Al Jolsen

AL JOLSEN, a Russian Jewish immigrant, in his day was hands-down world’s most famous performer. Jackie Wilson considered Louis Jordan & Al Jolson his idols and the “Stylistic forefathers of rock and roll.” Jolsen’s dynamic body language and theatrical on-stage performances and fight for equality paved the way for black stars like Cab Calloway, Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Ethel Waters and Duke Ellington. At a time when blacks were banned from performing on Broadway, Jolson promoted the first all-black play on Broadway. Became the first star to entertain troops overseas in WW1 & Korea. His song, Brother Can You Spare a Dime, became the anthem of the depression. Possibly the first famous entertainer who made singing a song a spectacular event.  Clarence Frogman Henry said, “Jolsen did wonders for blacks and glorified entertainment.”