SONNY TERRY. 1911 to 1986.
WALTER BROWN McGHEE. 1915 to 1996.


Piano Red.Back ArrowFirst pageBlues StoryBlues ListNext ArrowBig Joe Turner.

View Large Picture.
Sonny Terry.

Sonny Terry (pictured above) is born in Greensboro, North Carolina, on 24 October 1911.

Walter Brown McGhee is born in Knoxville, Tennessee on 30 November 1915.

In 1928 having become partially blinded, Sonny decides to concentrate on his music. At around the same time, Walter makes a similar decision.

Sonny encounters Blind Boy Fuller singing in the street in Wadesboro, North Carolina in 1937 the following year John Hammond invites Sonny to take part in the 'Spirituals to Swing' concert at New York's Carnegie Hall.

Through their mutual friendship with Blind Boy Fuller, Sonny and Walter (now using the name Brownie) meet for the first time in 1939.

In 1940 Sonny and Brownie begin working together in the studio.

Sonny takes to the stage in the Broadway production Finian's Rainbow in 1947.

1950 - Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee begin a decade that will see them become fixtures on the New York music scene.

Sonny and Brownie make their first visit to Europe in 1958, playing concerts in Britain and Germany.

On their return from a State Department tour of India in 1960, Sonny and Brownie sign with Prestige Bluesville and make the first of several LPs for that label. In the summer, they are booked to play at the Ash Grove club in L.A., where they meet and record with Big Joe Williams and Lightnin' Hopkins.

In 1962 they tour Europe as part of the American Folk Blues Festival. They do so again in 1967 and 1970.

Sonny and Brownie play at the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival.

After years of mutual ill-feeling, Sonny and Brownie finally end their partnership in 1982.

Sonny records the acclaimed album Whoopin'. in 1984.

Sonny Terry dies on 11 March 1986 in Mineola, a suburb of New York.

Brownie McGhee dies on 16 February 1996.


Tar Heel State.

North Carolina Flag.

Click inside to view Larger Map.


If you prefer you can send a private email to John or Jules.


To the Top