Warner Chappell Music has entered into a worldwide administration agreement with the estate of Cab Calloway, the pioneering jazz vocalist, songwriter, entertainer, actor, and author.
The deal includes classics such as Minnie the Moocher, Are You All Reet? and Are You Hep to the Jive? (Yas, Yas).
In a career that spanned over 65 years, Calloway inspired generations of performers, among them James Brown and Michael Jackson, while laying the groundwork for what would become hip-hop music and culture decades later.
Calloway was the first Black artist to sell a million records, with the 1931 release of Minnie the Moocher.
One of the most popular entertainers of the 1930s and 1940s, Calloway led his big band during the height of the Harlem Renaissance and often performed at the famed Cotton Club.
Calloway was one of the first performers to combine singing and improvised rhythmic speaking in a style and flow cited as the precursor of hip-hop.
Calloway’s recordings hit the Billboard charts for five consecutive decades, from the 1930s to the 1970s, when he released a disco version of Minnie the Moocher.
In 1993, he was honored with the National Medal of Arts from the United States Congress, and in 2008, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Minnie the Moocher was added to the U.S. Library of Congress’s prestigious National Recording Registry in 2019.
Calloway was the first Black artist to have a nationally broadcasted radio show. He also documented Black culture with several books, beginning in 1938 with Cab Calloway’s Cat-ologue: A Hepster’s” Dictionary, which defined terms like “In the groove” and “zoot suit.”
The first dictionary published by a Black author, it became the official jive language reference book of the New York Public Library.
Calloway introduced himself to new fans by appearing on Sesame Street, featuring in Janet Jackson’s 1990 music video for Alright, and by sharing his life story in his autobiography, Of Minnie the Moocher & Me (1976).
He made several key Broadway appearances, including Porgy and Bess in 1953, and many big screen appearances, from The Big Broadcast in 1932 to The Blues Brothers in 1980.
Warner Chappell’s Chuck Gamble, VP of Catalog Promotions, Creative Services and Scott McDowell, EVP, Head of Legal & Business Affairs, U.S., represented the publisher in negotiation and drafting of the agreement, while Joshua “Young Cab” Langsam and Carlos Alejandro acted on behalf of the Estate of Cab Calloway, along with the estate’s entertainment lawyer, Bernard M. Resnick.
“We’re thrilled that Warner Chappell has been chosen to represent this extraordinary body of work, and we’re looking forward to bringing his groundbreaking music to a whole new generation of fans.”
Warner Chappell Music Co-Chair and CEO, Guy Moot, and Co-Chair and COO, Carianne Marshall, said: “Cab Calloway had an enormous influence on the course of modern music, from the swing era of the ‘30s to the hip-hop of today.
“He was a pioneering artist whose wide-ranging talents crossed musical, racial, and cultural boundaries. Calloway literally defined what it meant to be hip, while writing and performing music that remains as irresistible today as it was nearly a century ago.
“We’re thrilled that Warner Chappell has been chosen to represent this extraordinary body of work, and we’re looking forward to bringing his groundbreaking music to a whole new generation of fans.”Music Business Worldwide