It is taking longer than expected to fetch the next song to play. The music should be playing soon. If you get tired of waiting, you can try reloading your browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.
Your Pandora One subscription will expire shortly.
close
Your Pandora One trial subscription will expire shortly. Upgrade to continue unlimited, ad-free listening.
You've listened to hours of Pandora this month. Consider upgrading to Pandora One.
Close
Hi . Pandora is using Facebook to personalize your experience. Learn MoreNo Thanks
-0:00
0:00
Change Skin

We created Pandora to put the Music Genome Project directly in your hands

It’s a new kind of radio –
stations that play only music you like

 
Create an account for free. Register
Now Playing
Music Feed
My Profile
Create a Station
People who also like this

Rufus Thomas

Few of rock & roll's founding figures are as likable as Rufus Thomas. From the 1940s onward, he has personified Memphis music; his small but witty cameo role in Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train, a film which satirizes and enshrines the city's role in popular culture, was entirely appropriate. As a recording artist, he wasn't a major innovator, but he could always be depended upon for some good, silly, and/or outrageous fun with his soul dance tunes. He was one of the few rock or soul stars to reach his commercial and artistic peak in middle age, and was a crucial mentor to many important Memphis blues, rock, and soul musicians.

Thomas was already a professional entertainer in the mid-'30s, when he was a comedian with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. He recorded music as early as 1941, but really made his mark on the Memphis music scene as a deejay on WDIA, one of the few black-owned stations of the era. He also ran talent shows on Memphis' famous Beale Street that helped showcase the emerging skills of such influential figures as B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, Ike Turner, and Roscoe Gordon.

Thomas had his first success as a recording artist in 1953 with "Bear Cat," a funny answer record to Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog." It made number three on the R&B charts, giving Sun Records its first national hit, though some of the sweetness went out of the triumph after Sun owner Sam Phillips lost a lawsuit for plagiarizing the original Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller tune. Thomas, strangely, would make only one other record for Sun, and recorded only sporadically throughout the rest of the 1950s.

Thomas and his daughter Carla would become the first stars for the Stax label, for whom they recorded a duet in 1959, "'Cause I Love You" (when the company was still known as Satellite). In the '60s, Carla would become one of Stax's biggest stars. On his own, Rufus wasn't as successful as his daughter, but issued a steady stream of decent dance/novelty singles.

These were not deep or emotional statements, or meant to be. Vaguely prefiguring elements of funk, the accent was on the stripped-down groove and Rufus' good-time vocals, which didn't take himself or anything seriously. The biggest by far was "Walking the Dog," which made the Top Ten in 1963, and was covered by the Rolling Stones on their first album.

Thomas hit his commercial peak in the early '70s, when "Do the Funky Chicken," "(Do The) Push and Pull," and "The Breakdown" all made the R&B Top Five. As the song titles themselves make clear, funk was now driving his sound rather than blues or soul. Thomas drew upon his vaudeville background to put them over on-stage with fancy footwork that displayed remarkable agility for a man well into his 50s. The collapse of the Stax label in the mid-'70s meant the end of his career, basically, as it did for many other artists with the company. In 2001, Rufus Thomas was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Later that year, on December 15, he died at St. Francis hospital in Memphis, TN.~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

My dog made a record called "Walkin the Human", but it never `walked` up the charts...... . . B a n d i t got TOTALLY disillusione d with the music biz & quit to pursue a rabbit. He didn't catch it, it grabbed a taxi & took off. My Dog STILL sulks over this........ .
Rufus Thomas was a dear, good-hearted man,& i had the honor of meeting him,'waaaaaa a a y back in tha day.......i was assisting my dad,a freelance photographer , a t a concert. My dad got too close 4 some selfstyled 'badass' security guard,& was roughly pushed back from the stage. Mr. Thomas stopped in midsong, came to the edge of the stage, & proceeded to tell off the bully-boy,sa y i n g "Now I ain't havin' this mess, you back off & go on 'bout your bizness!" The guy did just that,& Rufus apologized to
I grew up 40 miles south of Memphis in Helena Ar. I listened to all his albums and daily on WDIA radio where he was a DJ. My first wife turned me on to him and we grew to love walking the dog, lol
The outfit this guy wore at Watt Stax was awesome! I still listen to the Memphis Train regularly.
I would do the funky Penguin but........
I like Mr Thomas's music and he also wore some strange outfits.
I dig rufus thomas,way back in the early 70's i was just 15yrs. old
christinesei p
better than coffee for waking up in the morning!
samhenderson 3 9 7 4
Been listening to a Memphis Music legend, Rufus Thomas along with many othe Sun & Staxx Records stars.
This is great dancing music and brings back many wonderful memories!
a true pioneer, genuis along with so many of his peers from this era b.love
good music for hittin floor, bboy style!

We're sorry, but a browser plugin or firewall may be preventing Pandora from loading.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser.

Please check our Help page for more information.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser
or install a newer version of Flash (v.10 or later).

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please install Adobe Flash (v.10 or later).

[89, 109, 122, 105, 71, 75, 65, 99, 102, 106, 64, 123, 83, 120, 80, 67, 83, 101, 81, 124, 115, 69, 69, 73, 97, 75, 80, 114, 78, 105, 90, 68, 110, 94, 86, 117, 66, 87, 120, 89, 78, 93, 119, 80, 112, 111, 77, 105, 72, 87, 74, 82, 93, 85, 126, 99, 77, 89, 94, 78, 98, 79, 70, 74, 104, 89, 86, 91, 67, 79, 125, 88, 77, 68, 93, 65, 84, 104, 67, 107, 117, 67, 73, 92, 106, 105, 97, 126, 73, 88, 120, 77, 74, 76, 126, 80, 119, 110, 83, 87, 91, 119, 111, 113, 69, 69, 119, 115, 73, 70, 82, 117, 104, 72, 109, 121, 83, 113, 84, 80, 77, 93, 97, 124, 69, 114, 74, 82, 119, 120, 80, 70, 64, 122, 64, 121, 117, 98, 127, 91, 84, 80, 75, 104, 127, 80, 94, 65, 66, 85, 98, 103, 120, 90, 78, 95, 121, 88, 93, 93, 96, 64, 111, 66, 103, 102, 113, 111, 105, 80, 100, 120, 101, 88, 102, 124, 96, 99, 73, 122, 99, 69, 122, 80, 107, 64, 76, 68, 82, 120, 105, 72, 108, 72, 96, 115, 108, 81, 124, 117, 121, 114, 124, 73, 76, 90, 86, 81, 116, 106, 109, 87, 75, 123, 111, 117, 97, 98, 87, 106, 100, 76, 83, 94, 90, 83, 115, 70, 106, 66, 85, 85, 85, 97, 108, 107, 119, 97, 84, 123, 87, 70, 82, 92, 97, 80, 92, 66, 83, 99, 71, 92, 117, 71, 120, 91, 105, 74, 95, 79, 88, 124, 81, 85, 110, 82, 120, 117, 104, 87, 122, 125, 73, 81, 74, 90, 101, 72, 125, 64, 79, 105, 106, 84, 72, 72, 84, 104, 105, 105, 98, 85, 97, 78, 96, 87, 98, 86, 90, 121, 66, 104, 90, 74, 73, 114, 94, 68, 115, 113, 113, 117, 96, 92, 116, 99, 85, 107, 108, 105, 76, 66, 100, 77, 122, 73, 124, 77, 71, 109, 115, 69, 79, 72, 115, 100, 124, 101, 74, 91, 97, 113, 115, 126, 99, 108, 107, 86, 123, 88, 107, 123, 70, 73, 113, 112, 115, 124, 89, 114, 122, 116, 75, 74, 80, 79, 78, 75, 122, 78, 90, 66, 93, 117, 123, 105, 120, 97, 85, 97, 99, 106, 120, 85, 116, 126, 106, 86, 72, 73, 84, 93, 75, 108, 107, 127, 78, 121, 64, 80, 105, 125, 96, 83, 103, 72, 86, 73, 88, 105, 104, 74, 97, 85, 64, 84, 78, 84, 90, 89, 110, 81, 103, 85, 112, 88, 122, 107, 122, 118, 94, 102, 124, 71, 73, 112, 75, 64, 99, 86, 66, 67, 73, 84, 120, 104, 126, 98, 94, 124, 65, 72, 95, 113, 81, 67, 83, 116, 74, 117, 66, 104, 69, 102, 125, 70, 68, 72, 115, 105, 74, 115, 91, 90, 120, 120, 111, 76, 113, 87, 72, 110, 121, 96, 90, 82, 74, 93, 107, 67, 85, 73, 64, 103, 96, 79, 70, 118, 85, 92, 123, 119, 91, 78, 94, 124, 91, 78, 126, 92, 84, 100]