Bill Bailey Master of Tap and Moonwalk?

Bill Bailey's Version of the Moonwalk

Bill Bailey One of the Tap Kings

Born William Norton Bailey on December 8, 1912. Changed his name to Bill Bailey, and became a professional tap dancer. Married Pernell Bailey, fathered nine children, and was grandfather to many more.

Older brother of comedian, actress and singer the great Pearl Bailey passed away on December 12, 1978. Unfortunately, not much is written about Mr. Bailey and his career. While researching this master of tap I ran across something rather curious.

Looks like Bill Bailey performed the moon-walk (Bill dubbed it the Backslide) before Michael Jackson. Bailey performed the "backslide" in the film Cabin In the Sky, Starring Ethel Waters, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson and Lena Horne. Check in out for yourself.

MJ's Version of the Moonwalk

A Standard Tap Move

From watching these videos it seems that the "moon-walk / backslide" became a standard tap move that most tappers, back in the day, used in routines from Bill Bailey to Fred Astaire.


Ecclesiastes 1:9 - What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

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Comments 9 comments

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

pcmccray, nothing, it seems is ever, ever new! An interesting read, enjoyed it.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah Author

Friend William: yes . . I stumbled upon this fact my accident and watched the two videos over and over. Thank you for stopping in and reading my piece.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 6 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Another wonderful hub, pmccray. I, too, never connected Bill Bailey with Pearl. Great videos. Thanks.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah Author

BKcreative: my thoughts exactly, when I saw the simularity, my mouth stood open...it just goes to show you nothing is new under the sun. Thank you for reading my hub and have a wonderful evening, hope you're not snowed in.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah Author

Micky Dee: LOL LOL....I'm in the same boat, I watched these videos several times, the talent is just remarkable, and got tired just watching. Have a wonderful evening my friend.


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pmccray 6 years ago from Utah Author

RevLady: you are such a sweetheart, that you for the compliment and the read. Have a blessed day


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Wow! just amazing! So much talent. And how could I forget the backslide. I'm old enough to even remember folks doing this back in the 60's where we danced hard and all the time. Wow! I can even backslide/moonwalk.

What great videos you included. I'll bookmark this and share with my good people. And I didn't know he was related to Pearl Bailey - but she did sing that song about him coming home. Ah, there is still so much to learn and I'm enjoying it, thanks to you!!!!

Thanks a million!


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Wow, wow, and wow! Incredible! I can't walk and chew gum. I've always wanted to moonwalk! I can watch these videos all day and just hurt myself. Thank you for a beautiful hub.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Another interesting hub PM. You are master of bringing to us those personalities that we have either forgotten or had not heard of.

Thank you for all that you do to make hubpages a wonderful place to be.

Forever His,

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