Harry ‘The Hipster’ Gibson, precursor to beat, rock and roll

harry the hipster

Harry The Hipster Gibson played boogie woogie piano with zany be-bop lyrics and was a major star in the 1940’s. He was an astonishing, high energy performer who also had serious piano chops. Jerry Lee Lewis must have been influenced by him.

Harry says he was hyper-kinetic when no one knew what that was, his father thought he was crazy, and black jazz musicians dug him for what he was, “that white guy playing all that black jazz.” He played with many of the jazz greats. Radio listeners would call into the stations asking if he was white or black.

Most of all, like Jerry Lee Lewis, he had endless, manic energy and was an incredible showman.

Harry was Rock ‘N’ Roll ten years BEFORE it existed – with the sex AND drugs.

He sang about drugs when hardly anyone else did. This song got him banned from radio in the late 1940’s.

Documentary of Harry by his daughter and granddaughter