Rosco Gordon (April 10, 1928 – July 11, 2002) was an American blues singer and songwriter. He is best known for his 1952 #1 R&B hit single, “Booted”.
Born on Florida Street, in Memphis, Tennessee, Gordon was one of the Beale Streeters, a moniker given to a group of musicians who helped develop the style known as Memphis Blues. He was just 15 when he wrote his first song, "Love You Till the Day I Die", with Bobby Bland as co-author. Later, Bland made his first record with Gordon's band as backing. The following year Gordon won an amateur contest, which led to a weekly show on the WDIA radio station.
Gordon used a style of piano playing known as ‘The Rosco Rhythm’ and made a number of his early recordings for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. This rhythm placed the accent on the off beats, and although other influential R&B pianists such as Professor Longhair (on Willie Mae among other songs) recorded in the same off beat style before him, through his influence on Jamaican pianist Theophilus Beckford (Easy Snappin’), Rosco Gordon is cited as the foundation of Jamaican bluebeat and reggae music. “Booted” (1952) gave his career a sound start, and was followed by “No More Doggin’” the same year.
Sam Phillips later sold the master tape of “Booted” to two competing labels, Chess and RPM, both of whom released it as a single. This seeming mix up did not prevent the song from hitting number one on the Billboard R&B chart. However there were no further hits despite Gordon’s youth, talent and exuberant and oddball personality. In 1957 Gordon hit the cinemas with the teen-exploitation movie Rock, Baby, Rock It!, appearing alongside Johnny Carroll, the Fats Domino-style piano of Preacher Smith and the Deacons, the Texas doo-wop group the Five Stars, and Don Coats and the Bon-Aires.
In 1962, he gave up the music industry and moved to Queens, New York with his new wife where he purchased a partnership in a laundry business.
In May 2002, he returned to Memphis, joining old friends B.B. King, Ike Turner and Little Milton for a performance tribute to Sam Phillips during the W.C. Handy Awards Show. Called The Road To Memphis, the documentary aired on PBS television. Six weeks after filming finished, Gordon died of a heart attack at his apartment in Rego Park, Queens. He was 74 years old. He was interred in the Rosedale Cemetery in Linden, New Jersey. (Info edited from Wikipedia & Black Cat Rockabilly)