Entry Category: Music - Starting with H

Hamilton, Lawrence Olivier

Lawrence Olivier Hamilton was a Broadway star who appeared in such shows as Porgy and Bess, The Wiz, and Jelly’s Last Jam. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in 2005. Lawrence Hamilton was born on September 14, 1954, in Ashdown (Little River County), one of six children of Oscar Hamilton and Mae Dell Neal-Hamilton. He later lived in Foreman (Little River County). He attended Foreman Public Schools and took piano lessons from a woman who had been a friend of ragtime composer Scott Joplin. He studied music education (as well as piano and voice) at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia (Clark County), receiving a bachelor’s degree. In …

Hardin, Louis Thomas “Moondog”

aka: Louis T. Hardin
Louis Thomas “Moondog” Hardin Jr. grew up and learned to play the piano in Independence County. He later became a musician and composer admired in jazz, classical, and rock circles. He was also known for living on Manhattan streets dressed as a Viking and banging a drum. Louis Hardin was born on May 26, 1916, in Marysville, Kansas, the son of an Episcopal minister, Louis Thomas Hardin Sr., and Norma Alves, a homemaker and teacher. He had one sister and one brother. The family moved around the Midwest when he was young. Playing tom-tom at a Wyoming Arapaho dance at a young age fostered a life-long affection for Native American rhythms. As an adult, Hardin performed with the Blackfoot tribe. While …

Hartford Music Company and Hartford Music Institute

The Hartford Music Company, located in Hartford (Sebastian County), was founded in 1918 by Eugene Monroe (E. M.) Bartlett, a businessman from Waynesville, Missouri, who wanted to publish gospel music. Specifically, he was interested in teaching people how to sight read a song, using shape notes, which would enable them to read music and sing with or without an instrument. Hartford was the perfect location for a gospel music company; the railroad ran east and west through town, with connecting rails all over the United States, thus allowing the easy transport of paper and supplies as well as students. Bartlett, president of the Hartford Music Company, printed from electrotype plates for his songbooks, published semiannually. The books were shipped all …

Hawkins, Dale

aka: Delmar Allen Hawkins
Delmar Allen (Dale) Hawkins Jr., a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, specialized in creating a sound (called “Swamp Rock” by some) that helped shape rock and roll music. Hawkins was successful in many roles in the music industry: singer, songwriter, recording artist, producer, arranger, band leader, musician, TV host, disc jockey, and promoter. Billboard magazine lists Hawkins’s Suzie Q album in its Top 100 most valuable albums in the development of rock and roll. His first cousin, Ronnie Hawkins, rose to fame with the musical group the Band. Different sources have reported different birth dates for Hawkins (given the practice in the 1950s for promoters to alter birth dates to make their clients more appealing to a younger …

Hawkins, Ronnie

aka: Ronald Cornett Hawkins
Ronald Cornett (Ronnie) Hawkins, a rock and roll singer and bandleader, is known primarily for starting the group the Hawks, which later became the Band. Ronnie Hawkins was born on January 10, 1935, in Huntsville (Madison County). His father, Jasper Hawkins, was a barber, and his mother, Flora Cornett Hawkins, was a schoolteacher. In 1945, the family, which included Hawkins’s older sister Winifred, moved to Fayetteville (Washington County). Hawkins was educated in the city’s public schools, graduating from Fayetteville High School in 1952. During his high school and college years, Hawkins formed his first bands, which played such Fayetteville venues as the Tee Table, the Bubble Club, and the Shamrock Club. A physical education major at the University of Arkansas …

Hayes, Morris Kevin

Arkansas native Morris Hayes is a talented musician, producer, and band leader. As a keyboardist, Hayes has worked with superstars such as Prince, George Clinton, Elton John, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder. He was one of the 2013 inductees into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Morris Kevin Hayes was born on November 28, 1962, in the small town of Jefferson (Jefferson County), just outside Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). He was inspired by the religious music he heard in church as a child. He majored in art at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). When a rhythm and blues (R&B) band on campus lost its keyboard player, Hayes—who had learned to play a bit in high school—offered to …

Hays, Lee Elhardt

Lee Elhardt Hays was a singer best known as the big man who sang bass with the folk-music group the Weavers. According to historian Studs Terkel, the Weavers were responsible for “entering folk music into the mainstream of American life.” Among the songs he is most known for are: “If I Had a Hammer,” “Roll the Union On,” “Raggedy, Raggedy, Are We,” “The Rankin Tree,” “On Top of Old Smoky,” “Kisses Sweeter than Wine,” and “Goodnight Irene.” Lee Hays was born on March 14, 1914, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to a strict Methodist preacher, William Benjamin Hays, and Ellen Reinhardt Hays. Hays’s father was serving as editor of the Arkansas Methodist at this time but later went back to the …

Helm, Levon

aka: Mark Lavon Helm
Mark Lavon (Levon) Helm was best known as the drummer and singer for the Canadian rock group the Band. Following the demise of the Band, he continued to have a successful career leading his own band, as well as acting in numerous motion pictures. Levon Helm was born on May 26, 1940, outside Elaine (Phillips County) to Nell and Diamond Helm. He had two sisters and one brother. He grew up in Marvell (Phillips County) working on the family cotton farm but was always encouraged to play and sing music at home and in church. Helm knew that he wanted to become a musician at age six, after seeing bluegrass musician Bill Monroe perform. He began playing guitar at age eight …

Hendricks, Barbara Ann

Barbara Hendricks is an internationally recognized leading lyric soprano. Whether performing light soprano roles in traditional operatic repertory, demanding premieres of twentieth-century vocal music, song recitals, or jazz, Hendricks has been recognized as a leading artist since the mid-1970s. In addition, she is recognized internationally for her work for human rights and world peace. Barbara Hendricks was born on November 20, 1948, in Stephens (Ouachita County). The child of a Methodist minister, she lived in various small towns in Arkansas and Tennessee. She graduated from Horace Mann High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). She enrolled at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, and transferred to the University of Nebraska as a chemistry major. She graduated in 1969 with a BS …

Hensley, Violet Brumley

Known as the “Whittling Fiddler,” the “Stradivarius of the Ozarks,” or more simply, the “Fiddle Maker,” Violet Brumley Hensley, a fiddle maker and musician most of her life, was designated as the 2004 Arkansas Living Treasure by the Arkansas Arts Council. According to the Arts Council, this designation recognizes Hensley as an outstanding Arkansan who has elevated her work as a fiddle maker to the status of art and who actively preserves and advances the art form. Violet Brumley was born near Mount Ida (Montgomery County) on October 21, 1916, to George Washington Brumley and Nora Springer Brumley. The Brumleys had two other daughters. She followed in her father’s footsteps as a musician, and at the age of fifteen, Brumley …

Hibbler, Al

aka: Albert George Edward Hibbler
Albert George Edward (Al) Hibbler, a pop/jazz singer, was the first African American to have a radio program in Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was also the first blind entertainer to gain national prominence. He sang with the Duke Ellington Band for eight and a half years before he left to make five recordings as a solo artist; three became Billboard pop hits. Hibbler also became a prominent figure in the civil rights movement. Al Hibbler was born on August 16, 1915, in Como, Mississippi, to Hubert Hibbler and Lucy Prokes Hibbler, a farm family; some sources have reported that Hibbler was born in Tyro, Mississippi, while still others report he was born in Little Rock, but he always claimed …

Hicks, Dan

Daniel Ivan Hicks was a cross-genre singer/songwriter specializing in a type of music he referred to as “folk jazz.” He served as front man for his band, the Hot Licks, off and on since 1968. Dan Hicks was born on December 9, 1941, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the only child of Ivan L. Hicks—a career military man—and Evelyn Kehl Hicks. The family moved to northern California when Hicks was five years old. The family settled in Santa Rosa, and Hicks resided in the area north of San Francisco for the rest of his life. Hicks started playing drums in grade school and played snare drum in his high school marching band. At age fourteen, he was accompanying high school …

Holyfield, Wayland

Wayland Holyfield is a prolific country music writer and recording artist who wrote one of Arkansas’s official state songs, “Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me).” He is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame. Wayland D. Holyfield was born in Mallet Town (Conway County) on March 15, 1942. He attended grade school in Springfield (Conway County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) and graduated from Hall High School in Little Rock in 1960—after attending high school in Mabelvale (Pulaski County) during the Lost Year of 1958–59 when Little Rock’s high schools were closed. He attended Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) on a basketball scholarship and then the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville …

Hot Springs Music Festival

The Hot Springs Music Festival is a non-profit organization whose dual mission is, first, to provide exceptionally talented young musicians with intensive mentoring to prepare them for the early stages of their professional careers, and, second, to have them share the music they make with people in central Arkansas. To fulfill its mission, the festival organization produces a two-week annual event by the same name every June in the historic downtown district of Hot Springs (Garland County). The festival was founded in 1995 by Richard Rosenberg, an orchestra conductor and music educator, and Laura Rosenberg, an arts administrator. Prior to founding the festival, Richard Rosenberg had been acting director of orchestras at the University of Michigan, associate conductor of the …

Howlin’ Wolf

aka: Chester Arthur Burnett
Chester Arthur Burnett, known as Howlin’ Wolf or Howling Wolf, was one of the most influential musicians of the post–World War II era. His electric blues guitar, backing his powerful, howling voice, helped shape rock and roll. Chester Burnett was born on June 10, 1910, in White Station, Mississippi, four miles northeast of West Point, Mississippi, to Leon “Dock” Burnett, a sharecropper, and Gertrude Jones. His parents separated when he was one year old; his father moved to the Mississippi Delta to farm, and he and his mother moved to Monroe County, Mississippi, where she became an eccentric religious singer who performed and sold self-penned spirituals on the street. Burnett got the nickname “Wolf” because his grandfather would scare the youngster by telling …

Hynson, Hazel Shanks

Hazel Shanks Hynson was a classically trained pianist who served as the choir director at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and taught many musicians in her studio who went on to be well known. Hazel Shanks was born on August 8, 1903, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Christopher Columbus Shanks, who worked as an insurance auditor, and Luna Craig Shanks; she had one younger brother. She attended private schools, studying music, and she received her bachelor’s degree in music, with a major in piano, from Atlanta University. She later traveled to England to pursue further musical studies at Oberlin College in Ohio and at the University of London. She also studied at the renowned Juilliard School in New …