 February 2001, the film was reissued by Kino International in the DVD collection The Best of Jazz and Blues ....

    (1934)
  • Cab Calloway's Jitterbug Party
    Cab Calloway's Jitterbug Party
    Cab Calloway's Jitterbug Party is a 1935 American musical short film which was released by Paramount Pictures...

    (1935
    1935 in film
    -Events:*Judy Garland signs a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer .*Seven year old Shirley Temple wins a special Academy Award.*The Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment started in order to educate the Bantu peoples.-Top grossing films:-Academy Awards:...

    )
  • Hi De Ho (1937
    1937 in film
    The year 1937 in film involved some significant events, including the Walt Disney production of the first full-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.- Events :*April 16 - Way Out West premieres in the US....

    )
  • Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938)
  • Meet the Maestros (1938
    1938 in film
    The year 1938 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*January — MGM announces that Judy Garland would be cast in the role of "Dorothy" in the upcoming Wizard of Oz motion picture. Ray Bolger is cast as the "Tinman" and Buddy Ebsen is cast as the "Scarecrow". At Bolger's insistence,...

    )
  • Caldonia
    Caldonia
    "Caldonia" is a jump blues song, first recorded in 1945 by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five. A version by Erskine Hawkins, also in 1945, was described by Billboard magazine as "rock and roll", the first time that phrase was used in print to describe any style of music.-Louis Jordan recording:In...

    (1945
    1945 in film
    The year 1945 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* Paramount Studios releases theatrical short cartoon titled The Friendly Ghost, featuring a ghost named Casper.* With Rossellini's Roma Città aperta, Italian neorealist cinema begins....

    )
  • Basin Street Revue (1956
    1956 in film
    The year 1956 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* October 5 - The Ten Commandments opens in cinemas and becomes one of the most successful and popular movies of all time, currently ranking 5th on the list of all time moneymakers * February 5 - First showing of documentary films by...

    )


External links