Historical marker honoring music legend Arthur Big Boy Crudup heading to Nassawadox

March 27, 2024
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Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup

A Virginia Department of Historic Resources road side marker honoring the music legend Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup is heading to Nassawadox following unanimous votes approving the move by the Nassawadox Town Council and Northampton County Board of Supervisors.

The sign will read: “Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup, a blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter sometimes called ‘The Father of Rock n’ Roll’ was born in Mississippi and gained prominence as a recording artist in Chicago in the 1940s. A cover of Crudup’s “That’s All Right” launched the career of Elvis Presley, who later recorded two more of Crudup’s works. Among others who covered Crudup were the Beatles, B.B. King, and Elton John. Rarely receiving royalties, Crudup supported his family as a laborer and farmer worker and moved to Franktown ca. 1960. He toured internationally and performed with his sons James, George and Jonas as the Malibus in Weirwood and Nassawadox. he died on 28 March 1974 and is buried near here.”

The sign will be placed on Rt. 13 near Nassawadox.

The recent blockbuster hit “Elvis” showed a scene where the young Presley, before he became a star,  attended an African American music event in a time of segregation. Crudup allegedly performed and Presley was mesmerized by the charisma and the excitement generated in the room by that style of performance.  Although the scene was likely poetic license, Crudup’s influence was a major part of  Presley’s on stage performance that was a main driver of his career and the Rock and Roll movement as well.

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Crudup is buried in the Bethel Baptist Church Cemetary in Franktown.

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