CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There are deep West Virginia roots with the popular Harlem Globetrotters basketball team.
The basketball team’s theme music, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” known around the world for its sweet beat and whistling, was written by a West Virginia native and member of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
The music was celebrated at the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame “Museum at the Mall” on Thursday with special guests Harlem Globetrotter’s Sweet Lu II and America’s Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
West Virginia Music Hall of Fame (WVMHoF) Executive Director Michael Lipton said that the state connection with the Globetrotters may not be known to many but discoveries by citizens are why he does what he does.
“That is one of the reasons why I started the Hall of Fame. It’s one of the most fun things to do,” Lipton told MetroNews.
One of the fun West Virginia music facts is that Jack Rollins from Mineral County wrote Frosty the Snowman, which is known all over the world.”
The Globetrotters adopted the song written by 2008 WVMHoF inductee Maceo Pinkard, a Bluefield native, in 1952. Pinkard, who died in 1962, was also inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music and Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984.
“Sweet Georgia Brown” is one of the most recorded songs of all time. According to the WVMHoF, a shortlists of artists to cover the song are the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Jimmy Smith, Nancy Sinatra, Ray Charles, Doc Watson, Sarah Vaughan, Django Reinhardt, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Chet Atkins, Charlie Parker, Glenn Miller, Bob Wills, Mel Torme, and Harry Connick.
The Carpenter Ants played “Sweet Georgia Brown,” on Thursday while Murphy Jr. joined in with whistling, and Sweet Lou II showed off his basketball skills.
Sweet Lou II, the son of legendary Globetrotter Sweet Lou Dunbar, is in the Kanawha Valley promoting the team’s Jan. 11 show in Charleston. The show is part of the team’s “Pushing the Limits Tour.”
“On the 11th, there is going to be a lot of high flying dunks, a lot of crowd interaction. It’s our “Pushing the Limits Tour” so we are going to be pushing the limits by attempting a few world records at each game.”