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Smiley Lewis
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    (July 5, 1913-October 7, 1966)
    Born in DeQuincy, Louisiana
    Birth name was Overton Amos Lemons
    New Orleans-based rhythm and blues singer
    Recorded the singles 'I Hear You Knockin' (1955), 'One Night' (1956) and 'Please Listen To Me' (1956)
    As a teen, he rode a freight train from his home to New Orleans.
    He got the nickname Smiley because he was missing his front teeth.
    A music critic wrote, 'Lewis was the unluckiest man in New Orleans. He hit on a formula for slow-rocking, small-band numbers only to have Fats Domino come up behind him with similar music more ingratiatingly delivered. Lewis was practically drowned in Domino's backwash.'
    He died of stomach cancer in his wife's arms three days before a scheduled benefit concert to raise funds for his medical care.
    His 'One Night' became a hit for Elvis Presley (with one risque verse 'cleaned up') and 'I Hear You Knockin' became a hit for Dave Edmunds.
    His song 'Shame, Shame, Shame' was featured in the movie 'Baby Doll' (1956) and (with new lyrics about Hurricane Katrina) the TV series Treme.

Credit: C. Fishel

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