From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Lewis, Meade Lux

(born: 1905  -  died: 1964) 

Meade Lux Lewis, the son of Hattie and George Lewis, was born in Louisville, KY, and raised in Chicago. Hattie and George were Kentucky natives, and according to the U.S. Federal Census, in 1920 the family was living in apartment 29, a rear unit on LaSalle Street in Chicago.

Meade Lewis had had been employed as a postal clerk and a Pullman Porter but found success as a pianist and composer.
His first instrument was the violin, which he learned to play when he was 16 years old. He taught himself to play the piano and developed a boogie-woogie style. His best known work is Honky Tonk Train Blues, recorded in 1927 when boogie-woogie was still a new sound.

To supplement his income, Lewis worked washing cars and driving a taxi. He played the piano at house parties, clubs, and after-hours joints. His fame is said to have begun in 1938 when he performed in John Hammond's concert at Carnegie Hall. He is regarded as one of the three noted musicians of boogie-woogie.

For more see the Meade Lux Lewis entry in the Afro-American Encyclopedia; and "Meade Lux Lewis pianist, is killed," New York Times, 6/08/1964, p. 18. A picture of Lewis and additional information are available in Men of Popular Music, by D. Ewen.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Honky-tonk train blues (song)
NKAA Source: Afro-American encyclopedia
NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Men of popular music

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Kentucky African American Musicians in Illinois (Chicago)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Lewis, Meade Lux,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 13, 2021,

Last modified: 2020-10-05 17:45:09