Esquerita: The Innovator of Rock and Roll’s Early Days

Esquerita: The Innovator of Rock and Roll’s Early Days

Esquerita was an enigmatic musician from Rock and Roll’s early days, whose contributions to the genre were nothing less than revolutionary. Born in 1935 in Greenville, South Carolina, and originally named Eskew Reeder Jr., Esquerita was considered a master piano player and a charismatic performer in the 1950s. His flamboyant stage presence and unique musical style inspired many rock and roll legends, but his time in the spotlight was ultimately brief.

Esquerita’s signature sound was a combination of styles like boogie-woogie, gospel, and R&B, and his creative energy and signature style had a tremendous impact on the rock and roll scene of that time. He was particularly influential for his innovative use of the piano, confusing audiences who couldn’t tell if he was playing two pianos or one and questioning his sanity due to the sheer intensity of his performances.

Esquerita, portrait, USA, 1959. (Photo by Gilles Petard/Redferns)

Esquerita released some of his best recordings between 1958 and 1960, including the now-classic song “Hey Miss Lucy,” which became a hit in the UK’s burgeoning rock and roll scene. However, despite his growing popularity, Esquerita struggled to maintain his success in the ever-changing world of music.

Sadly, like many other musicians of his time, Esquerita struggled with addiction and financial difficulties, never managing to achieve the level of success he deserved. Esquerita’s impact on rock and roll far surpassed his commercial success, directly influencing a generation of great musicians who would go on to become rock and roll legends like Little Richard, who was particularly inspired by Esquerita’s unique style and energy.

In the decades since his death in 1986, Esquerita’s legacy has lived on through his music and influence on other artists, with his style and musical contributions continuing to inspire new generations of musicians around the world.

In conclusion, Esquerita was a remarkable musician whose musical talent revolutionized the early Rock and Roll scene with his wild and innovative piano playing, earning him respect and admiration from some of the biggest names in the industry, and leaving a profound mark in the history of popular music. While his success may have been limited, his influence continues to be felt in the world of music today, and he has earned his place as one of the most unique and innovative figures of his time.

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