Listen: Before He Tackled Comedy, Richard Pryor Was an Amazing Blues Singer

Listen: Before He Tackled Comedy, Richard Pryor Was an Amazing Blues Singer

Oct 24, 2013


Before he became one of comedy's most famous foul-mouthed funnymen, Richard Pryor was working the club circuit as a part-time singer. He moved to New York City in 1963 after a tumultuous childhood in Illinois and a stint in the Army that found him in prison for the stabbing of a fellow soldier. Pryor had played drums in nightclubs at a young age, so he was familiar with the scene and got himself several good gigs opening for people like Bob Dylan and Nina Simone.

The legendary performer recalled a very nervous Pryor during a show at the Village Gate: "He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous. I couldn't bear to watch him shiver, so I put my arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down. The next night was the same, and the next, and I rocked him each time."

eOne Music Canada's Eric Alper just shared a YouTube video of a baby-faced Pryor singing the Jimmy Cox blues standard "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out." It's a mesmerizing performance from a multitalented man whose troubled life sometimes overshadowed his massive talent. For more bluesy Pryor, we've also included a trailer for his film Lady Sings the Blues — about the life and career of Billie Holiday. Pryor played a piano player who recognizes her incredible talent during the early days of her career.





                MORE FROM AROUND THE WEB:


Categories: News, Trailers and Clips
blog comments powered by Disqus

Facebook on

The Burning Question

In the movie Ricki and the Flash, what is the name of the character played by Rick Rosas

  • Steven
  • Gale
  • Jan Arnold
  • Buster
Get Answer Get New Question