Cultural Percussionist

Meade Lux Lewis Day

Anderson Meade Lewis (September 4, 1905 – June 7, 1964), known as Meade Lux Lewis, was an American pianist and composer, noted for his playing in the boogie-woogie style. His best-known work, “Honky Tonk Train Blues”, has been recorded by many artists.

Lewis was born in Chicago, though some sources state Louisville, Kentucky, on September 4, 1905 (September 3 and 13 have also been cited as his date of birth in various sources). In his youth he was influenced by the pianist Jimmy Yancey. His father, a guitarist who made two recordings of his own, introduced Meade to music and arranged for him to have violin lessons. He gave up the violin at age 16, shortly after his father’s death, and switched to the piano. The nickname “Lux” was given to him by his boyhood friends. He would imitate a couple of characters from a popular comic strip in Chicago, Alphonse and Gaston, and stroke an imaginary beard as part of the routine. His friends started calling him the Duke of Luxembourgbecause of this, and the name stuck for the rest of his life. He became friends with Albert Ammons during childhood, a friendship that would last throughout their lives. They went to the same school together briefly, and they practiced and learned the piano together on the Ammons family piano.

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