William McKinney

William McKinney (17 September 1895 – 14 October 1969) was an American jazz drummer who led a series of musical groups, most notably McKinney's Cotton Pickers.

William "Bill" McKinney was born in Cynthiana, Kentucky. He worked as a drummer in a circus band, then after serving in the United States Army in World War I settled in Springfield, Ohio where he took over leadership of the Synco Jazz Band. After hiring drummer Cuba Austin, McKinney worked as leader and business manager. After touring the U.S. Midwest, they got a residency at the Arcadia Ballroom in Detroit, Michigan in 1926. In Detroit they were heard by bandleader and music promoter Jean Goldkette, who arranged a more lucrative home base for the band in Detroit's Graystone Ballroom. The band was renamed McKinney's Cotton Pickers.

After the band broke up in 1934 during the Great Depression, McKinney for a time led and played with a dance band in Boston, From 1937 on McKinney managed a Detroit Cafe with a dance floor and live bands who McKinney booked; he also booked bands for other locations on the side.

Bill McKinney retired in the 1950s and spent his last years in his childhood hometown of Cynthiana.

Birth and Death Data: Born September 17th, 1895 (Cynthiana), Died October 14th, 1969 (Cynthiana)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1930

Roles Represented in DAHR: songwriter


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-64008 10-in. 7/31/1930 Cotton picker's scat McKinney's Cotton Pickers ; George Thomas Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo and vocal chorus songwriter  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "McKinney, William," accessed October 27, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103720.

McKinney, William. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 27, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103720.

"McKinney, William." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 27 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103720


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