Arthur Crudup

Big Boy
Birth Name:
Arthur William Crudup
Birth Date:
August 24, 1905
Birth Place:
Forest, Mississippi
Death Date:
March 28, 1974
Place of Death:
Northampton-Accomack Memorial Hospital, Nassawadox, Virginia
Cause of Death:
Cemetery Name:
Bethel Memorial Gardens
Claim to Fame:
Arthur William "Big Boy" Crudup was an American Delta blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for his songs "That's All Right" (1946), "My Baby Left Me" and "So Glad You're Mine", later recorded by Elvis Presley in the mid-1950s. His songs "Mean Old 'Frisco Blues", "Who's Been Foolin' You" and "That's All Right" were popular in the South even though he did not tour regularly due to stage fright. These and his other songs "Rock Me Mama", "So Glad You're Mine", and "My Baby Left Me" have been recorded by many artists, including Slade, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Creedence Clearwater Revival and helped launch Elvis Presley's career. You would think that Crudup could sit back and enjoy living off the royalties - but that would not be the case. He was cheated out of his royalties his entire life by producer Lester Melrose and others as his catalog was sold to different record companies. After making a living outside of music, in the late 1960s Crudup was “rediscovered,” and, for the first time in his career, he was playing concerts with large audiences, mostly at colleges. He played such venues as the Newport Jazz Festival and the Mariposa Folk Festival and even traveled to Europe where he was enthusiastically received. Just before he died Arthur was touring with Bonnie Raitt. He was finally beginning to get the recognition he richly deserved, but not the money. Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup died of a stroke on March 28, 1974. He never collected his due.

The Rest of the Story

After Arthur Crudup passed away, his heirs placed a lien on the owners of the Crudup musical copyrights Hill & Range publishing company. When Hill and Range began negotiations to sell their catalogue to Chappell Music, Chappell refused to move forward with the deal until the back royalty payments dispute was resolved. Hill & Range quickly contacted Dick Waterman and the Crudup Estate as Hill and Range now had the motivation to settle. According to Waterman, the very first check was signed over to the Estate for just over $248,000.00, over four times what they been unwilling to pay just a few years earlier.

Waterman estimates that the Crudup estate has received over three million dollars in royalties over the last several decades. Waterman said that he regrets that Arthur never got to see a penny of it, the catalogue is still incredibly valuable. Artists in many genres continue to record Crudup’s songs with success and film makers wanting to cover the story of Elvis Presley are hard-pressed to make the story without including Elvis’ version of Crudup’s “That’s All Right”.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Bethel Memorial Gardens

6521 Short Street

Franktown, Virginia, 23354


North America

Grave Location:

Section K

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery, park your car at the sign at the entrance. Walk 11 rows from the road and 21 spaces from the dirt path and there you will find blues legend Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup.

Grave Location GPS

37.48531871, -75.8788756

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