“The story of Chick Webb is more than the story of a dynamic drummer of the swing era. It’s the story of a gallant little man who overcame physical deformity, hardship and pain.  A man whose spirit, courage and determination was perhaps unsurpassed, and whose drumming ability and total musicianship was nothing short of phenomenal.”

~ Robert Hillary, writer

In Baltimore, Maryland, William H. and Marie Webb welcomed their son, William Henry, on February 10.  Although the year of his birth has been disputed, it has been commonly accepted that he was born in 1905 due to U.S. census information.  Known as “Chick”, he would be the couple’s only son, as their other children were Bessie, Mabel and Ethel.

Also in question was Chick’s health and height.  There are several accounts that stated he was born with his spine severely malformed.  However, more common accounts reference his fall as an infant.  This devastating injury ultimately led to his contraction of tuberculosis after surgery was performed in attempts to correct his spine.  All combined to leave Webb with a life of chronic pain, a hunchback form and diminutive height.

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