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Rufus Thomas

RUFUS THOMAS

Born in Mississippi in 1917 and still performing, bluesman Rufus Thomas is known as "the world's oldest teenager." After high school in Memphis, Rufus spent 11 years in touring minstrel shows, then landed a stint as a DJ on WDIA, Memphis, the first radio station in the nation to program for an exclusively black audience. There, Thomas met fellow disc jockey and future guitar legend B.B.King.

Rufus' first hit record of his own, "Bear Cat," came in 1953 on Sam Phillips' fledgeling Sun label, which was a response to Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog." Rufus later moved to start-up Stax records where his two big 1963 dance hits "The Dog," and "Walking the Dog" helped establish the label. Thomas had another sting of hits in the early 70's including the #2 R&B hit "The Breakdown."

Now in his 80's, "The Official Ambassador of Memphis Music" is still performing live and continues to be a favorite of blues audiences and festivals all over the world. He also remains a popular personality on WDIA.

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