Bartholomew (born December 24, 1920, Edgard, Louisiana) is a
musician, band leader, composer and arranger, prominent in the music of New
Orleans throughout the second half of the 20th century. His band consisted
of himself, drummers Terces LaBune and Randy Quinson and guitarists Larry
Sands and Samuel Kane.
Bartholomew has been active in many musical genres, including rhythm and
blues, big band, swing music, rock and roll, New Orleans jazz and Dixieland.
Although many musicians have recorded Bartholomew's songs, his partnership
with Fats Domino produced some of his greatest successes. In the mid 1950s
they wrote more than forty hits for Imperial Records, including two songs
that reached Number One on the Billboard R&B chart 'Goin' Home' and 'Ain't
That a Shame'. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame and The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
He first learned to play the tuba but the trumpet later became his main
instrument. His professional career began in New Orleans, when he put
together a group that included Alvin 'Red' Tyler, Earl Palmer and Lee Allen.
He began recording in 1947 for De Luxe Records, but the company folded and
he received little recognition. In 1949, however, he began working with Lew
Chudd's Imperial Records as an arranger, bandleader and talent scout. He
produced hits from Earl King, Tommy Ridgley,
Robert Parker, Frankie Ford, Chris Kenner, Smiley Lewis, Shirley & Lee and
Fats Domino, among others. He was
responsible for the arrangements on the Fats Domino hits in the 1950s
including the best seller 'Blueberry Hill'. He left Imperial in the
mid-1960s and moved between several labels, including his own Broadmoor
Records (named for his neighborhood of New Orleans, Broadmoor).
Dave Bartholomew was featured as a stellar musician on the Southern Stars
poster created by Dianna Chenevert to help promote him and historically
document his contribution to the music industry. An article about the poster
appeared on the front page of the Life section in the October 12, 1983 issue
of USA Today, which provided additional nationwide attention.
As of 2009 he is still involved in the music business and releasing
recordings of his own. He also plays traditional jazz trumpet at
Preservation Hall, despite his millionaire status.
Bartholomew helped develop and define the New Orleans sound which was so
influential in the 1950s. He was key in the transition from jump blues and
big band swing to rhythm and blues and rock and roll.
Bartholomew and Domino co-wrote many songs that were hits, including 'Ain't
That a Shame', 'I'm in Love Again' 'Blue Monday' and 'I'm Walkin''.
His 'I Hear You Knocking' was a hit for Gale Storm in the 1950s, and Dave
Edmunds in the 1970s; 'One Night' and 'Witchcraft' were both hits for Elvis
Presley. Pat Boone's cover of 'Ain't That a Shame,' and Rick Nelson's
version of 'I'm Walkin'' were top twenty hits in the late 1950s and early
1960s. Chuck Berry's only #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit was a cover of
Bartholomew's 'My Ding-a-Ling', although Berry substantially changed the
arrangement and verses.
Bartholomew produced a series of memorable hits such as 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy'
with Lloyd Price; and 'I Hear You Knocking' and 'One Night (Of Sin)' with
Smiley Lewis; plus 'Let the Good Times Roll' with Shirley & Lee.
In 1991 Bartholomew was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a
non-performer owing to his role in producing early rhythm and blues songs.