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Bert Williams

Bert Williams (November 12, 1874 – March 4, 1922) was a Bahamian-American entertainer, one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. In 1918, the New York Dramatic Mirror called Williams "one of the great comedians of the world."

Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his three-decade-long career. Fellow vaudevillian W. C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as "the funniest man I ever saw—and the saddest man I ever knew."

Birth and Death Data: Born November 12th, 1874 (Nassau), Died March 4th, 1922 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1896 - 1933

Roles Represented in DAHR: baritone vocal, composer, songwriter, piano, speaker, lyricist, author

Recordings (Results 51-75 of 141 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3610 10-in. 10/11/1901 The phrenologist coon Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3613 10-in. 10/11/1901 Junie George Walker Male vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3615 10-in. 10/11/1901 The ghost of a coon Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano, songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3616 10-in. 10/11/1901 If you love your baby, make dem goo-goo eyes Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano, songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3618 10-in. 10/11/1901 Her name's Miss Dinah Fair Williams and Walker Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor A-918 7-in. 1/14/1904 She's getting more like the white folks every day Dan W. Quinn Male vocal solo, with piano songwriter  
Victor B-918 10-in. 1/14/1904 She's getting more like the white folks every day Dan W. Quinn Male vocal solo, with piano songwriter  
Victor B-2568 10-in. 5/22/1905 Nobody Arthur Collins Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-3338 12-in. 4/26/1906 Here it comes again Arthur Collins Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-8078 10-in. 6/28/1909 That's a plenty Arthur Collins Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-9043 10-in. 6/2/1910 You're gwine get somethin' what you don't expect Billy Murray Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-10937 10-in. 9/8/1911 Dat's harmony Arthur Collins Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-12788 10-in. 1/10/1913 My landlady Arthur Collins Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-18920 10-in. 12/21/1916 The ghost of a coon Leighton Brothers Male vocal duet, with guitar songwriter  
Victor BS-77173 10-in. 12/4/1933 Nobody Harry Wall Male vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor PBVE-1307 10-in. 10/14/1931 Constantly Phil Harris Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble composer  
Columbia 1358 7-in. ca. 1903-Oct. 1905 When it's all going out and nothing coming in Dan W. Quinn Male vocal duet, with piano songwriter  
Columbia 1358 10-in. ca. 1903 When it's all going out and nothing coming in Artists vary Male vocal duet, with piano songwriter  
Columbia 3264 10-in. ca. Jan.-Oct. 1905 Nobody Arthur Collins Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 3410 10-in. ca. Jan.-June 1906 Pretty Desdemone George Walker ; Bert Williams Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 3423 10-in. ca. Jan.-June 1906 Nobody Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 3454 10-in. ca. Jan.-Aug. 1906 Here it comes again Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 3504 10-in. ca. Jan.-Nov. 1906 Let it alone Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 3515 10-in. ca. Jan.-Nov. 1906 I'm tired of eating in the restaurants Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 3536 10-in. ca. Oct. 1906 He's a cousin of mine Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
(Results 51-75 of 141 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Williams, Bert," accessed March 3, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103803.

Williams, Bert. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 3, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103803.

"Williams, Bert." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 3 March 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103803

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