The Music of H. B. Barnum


Introduction to H.B. Barnum

H.B. Barnum (born Hidle Brown Barnum, on 15 July 1936) achieved his only hit “Lost Love” during the early 60s music scene. He won a nationwide talent contest at the age of four.  From that point on he became a child actor, pianist, singer, musical recording arranger and record producer, songwriter and more.  Barnum began his recording career as Pee Wee Barnum in 1950.  In the 1950’s Barnum played piano for doo-wop groups The Dootones and The Robins (who would later become a success as The Coasters).  In 1961 H.B. Barnum had his only hit song “Lost Love”, an instrumental single, with Barnum on piano that peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100.  He had one other minor hit in 1974 “Having a Party” (Part 1) that charted #54 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.  Although Barnum did not make the big time as a musical performer, he became very successful as a man behind the scenes in the music business as a songwriter, record producer and arranger.  He worked with Ann-Margaret, Frank Sinatra, O.C. Smith, Count Basie, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, Gladys Knight, Al Wilson, Pump Girls, Puff Daddy, Barry White, Donna Loren and many more.  Barnum also recorded the first version of the popular song “Nut Rocker” under the name of Jack B. Nimble and the Quicks.  Other H.B. Barnum Hit Songs:  “H.B. Boogie,” “Jump Awhile,” “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” “Coming ‘Round The Mountain,” “Bad Luck’s On Me,” “Baby, Love Me,” “The Record,” “I’m a Man,” “Hallelujah,” “How Many More Times,” “Backstage,” “Three Rooms With Running Water,” “Gimme Some,” “Gotta Go,” “Nobody Wants to Hear Nobody’s Troubles,” “Five On the Backhand Side,” “It Hurts Too Much to Cry,” “Searchin’ For My Soul,”  “Heartbreaker,” “Call On Me,” “Don’t Cha Know,” “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “Fingertips,” “Golden Boy,” “More Love” and “Save the Bones for Henry Jones.”

H.B. Barnum’s early life and career

H.B. Barnum was born Hidle Brown Barnum on July 15, 1936 in Houston, Texas. Barnum is an American pianist, record producer, songwriter and arranger. He has been an arranger for many artists of different genres, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Puff Daddy. Barnum developed his interest in singing and playing the piano when he was very young. At only four, he won a nationwide contest; following that win, he made his first film appearance in Valley of the sun Marches On. The following years found Barnum appearing on numerous TV shows such as Amos ‘n Andy Shows, The Jack Benny Show, CBS Playhouse, and on television’s first children show Broom Stick Buckaroos.

Barnum as a recording artist and arranger

In 1950, Barnum he released his first solo recording under the stage name Pee Wee Barnum on Imperial. In 1955, he became a member of the doo-wop group The Dootones and after a year, he left The Dootones and moved to The Robins (later The Coasters) to replace Bobby Nunn. Under the name “Dudley,” he issued a parody of Marty Robbin’s “El Paso,” called “El Pizza which became a radio hit. In 1960, he joined Dyna-Sores label which issued the Robins’  only hit “Alley-Oop.” In 1961, he recorded the instrumental “Lost Love” which became his only hit under his own name. Released by Eldo Label, it peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100. After several years, he had another single charted in 1974 called “Having a Party,” peaking at #54 on the R&B charts.

Barnum has become a respected and a well-known arranger. He has worked with numerous big names such as Frank Sinatra, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, B.B. King, Puff Daddy among others. He also did several award-winning commercial jingles and TV scores. Not all many people know he also did the first version of “Nut Cracker” but under the alias Jack B. Nimble.


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