Newell, Richard

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Newell, Richard

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  • King Biscuit Boy
  • Richard Newell

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Richard Newell, professionally known as King Biscuit Boy, was born and raised in Hamilton Ontario. He is considered Canada’s greatest blues musician, and has a reputation as being a one of the best internationally.

As a child, Newell began to play the harmonica after discovering the instrument from a song heard on the radio. Playing the instrument every day, his skills quickly grew. His musical career began in 1961 as a member of the band the Barons. In 1963, he formed Son Richard & The Chessmen, then later replaced Ritchie Knight in The Mid Kinghts. In 1965 he formed Son Richard and The Gooduns. By 1969, Newell had joined Ronnie Hawkins (and his backup band the Hawks) and formed And Many Others. Hawkins became an important person in Newell’s life; it was Hawkins that dubbed Newell King Biscuit Boy, after the blues radio program “King Biscuit Flour Hour” in Arkansas.

Newell’s musical career was always changing. In 1970 he and Hawkins fired the backup band and formed Crowbar. This only lasted the year, though Newell would continue to do guest appearances with the band. Newell began a solo career, releasing six records as a solo artist, and many more as part of a collaboration or as a guest. Newell found international praise and success, in fans with such names as Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Paul McCartney, and Keith Richard. Newell had battled alcoholism most of his adult life and passed away in 2003 at his home in Hamilton Ontario.


Hamilton, Ontario

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Created August 15, 2019 by Elizabeth Carroll.


  • English



Erskine, Evelyn. “New band, but King Biscuit Boy still playing the blues.” The Ottawa Citizen, November 28, 1986.

Krewen, Nick. “King Biscuit Boy revives career: Blues artist admits output has been sporadic, in part, because 'I'm lazy'.” The Record Kitchener, March 17, 1995.

Mahoney, Jeff. “King Biscuit Boy sang the blues.” Toronto Star, January 7, 2003.

“Musician's career spanned 40 years; Hamilton's legendary blues musician King Biscuit Boy dead at 59.” The Times Moncton, January 8, 2003.

Mowat, Bruce. “God save the King Biscuit Boy.” The Hamilton Spectator, March 9, 1995.

Nygaard King, Betty. “King Biscuit Boy.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Last updated December 9, 2013.

Rockingham, Graham. “Kelly Jay remembers King Biscuit Boy.” The Hamilton Spectator, May 31, 2007.

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