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Hal Singer

Hal Singer (1919–2020), hit-making jazz saxophonist

by Kirk Fox

Hal Singer was a hit-making jazz saxophonist and R&B performer known for his 1940s No. 1 hit song “Corn Bread.”   

  • Died: Tuesday, August 18, 2020 (Who else died on August 18?) 
  • Details of Death: Died at the age of 100 in Chatou, France.   
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Acclaimed jazz saxophonist and R&B performer 

Singer played saxophone in various bands in Kansas City and New York City before forming his own band in the late 1940s. His band recorded the fast-paced instrumental song “Corn Bread” for the Savory label in 1948. The song was popular on the dance floor and reached number one on the R&B charts. He continued to record music and worked as a session musician playing with Coleman Hawkins and Earl “Fatha” Hines. Singer moved to France in 1965 and continued to record and perform mostly in Europe. He toured and recorded in the early 1980s with “Rocket 88,” a swing and boogie-woogie band that featured drummer Charlie Watts and pianist Ian Stewart of the Rolling Stones. He was born in Tulsa in 1919 and he and his family survived the Tulsa race massacre in 1921.

On first discovering that “Corn Bread” was a hit 

The song did not have a title when Singer recorded it. “When they told me about ‘Corn Bread’ becoming a hit, I said ‘What the hell is ‘Corn Bread’?’ They said ‘Man, it’s the hottest record in the world right now!’ ” —Blues & Rhythm Magazine in 2006

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Full Obituary: Washington Post

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