Professor LonghairProfessor Longhair was born on 19/12/1918 in Bogalusa, Louisiana. His birth name was Henry Roeland Byrd. He learnt to play the piano on a piano that was missing some keys.
In 1948 he moved to New Orleans to start his music career. There he would meet Mike Tessitore, the owner of the Caldonia Club who would give him the Longhair stage name.
In 1949 he recorded with the band Shuffling Hungarians for the Star Talent record label. Union problems restricted the recordings release. Longhair recorded the song "Bald Head" for Mercury Records in the same year, which became a national R&B hit the next year.
In the fifties, he recorded for Atlantic Records, Federal Records and local labels. Amongst his songs included "Tipitina" and "Go to the Mardi Gras".
In 1957, he recorded "No Buts - No Maybes" after having suffered a stroke.
In 1964 he recorded "Big Chief" with the song's composer Earl King. In the sixties, Longhair's career went into a decline and became a janitor, whilst also developing a gambling habit.
In 1971 he appeared at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival.
In 1973 he appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
In 1980 he released the album "Crayfish Fiesta" with Alligator Records. In the same year, he was a part of the documentary "Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together". During the filming of the documentary, Longhair died.
In 1981 an album of recordings from his UK performances was released called "The London Concert".
In 1992 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.