#997: Red Hot by Billy Riley
Billy Lee Riley was born in in Pocahontas, Arkansas in 1933. His father was a sharecropper, which means he rented land from a landowner and used the land in return for giving a portion of the profits of the crops produced to the landowner on their portion of land. Though Riley’s father was a house painter by trade he would work in the cotton fields to feed the family during lean times. Young Billy Lee began playing harmonica at age six, and learned blues guitar in his early teens. “Blues is the music I grew up hearing on the plantation. There were black families and white families all living together, far from town. We were poor, and playing music was our main form of entertainment,” he recalled. In 1957 Riley recorded “Red Hot,” included in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Song’s that Shaped Rock n’ Roll.