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Webb, Chicklocked

(10 February 1909–16 June 1939)
  • Barry Kernfeld


Webb, Chick (10 February 1909–16 June 1939), jazz drummer and bandleader, was born William Henry Webb in Baltimore, Maryland. The identity of his father is unknown. He was raised by his mother, Marie Jones, and his maternal grandfather, Clarence Jones, a porter in a shoe store. Webb was a hunchback and often lived in pain. According to an oft-repeated but probably apocryphal story, he was dropped on his back in infancy, and several vertebrae were crushed, but another oft-repeated and entirely plausible account attributed his condition to tuberculosis of the spine (then common in the inner city), which dwarfed his torso while leaving his limbs intact. Webb never grew above 4′ 1″. He acquired the nickname Chick in a boyhood reference to his small size....

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