Louis Prima the legend and “Big Daddy” of Swing 100th birthday will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m. on 1st Street Stage at the Fremont Street Experience. Louis Prima Jr. will commemorate his father’s life by performing some of his dad’s legendary songs such as “Just a Gigolo – I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “Old Black Magic,” “Buona Sera” and many more. Louis Prima Jr. takes great pride in his father’s famous music and has compiled a show that will take audience members back to the big band era and his father’s memorable performances. Following Louis Prima Jr., local cover band Swingin’ Pedestrians will also perform from 8-11 p.m.
In the 1950’s Prima made his way to Las Vegas and is now considered an integral part of the Vintage Vegas Era. He was perfect for this burgeoning town where guests were clamoring for entertainment and before long Prima, along with his with Keely Smith, became one of the biggest acts in town, selling out at the Desert Inn, Sahara Las Vegas, The Sands, and The Las Vegas Hilton. Even the Rat Pack recognized his amazing talent and could be spotted in the audience watching the “Wildest Show” in Vegas.
Louis Prima managed to maintain a successful 40-year career in the music business, even as music genres changed Prima was always able to reinvent himself and his music to keep up with the times. Still recognized today as a premier talent of his day, in 2010, Prima was the annual poster subject for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival with a painting created by Tony Bennett. On July 25, 2010 Louis Prima received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on his 100th birthday. Prima Jr. performed a concert in honor of his father, which included all of Louis Prima’s hits.
Louis Prima is an icon with songs copied by younger musicians, including David Lee Roth, who covered “Just a Gigolo,” Brian Setzer, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and other new swing bands covering such hits as “Jump, Jive and Wail.” Prima’s original recordings have also been featured in many films including Mickey Blue Eyes, Casino, Swingers, Elf, Analyze This and many more. Prima’s character also plays an important role in the film Big Night as the famous celebrity who never appears.
In 1966 Walt Disney approached Louis Prima to be the voice of King Louis, the Orangutan from The Jungle Book and Prima earned a gold album for the music in the film. Prima is also recognized as writing songs for other swing legends including the renowned “Sing Sing Sing,” which was performed by Benny Goodman and “Be Happy” which was played by Glenn Miller and his orchestra. Prima, after his death was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “Sing Sing Sing” and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, his home state.
Prima, dubbed the “Big Daddy of Swing” made history performing to sold out crowds in some of the most historic theatres in the country such as The Paramount Theatre in New York, The Palace Theatre in Cleveland, Oriental Theatre in Chicago and some of the “hippest” showrooms in Las Vegas. His music is still popular and relevant today.