Priscilla Bowman

Singer, Musical Artist

1928 – 1988


Who was Priscilla Bowman?

Priscilla Bowman was an American jazz and rhythm and blues singer, who had a #1 hit single on the US Billboard R&B chart in 1955 as the lead singer with Jay McShann's band with the song, "Hands Off".

She was born in Kansas City, and has been called the city's "original rock 'n' roll mama." She joined the Jay McShann band in the early 1950s. In 1955 the band signed to Vee-Jay Records, and Bowman recorded two sessions with them. One of the songs, "Hands Off", became a hit, staying at number 1 on the R&B chart for three weeks in December 1955. The single was notable as the last single to hit number one on the R&B charts without making the Billboard Hot 100.

She recorded three sessions for Vee-Jay, and its subsidiary label Falcon, as a solo singer between 1957 and 1959, but could not repeat her success. However, in 1958 she was the first to record the song "A Rockin' Good Way", with uncredited vocal backing by The Spaniels. The song was co-written by Brook Benton, and became a major hit when Benton recorded it himself as a duo with Dinah Washington in 1960.

Bowman recorded again for Abner Records in 1959, and continued to record and make personal appearances, some with Jay McShann, through the mid-1970s. A compilation album of her recordings, An Original Rock & Roll Mama, was released in 1986.

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May 10, 1928
United States of America
Jul 24, 1988

on July 23, 2013


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