Ken “Snakehips” Johnson Britain’s first Black swing bandleader, c.1936.
“I determined I’d make them like swing at the Café, or die in the attempt, and boy, I nearly died”
On Saturday 8th March 1941, during the Blitz, that two German bombs exploded on the dance floor of the Cafe de Paris after the start of a performance. Thirty-four people died including Johnson – who was decapitated – and saxophonist David Williams. An eyewitness recalled how he was found lying dead, a flower still in his lapel. He was 27 years old.