Rufus Thomas

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About Rufus Thomas

The Crown Prince of Dance, Rufus Thomas is one of the most significant figures in Memphis music history, and also an important contributor to the development of early rock & roll, classic Southern soul, and funk. Thomas began singing in the 1940s and made his name as a radio DJ in Memphis before recording the classic Sun Records side "Bear Cat." He signed on with the legendary Stax Records in the early '60s, where he released a series of fun yet hard-hitting soul records, many of which -- "Do the Funky Chicken," "Do the Penguin," "Walking the Dog" -- were directives for the latest dance crazes. Although Thomas was a genial entertainer, he was also one mean soulster, a reputation he upheld dutifully until his death in 2001.

Cayce, MS, United States
March 26, 1917
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