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Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup

“If I Get Lucky”

On this day in 1941, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup recorded this track, “If I Get Lucky,” and it became one of his most famous songs of his career. Crudup was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, which he exemplifies in his music that chugs along like a steam engine.

One of unique aspects of this recording is that Crudup, despite a long musical career, stopped recording in studios because he disagreed with the royalty agreements. He only used studio recordings for 10 years of his more than 40-year career.

After leaving the studio recording world, Crudup went to bootleg recordings of his live shows. This paid less money, though, and so Crudup took up a life of field labor and selling moonshine.

Crudup was known, in large part, because of Elvis Presley, who covered (or “stole”…ahem) his songs such as “That’s All Right” (you should hear Crudup play the original). However, some people privy to the budding rock scene at the time still referred to Crudup as “The Father of Rock and Roll,” recognizing his contributions. However, despite his status as an important figure, Elvis paid him terrible royalties on the song he stole covered. Therefore, Crudup referred to him as “Elvin Preston,” in a slight rebuke of Elvis’ fame.

The record is unclear about how long Crudup lived, because he used numerous names throughout his life. However, he died in 1974 due to a heart attack.