OTIS BLACKWELL: Songwriter for Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and James Taylor

#BLACKMUSICMONTH Memory

Otis Blackwell was born in Brooklyn, New York but much of his body of rock screams Southern rock & roll: “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Return to Sender” by Elvis Presley, “Great Balls of Fire” and “Breathless” by Jerry Lee Lewis. All are ’50s classics recorded by white sons of the American South. but this short, dark-skinned didn’t just pen rock & roll. His “Handy Man,” originally cut by black crooner Jimmy Jones, made the R&B charts and then was a major hit for James Taylor in…