Bobby Charles

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Bobby Charles
Birth nameRobert Charles Guidry
Born(1938-02-21)February 21, 1938
Abbeville, Louisiana, United States
DiedJanuary 14, 2010(2010-01-14) (aged 71)
Louisiana, United States
GenresSwamp rock, R&B
OccupationsSinger-songwriter
Years active1950s-1990s
 
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Bobby Charles
Birth nameRobert Charles Guidry
Born(1938-02-21)February 21, 1938
Abbeville, Louisiana, United States
DiedJanuary 14, 2010(2010-01-14) (aged 71)
Louisiana, United States
GenresSwamp rock, R&B
OccupationsSinger-songwriter
Years active1950s-1990s

Bobby Charles (February 21, 1938 – January 14, 2010) was an American singer-songwriter.[1]

Early life[edit]

An ethnic Cajun, Charles was born as Robert Charles Guidry in Abbeville, Louisiana, and grew up listening to Cajun music and the country and western music of Hank Williams. At the age of 15, he heard a performance by Fats Domino, an event that "changed my life forever," he recalled.[2]

Career and highlights[edit]

Charles helped to pioneer the south Louisiana musical genre known as swamp pop. His compositions include the hits "See You Later, Alligator", which he initially recorded himself as "Later Alligator", but which is best known from the cover version by Bill Haley & His Comets; and "Walking to New Orleans", written for Fats Domino. His songwriting record in the UK Singles Chart was seven hit, including three Top Tens with 75 weeks spent on the chart.[citation needed]

"(I Don't Know Why) But I Do" was an early 1960s song that Charles composed, which Clarence "Frogman" Henry had a major hit with, and which was on the soundtrack to the 1994 film Forrest Gump. His composition "Why Are People Like That?" was on the soundtrack to the 1998 film Home Fries.

Because of his south Louisiana-influenced rhythm and blues vocal style, Charles has often been thought to be black, when in fact he was white.[3]

Bobby Charles was invited to play with The Band at their November 26, 1976 farewell concert, The Last Waltz, at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. In the concert, Charles played "Down South in New Orleans", with the help of Dr. John and The Band. That song was recorded and released as part of the triple-LP The Last Waltz box set. The performance was also captured on film by director Martin Scorsese, but did not appear in the final, released theatrical version. Charles did, however, appear briefly in a segment of the released film -- in the concert's final song, "I Shall Be Released". In that segment, his image is largely blocked from view during the performance. That song, sung by Bob Dylan and pianist Richard Manuel, featured backup vocals from the entire ensemble, including Charles.

He co-wrote the song "Small Town Talk" with Rick Danko of The Band. "Promises, Promises (The Truth Will Set You Free)" was co-written with Willie Nelson.

Charles continued to compose and record (he was based out of Woodstock, New York for a time) and in the 1990s he recorded a duet of "Walking to New Orleans" with Domino.

Honours[edit]

In September 2007, The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame honored Charles for his contributions to Louisiana music with an induction.

Death[edit]

Charles collapsed in his home near Abbeville and died on January 14, 2010.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary The Guardian, 15 January 2010.
  2. ^ ""Bobby Charles"". ponderosastomp.com. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ Obituary The Times, 30 January 2010.
  4. ^ "Swamp pop legend Bobby Charles, 71, dies | The Advertiser". theadvertiser.com. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  5. ^ Keith Spera (January 15, 2010). "Bobby Charles, Louisiana songwriter, dies at 71". nola.com. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]