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Biography

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Overview (4)

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Died in Baltimore, Maryland, USA  (complications after spine surgery)
Birth NameWilliam Henry Webb
Height 4' 1" (1.24 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Chick Webb was born on February 10, 1905 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA as William Henry Webb. He was married to Sallye. He died on June 16, 1939 in Baltimore.

Spouse (1)

Sallye (? - 16 June 1939) (his death)

Trivia (11)

Had tuberculosis of the spine when young which caused him to have a twisted spine leaving him hunchbacked.
No one knew Webb's true birth date from before the time of his death in 1939 until September 2005 when filmmaker Eric Bruno Borgman discovered the correct year. This means that February 10, 2005 was the 100th anniversary of his birth and it went by without any recognition.
He is buried at Arbutus Memorial Park in Arbutus, Baltimore Co., Maryland. It lists his erroneous birth date.
Inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1985.
Drummer and bandleader.
His band's theme song was "I May Be Wrong".
Recorded for Decca, Okeh and Columbia.
After Webb's untimely death (in 1939 at the age of thirty-seven) from tuberculosis of the spine, Ella Fitzgerald took over leadership of the band for another three years, with Ted McCrea and Eddie Barefield acting as musical directors.
Gene Krupa regarded Chick as his greatest inspiration and changed his style of drumming to emulate Webb's.
Chick started his first band in New York in 1926, which included among its sidemen Johnny Hodges, Mario Bauza and Benny Carter. Duke Ellington helped secure their first engagement at the Black Bottom Club in Manhattan. By the early 30's, Chick's band regularly played the Savoy and Roseland ballrooms. In 1935, he hired the then unknown singer Ella Fitzgerald, which further cemented his nationwide popularity (she was discovered by Webb sideman Bardu Ali at an amateur contest at the Harlem Opera House). In 1937, he challenged Benny Goodman to a 'dance battle' at the Savoy, drawing a crowd of more than 5000, most of whom declared Webb the winner.
Reputedly Chick's last words were "I'm sorry, I gotta go!".

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