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The Most Influential Musician You’ve Never Heard Of

For a guy who was a major pioneer of rock ‘n’ roll and rap, not to mention the music video, Louis Jordan is criminally underappreciated.

During the 1940s and early 50s, the saxophone-playing singer and bandleader had a whopping 54 hits (18 of them reached #1) in a style called jump 'n' jive. A high-spirited amalgam of jazz and blues, it was one of the key influences on rock ‘n’ roll. In fact, Jordan’s 1949 hit “Saturday Night Fish Fry” is often acknowledged as one the first rock records. Sadly, an online link to the original doesn’t seem to be available. But here’s an alternate version from the ‘50s that’s still pretty great. Listen for a chorus that obviously had a huge influence on Chuck Berry:

While rap can be traced to everything from West-African griots (news singers) to seminal recordings like 1970’s debut by The Last Poets, you could make a strong case that it was Louis Jordan & The Tympany Five who made the first rap record with the 1946 hit “Beware.” The cadence, the rhyming, the attitude, the hipster slang. Even the hand motions. It’s all there:

In the 1940s, many artists promoted their singles with “soundies.” Short three-minute films, these were early versions of the music videos we know today. While there wasn’t a VH-1 or CMT back then, the clips were shown on Panorams, coin-operated video jukeboxes found in nightclubs, bars and amusement parks. Once again, Louis Jordan was at the forefront of the trend. Here’s a soundie of his 1945 hit “Caldonia”:

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Finding Art in Everyday Sights
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Artist Paul Gledhill "draws on" everyday sights for inspiration. See more on Instagram.

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Can You Find the Money in Santa’s Sack in This Hidden Image Puzzle?
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A hidden-object image features rows of Santas carrying sacks.
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Vouchercloud, a website and app for online deals, brings us this holiday-themed test of your vision just in time for Christmas. Hidden among all the identical Santa Clauses carrying sacks of presents, one financially-savvy Santa is carrying a big sack of money. Can you figure out where he is? (Warning: Spoilers below.)

Spot him yet? If you’re stumped, check out the solution below. If this one was a breeze for you, try out a few more hidden-object puzzles here, here, and here. Or if you’re looking for something with a little more real-life relevancy, try to figure out where the snake is in this photo. Happy hunting!

A hidden-object image features rows of Santas carrying sacks with the solution circled in red.

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