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Pookie Hudson

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Information about Pookie Hudson

Profile image of Pookie Hudson

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
R & B Singer
Doo Wop Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown
Favorite Food:
Barbecue
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite Quote:
I Love You.

Birthplace

Born:
6/11/1934
Birth Location:
Des Moines, Iowa

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
R & B Singer
Doo Wop Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown
Favorite Food:
Barbecue
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite Quote:
I Love You.

Birthplace

Born:
6/11/1934
Birth Location:
Des Moines
See how Pookie Hudson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Thornton James “Pookie” Hudson was born on June 11, 1934 in Des Moines, Iowa. Hudson received his nickname from an aunt who babysat him. He was the only child of Ardath Robinson. His father, who he never knew, was rumored to be a gypsy. James Hudson married his mother while she was pregnant and shortly after his birth the family moved from Iowa to Gary, Indiana. Hudson attended Roosevelt School from first grade until he graduated in 1953. He developed a love for music and singing at a young age and shares the bloodline with famous performers Josephine Baker and Fats Waller. In 1948, while only in junior high school, he formed his first Doo Wop singing group, The Four Bees with fellow members Billy Shelton, Gerald Gregory and Calvin Fossett. The group eventually broke up when one of the members graduated.

The Spaniels were created in 1953 at Roosevelt High School. The teenage celebrities included Hudson as the lead singer, first tenor Ernest Warren, second tenor Willie C. Jackson, baritone Opal Courtney, Jr and bass Gerald Gregory. Upon graduation in 1953, the group became the first artists to sign with Vee Jay Records, the first large, independent African American-owned record company. The group’s initial release Baby It’s You reached number ten on Billboard’s Rhythm and Blues chart. In the spring of 1954 that The Spaniels reached the height of their Doo Wop success when Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight hit number twenty-four on Billboard’s Top 40 and rose to number five on the R & B chart. The multi-million dollar single was just one of hundreds of songs written by Hudson. To date, the song continues to be a popular favorite among Doo Wop, classic rock and R & B music fans.

In the 1950s, The Spaniels were the top selling vocal group for Vee Jay records. When the label went bankrupt in 1966, Hudson embarked on a solo career and began recording for several other labels. In 1969, the group reunited and returned to the music of their youth. Their song Fairy Tales became a national hit in 1970. Hudson continued to perform with various Spaniels groups until he reassembled the original group.

In 1992, Hudson was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame. He continued to perform with two Spaniels groups, one in Washington, D.C. and the original group still based in Gary. Hudson raised money to open a Doo Wop museum in Washington, D.C. where he resided with his wife, Delores.

Hudson passed away on Tuesday, January 16, 2007.

Hudson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 2, 2004.

See how Pookie Hudson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Pookie Hudson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Pookie Hudson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Pookie Hudson describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Pookie Hudson describes his stepfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Pookie Hudson describes his mother's side of the family and early exposure to music
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Pookie Hudson talks about his earliest memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Pookie Hudson describes his childhood community in Gary, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Pookie Hudson describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Gary, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Pookie Hudson describes his childhood personality and his elementary school years
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Pookie Hudson talks about attending church as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Pookie Hudson speaks about his friends at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana, and forming his band, The Spaniels
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Pookie Hudson describes developing a love for singing while listening to 'Randy at Night' on the radio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Pookie Hudson talks about the music acts at his great aunt's home in Davenport, Iowa
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Pookie Hudson talks about visiting his grandmother and great aunt in Davenport, Iowa
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Pookie Hudson talks about his role models growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Pookie Hudson describes his first performance with the Three Bees
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Pookie Hudson talks about the formation of Pookie Hudson and the Hudsonnaires
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Pookie Hudson describes the origins of the 1952 song 'Goodnight Sweetheart'
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Pookie Hudson talks about auditioning with Pookie Hudson and the Hudsonnaires at the Chicago Theater in the early 1950s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Pookie Hudson describes being approached by Vee-Jay Records in 1953
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Pookie Hudson talks about his experiences at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Pookie Hudson describes his personality as a performer and writing 'Goodnight Sweetheart' for a girl he liked
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Pookie Hudson talks about supporting himself financially as an entertainer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Pookie Hudson describes first hearing his songs on the radio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Pookie Hudson describes his experiences with segregation in Chicago, Illinois and in the South while travelling with Pookie Hudson and the Hudsonnaires
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Pookie Hudson describes touring with Pookie Hudson and the Hudsonnaires during the 1950s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Pookie Hudson talks about his life as an entertainer in the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Pookie Hudson talks about his first marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Pookie Hudson talks about returning to singing and Vee-Jay Records after the end of his first marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Pookie Hudson talks about his relationship with deejay Alan Freed
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Pookie Hudson talks about the doo-wop genre and his 1960s music career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Pookie Hudson describes changing labels, the end of the Spaniels and evolving music genres in the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Pookie Hudson talks about the Civil Rights Movement's impact on music during the 1950s and 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Pookie Hudson talks about securing royalties for 'Goodnight, Sweetheart' in the 1970s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Pookie Hudson describes reconnecting with Vee-Jay Records founder Vivian Carter at her home in the 1970s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Pookie Hudson talks about his career and activities in the 1970s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Pookie Hudson describes his most valuable lesson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Pookie Hudson describes his hopes for doo-wop musicians and similar artists
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Pookie Hudson speaks about the doo-wop genre, including its future
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Pookie Hudson shares advice for younger artists interested in doo-wop, and compares the genre to rap music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Pookie Hudson talks about his experience performing for a European audience and being inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame in 1992
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Pookie Hudson reflects on both his accomplishments and regrets in terms of his music career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Pookie Hudson talks about his ongoing relationship with the Spaniels
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Pookie Hudson shares his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Pookie Hudson reflects on how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Pookie Hudson expounds upon his definition of the doo-wop genre, including its and the Spaniels' contribution to the music industry as a whole
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Pookie Hudson talks about 'Peace of Mind' as another song he would like to be remembered by and his songwriting process
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Pookie Hudson reflects on the best decade of his life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Pookie Hudson narrates his photographs