Home / Biography / Smiley Lewis

Smiley Lewis

Biography

Dave Bartholomew has often been quoted to the result that Smiley Lewis was a “misfortune singer,” because he never sold a lot more than 100,000 copies of his Imperial singles. In retrospect, Lewis was a lucky guy in lots of respects — he liked stellar support from New Orleans’ ace sessioneers at Cosimo’s, benefited from top-flight materials and creation (by Bartholomew), and left out a legacy of wonderful Crescent Town R&B. Born using the unwieldy deal with of Overton Lemons, Lewis strike the best Easy in his mid-teens, equipped with a large, booming voice plus some acoustic guitar skills. He performed clubs within the French One fourth, frequently with pianist Tuts Washington (and occasionally billed as “Smiling” Lewis). By 1947, his pursuing was strong plenty of to merit a program for DeLuxe Information, which released his debut 78, “Right here Shows up Smiley.” Nothing at all happened with this platter, however when Lewis authorized with Imperial in 1950 (debuting with “Tee-Nah-Nah”) issues started to move. Because the New Orleans R&B audio developed rapidly through the early ’50s, therefore do Lewis, as he rocked ever harder on “Lillie Mae,” “Ain’t Gonna GET IT DONE,” and “Big Mamou.” He obtained his first nationwide strike in 1952 with “The Bells Are Buzzing,” but liked his biggest product sales in 1955 using the exultant “I Listen to You Knocking” (its immortal piano single thanks to Huey Smith). Here’s where that alleged misfortune rears its mind — pop chanteuse Gale Surprise swiped his thunder for just about any pop crossover options with her ludicrous whitewashed cover from the plaintive ballad. But Surprise wouldn’t dare arrive near its roaring turn, the Joe Turner-ish rocker “Bumpity Bump,” or a few of Smiley Lewis’ additional classic middle-’50s jumpers (“Later on,” “Shed Weekend,” “Genuine Gone Enthusiast,” “She’s Got Me Hook, Series and Sinker,” “Rootin’ and Tootin'”). While watching Crescent City’s most popular players (saxists Lee Allen, Clarence Hall, and Supplement Hardesty usually proved helpful his schedules), Lewis roared such as a lion. Strangely, Fatty acids Domino fared better with a few of Smiley Lewis’ music than Lewis do (“Blue Mon” specifically). Likewise, Elvis Presley washed in the naughty “One Evening” and strike big with it, but Lewis’ primary had already performed well in 1956 (as acquired his melodic “Make sure you Pay attention to Me”). His blistering “Pity, Pity, Pity” discovered its method onto the soundtrack from the steamy Hollywood potboiler Baby Doll in 1957, but didn’t find entry towards the R&B graphs. After a longer with least semi-profitable operate at Imperial, Lewis transferred to OKeh in 1961 for just one single, ended at Dot in 1964 simply long enough to produce a solitary 45 (made by Nashville deejay Costs “Hoss” Allen), and bowed out with an Allen Toussaint-produced remake of “The Bells Are Buzzing” for Loma in 1965. At that time, stomach cancer tumor was consuming the once-stout vocalist up. He passed away in the fall of 1966, basically ignored outside his New Orleans house bottom. The ensuing years have got rectified that miscarriage of justice, nevertheless. Smiley Lewis’ place among the most significant New Orleans R&B performers from the ’50s is obviously assured.

Quick Facts


Full Name Smiley Lewis
Died October 7, 1966, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Profession Songwriter
Nationality American
Music Songs I Hear You Knockin', One Night, Shame, Shame, Shame, Gumbo Blues, Down Yonder We Go Ballin', Caldonia's Party, Bee's Boogie, My Baby Was Right, Go On Fool, Big Mamou, Jailbird, She's Got Me Hook, Line & Sinker, Real Gone Lover, Turn On Your Volume, Baby, School Days Are Back Again, Here Comes Smiley, Little Fernandez, Lillie Mae, Goin' to Jump and Shout, Bumpity Bump, Down the Road, The Bells Are Ringing, Ain't Gonna Do It, Slide Me Down, That Certain Door, Please Listen to Me, Can't Stop Loving You, You're Not the One, Growing Old, Don't Jive Me, Tee-Nah Nah, Where Were You
Albums The Bells Are Ringing, Milestones of Legends - "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?", Vol. 8, I Hear You Knocking, The Smiley Lewis Collection 1947-61, Top 75 Classics - The Very Best of Smiley Lewis, Mama Don't Like It! 1950-1956, Smiley Lewis "Rocks", Titanium Hits, Talkative Friend, New Orleans Bounce 30 of His Best, I Hear You Knockin' - Blues Greats, In The Middle, Smiley Lewis: New Orleans Rhythm, Black Or White, Smiley Lewis - The Extended Play Collection, Volume 65, Splash Of Color, À La Carte, Abc of the Blues Vol. 25, Growing Old, A Bouquet Of Hits, Christmas Magic, Expensive Bling, I Hear You Knocking - R&B Greats, Open Stage, Love Incorporated, Enjoy Your Time, In That Golden Summer Time, Colorful Fruit, Noble Blue, I Shall Not Be Moved, Love Caught, Shame, Shame, Shame, Classics: 1947-1952, Lillie Mae, Blue Monday, Essential Hits, Masterpieces Presents Smiley Lewis: 10 Greatest Blues Hits, Ooh La La, Ringing Bells, The Best of Smiley Lewis: I Hear You Knocking, One Night with Smiley Lewis, Christmas Bells Are Ringing, At An Earlier Time, Gaudy Colours, I Hear You Knocking - 4 Track EP, New Orleans Guitar, CD A, Confectioner's


  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 Was a radio disc jockey prior to his early 1950s TV success.
2 In December 1954, he had a hit on Coral Records with the song 'Collegiate'.
3 According to an article published in the August 10, 1947, New York Times, Lewis added the middle initial Q. to his name at the age of 22. Lewis said, "The Q doesn't signify anything definite. It's an attention getter. Something to make people notice me." In addition, in a 1951 interview, HE said the Q stood for "anything you want!".
4 Was in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at the University of Michigan.
5 Said on What's My Line? (1950) August 18, 1963, of the University of Michigan, "As an old U of M man, I am delighted to recognize Miss Michigan. We used to say back at Ann Arbor, four out of five are beautiful and the fifth goes to Michigan. That is *not* true.".
6 Began his career as a child actor and singer on the NBC Radio version of "The Horn & Hardadt Children's Hour".
7 Radio & TV show host.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
My Chauffeur 1986 Businessman
C.H.O.M.P.S. 1979 Merkle
Switch 1977 TV Series
The Law 1974 TV Movie Speaker at Bar Dinner
Emergency! 1974 TV Series Mr. Caldwell
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask 1972 Robert Q. Lewis
Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law 1972 TV Series Dr. Rochelle
Love, American Style 1972 TV Series Henry (segment "Love and the Happy Unhappy Couple")
Bewitched 1966-1971 TV Series Director / Maxwell / Diego Fenman
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying 1967 Tackaberry
Branded 1965-1966 TV Series Satterfield / Ray Hatch
Ride Beyond Vengeance 1966 The Hotel Clerk
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre 1965 TV Series Writer
Slattery's People 1965 TV Series Vincent Stillwell
Camp Runamuck 1965 TV Series Rabbi Gordon
Ski Party 1965 Mr. Pevney
Good Neighbor Sam 1964 Earl
Grindl 1964 TV Series Edwin 'Smiley' Thindyle
The Patty Duke Show 1964 TV Series Gregory Madison
Room for One More 1962 TV Series Casey
Ichabod and Me 1961 TV Series
The Hathaways 1961 TV Series Barney Holt
The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna 1959 TV Series
The Jackie Gleason Show 1954 TV Series Edward Maroon
The Robert Q. Lewis Show 1950 TV Series Host
The Show Goes On 1950 TV Series 1950-1952

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Robert Q. Lewis Show 1956 TV Series performer - 1 episode
What's My Line? 1955 TV Series performer - 1 episode

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
I'm Going to Be Famous 1983 Himself
The Cross-Wits 1976-1977 TV Series Himself
Match Game 73 1973 TV Series Himself - Panelist
It's Your Bet 1971 TV Series Himself
What's My Line? 1951-1967 TV Series Himself - Panelist / Himself - Mystery Guest
The Match Game 1963-1967 TV Series Himself - Team Captain
To Tell the Truth 1958-1966 TV Series Himself - Panelist / Himself - Guest Host
What's This Song? 1965 TV Series Himself
The Hollywood Squares 1965 TV Series Himself - Panelist
That Regis Philbin Show 1965 TV Series Himself
New American Bandstand 1965 1964 TV Series Himself - Interview
Get the Message 1964 TV Series Himself
Missing Links 1963-1964 TV Series Himself
The Price Is Right 1963 TV Series Himself - Guest Host
Play Your Hunch 1962-1963 TV Series Himself - Host
Here's Hollywood 1962 TV Series Himself - Guest
The Arthur Murray Party 1960 TV Series Himself
I've Got a Secret 1954-1959 TV Series Himself - Guest
The Ed Sullivan Show 1950-1958 TV Series Himself
Make Me Laugh 1958 TV Series Host
An Affair to Remember 1957 Himself - Announcer
Studio One in Hollywood 1956 TV Series Himself - Host
The Robert Q. Lewis Show 1955-1956 TV Series Himself - Host
Person to Person 1954 TV Series documentary Himself
The Name's the Same 1952-1954 TV Series Himself - Host
Texaco Star Theatre 1953 TV Series Himself - TV Host
Masquerade Party 1952 TV Series Himself / Host (1958)
The Golden Twenties 1950 Documentary Narrator
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall 1950 TV Series
Tonight on Broadway 1949 TV Series Himself
The Robert Q. Lewis Christmas Show 1949 TV Movie Himself - Host
The 400 Million 1939 Documentary Additional Voice (voice, as Robert Lewis)

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Broken Sabre 1965 Satterfield

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1960 Star on the Walk of Fame Walk of Fame Television On 8 February 1960. At 1709 Vine Street.


Looks like we don't have salary information. Sorry!


#Quote
1 In addition to the two other cited explanations as to his middle initial "Q", he stated in a 1980's television interview that when he was born his parents decided to call it quits.

#Trademark
1 Horn-rimmed spectacles; appearance of skepticism


Looks like we don't have pictures. Sorry!

Check Also

Scud Mountain Boys

The cult popularity of Uncle Tupelo and its own spin-off groups Wilco and Son Volt …