Friday, February 9, 1979

On This Day (1929): "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie" charted

Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie

Clarence “Pine Top” Smith

Writer(s): Clarence Smith (see lyrics here)

Recorded: December 29, 1928

First Charted: February 9, 1929

Peak: 20 PM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.30 video, 0.07 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This “rhythmical, driving piano tune” SS is the song credited “with laying the foundation for the boogie woogie craze” BH although piano boogie woogie originated in 1916 when George W. Thomas, a pianist from Texas, published “New Orleans Hop,” one of the earliest pieces of sheet music with a boogie bassline. TY2 The form is marked by “a bass melody…repeated over and over while the upper voice melody and chord structure change above it.” TY2

The style inspired songs such as the Andrews Sisters’ “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Gene Krupa’s “Boogie Blues,” Louis Jordan’s “Boogie Woogie Blue Plate,” Glenn Miller’s “Booglie Wooglie Piggy,” Freddie Slack’s “”Cow Cow Boogie,” and Earl Hines’ “Boogie Woogie on St. Louis Blues.” TY2 The sound would resurface in the ‘50s and ‘60s as “an integral part of some early rhythm and bleues and rock ‘n’ roll songs.” TY2

Clarence “Pine Top” Smith was born in Alabama in 1904. He was a pianist, dancer, and comedian on the black theater circuit. He was discovered by Charles “Cow Cow” Davenport one of the country’s first boogie pianists. SS Smith started playing “Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie” at rent-parties in the black ghettos of Chicago. TY2 He took the term “boogie woogie” from his background in dance. SS

Smith recorded eight songs for Vocalion in December 1928 which weren’t released, but finally hit gold when he recorded “Boogie Woogie” on December 29, 1928. SS Sadly, Smith didn’t live to witnesss the impact of his song. He died on March 25, 1929 when hit by a stray bullet in a Chicago dance hall.

Tommy Dorsey had a hit with the song in 1938, reaching #3.


First posted 9/7/2023.

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