Lionel Hampton Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
Childhood And Early Life
Jazz drummer Lionel Hampton was born on the 20 April 1909. His father Charles was killed in World War I (1914-1918). After the death of his father, Hampton’s mother relocated to Chicago.
Born into the Catholic faith, Lionel Hampton was taught by nuns. He also studied musical theory at the University of Southern California.
Rise To Fame
As a boy living in Chicago, he joined a newsboys band instigated by the Chicago Defender. Encouraged by his uncle who bought him his first drum kit, he became proficient on drums and began to find work in various dance bands. By 1930 he was playing in a band supporting Louis Armstrong at the LA Cotton Club.
After a session in 1936 with Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa, he began appearing on small-swing-band recordings. Influenced by Goodman’s style, Lionel Hampton started his orchestra in 1940 which included band members such as guitarist Wes Montgomery and singer Betty Carter. He found national success in 1942 when he had a hit with the swing anthem Flying Home.
He was popular at festivals and also worked in a group doing club work and continued to retain his popularity into the post-rock music ear.
Apart from his musical career, Lionel Hampton and his wife were entrepreneurs who ran publishing companies, a record label, and property developers. Their record label was Who’s Who in Jazz and their property development company was Lionel Hampton Development Corporation.
With a career spanning more than four decades, Lionel Hampton continued entertaining and touring into old age.
He is remembered as being the composer of tunes such as Flying Home and Hamp’s Boogie Woogie as well as a legendary drummer
Lionel Hampton married Gladys Riddle who was a dancer and together the couple built up a business empire. She also encouraged his drumming. Riddle died in 1971 and Hampton on the 20 April 1909.