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Glenn, Lloyd (1909–1985)

James Head Biography Entry

Pianist, writer, and arranger Lloyd Glenn, pioneer of the "West Coast" blues sound, was born in San Antonio on November 21, 1909. At the age of nineteen he joined Millard McNeal's Melody Boys. The next year he moved to Dallas, where he played with the Royal Aces and later with the De Luxe Melody Boys. Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s he played with a variety of jazz bands around San Antonio, including those of Don Albert and Boots Douglas.

In 1942 Glenn left the Lone Star State for California, where he worked at a Douglas Aircraft Company factory and became a pioneer of the "West Coast" blues style. He joined the Walter Johnson trio in 1944, but left the next year to form his own group. Glenn accompanied T-Bone Walker on his classic 1947 hit "Call It Stormy Monday." That same year he began to record his own songs for the Imperial label. In 1949 he signed with the Swing Time label, which was owned by Jack Lauderdale. After Swing Time's demise in 1954 Glenn recorded for Aladdin Records and returned to Imperial in 1962. A couple of his more popular cuts included "Twistville" and the 1962 record "Young Dale." He also played on several Lowell Fulson records in the 1950s and 1960s and wrote Fulson's number one hit "Blue Shadows."

Glenn remained active throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He worked with T-Bone Walker and played with B. B. King on his My Kind of Blues and Lucille albums. Toward the end of his career he played at clubs in Los Angeles and made an appearance at the Hollywood Bowl. He also performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival and toured Europe with his musician son, Lloyd Glenn Jr. He died of a heart attack in Los Angeles on May 23, 1985. He was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.

John Chilton, Who's Who of Jazz: Storyville to Swing Street (London: Bloomsbury Book Shop, 1970; American ed., New York and Philadelphia: Chilton, 1972). Michael Erlewine et al., ed., AMG All Music Guide to the Blues (San Francisco: Miller Freeman, 1996; 2d ed., San Francisco: Miller Freeman, 1999). Barry Kernfeld, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (London: MacMillan, 1988). Colin Larkin, ed., The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (London: Guinness, 1992; 3d ed., New York: Muze, 1998). Los Angeles Times, May 25, 1985. Tony Russell, The Blues from Robert Johnson to Robert Cray (New York: Schirmer, 1977). Robert Santelli, Big Book of the Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia (New York: Penguin Books, 1993). Frank Scott, The Down Home Guide to the Blues (Chicago: A Cappella, 1991).


  • Music
  • Genres (Blues)
  • Peoples
  • African Americans

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

James Head, “Glenn, Lloyd,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 28, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: