Meade "Lux" Lewis (born Meade Anderson Lewis; September 1905 – June 7, 1964) was an American pianist and composer, noted for his work in the boogie-woogie style. His best-known work, "Honky Tonk Train Blues", has been recorded by many artists.
Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois in September 1905 (September 3, 4 and 13 have all been cited as his date of birth in various sources). In his youth he was influenced by the pianist Jimmy Yancey. His father, a guitarist who made two recordings of his own, introduced Meade to music and arranged for violin lessons. He gave up the violin at age 16, shortly after his father's death, and switched to the piano. The nickname "Lux" was given to him by his boyhood friends. He would imitate a couple of characters from a popular comic strip in Chicago,Alphonse and Gaston, and stroke an imaginary beard as part of the routine. His friends started calling him the Duke of Luxembourgbecause of this, and the name stuck for the rest of his life. He became friends with Albert Ammons during childhood, a friendship that would last throughout their lives. They went to the same school together briefly and they practiced and learned the piano together on the Ammons family piano.:90–91
They performed an extended engagement at Café Society, toured as a trio, and inspired the formation of Blue Note Records in 1939. Their success led to a decade-long boogie-woogie craze, with big band swing treatments by Tommy Dorsey, Will Bradley, and others; and numerous country boogie and early rock and roll songs.
Lewis was quite fond of the Minneapolis area, where a niece lived, and would visit as often as he could. He appeared annually at the White House Restaurant (no longer extant) in Golden Valley. He began a successful three-week engagement there in May of '64. Around two a.m. the morning of Sunday, June 7, leaving the parking lot of the White House and heading east on Olson Memorial Highway, Lewis' Chrysler Imperial was rear-ended by one Ronald Bates, who was traveling an estimated 80 mph. Lewis' car was pushed 400 feet, impacting a tree and killing him instantly. He was 58. Bates survived, but his passenger died the following day.:225