Andrew Tibbs (February 2, 1929 – May 5,
1991) was an American electric and urban blues singer and songwriter. He is
best known for his controversial 1947 recording, 'Bilbo Is Dead', a song
relating to the demise of Theodore G. Bilbo.
Tibbs was born Melvin Andrew Grayson, in Columbus, Ohio, United States. As a
boy he sang in Baptist choirs in Chicago, directed by Mahalia Jackson and
Dinah Washington. He was influenced by Ivory Joe Hunter and Arnold
From 1947 to 1949, Tibbs originally recorded for Aristocrat Records. His
debut single was 'Bilbo Is Dead' b/w 'Union Man Blues', recorded whilst
Tibbs was eighteen years old. The tracks were both co-written by Tibbs and
Tom Archia, and caused controversy. The A-side criticized Theodore Bilbo's
policies, whilst the B-side caused displeasure from the Chicago based
teamster trade unions. Six further singles were released by Aristocrat.
Following its eventual acquisition by Leonard and Phil Chess, the newly
formed Chess label signed Tibbs in 1950, but he released only one record,
'You Can't Win', before being dismissed.
Tibbs recorded the 'Rock Savoy Rock' single for Peacock Records in 1951,
followed by some unissued sessions for Savoy. With his brother, Kenneth,
Tibbs recorded one session for Atco in 1956, which featured King Curtis. His
final recordings in 1962 for M-Pac Records included his last single release,
'Stone Hearted Woman'.
He worked for West Electric thereafter, but made sporadic live appearances
in Chicago clubs.