Lawrence “Big Twist” Nolan

Jackson County | Murphysboro

The marker is located on the southeast corner of the Jackson County Court House lawn, 1001 Walnut Street, Murphysboro, Il. 

Jackson County

 

LAWRENCE MILLARD NOLAN WAS BORN SEPTEMBER 23, 1937 IN TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA.

HE MOVED TO MURPHYSBORO IN 1956 AND MARRIED HIS WIFE, YVONNE, IN 1965;

TOGETHER THEY HAD SEVEN CHILDREN A VOCALIST, DRUMMER, AND HARMONICA PLAYER, “BIG TWIST”, AS HE CAME TO BE KNOWN, GOT HIS START SINGING IN CHURCH AND LATER PERFORMING IN JUKE JOINTS AND ROADHOUSES OF SOUTHERN FELINOIS. IN THE MID- 1970S “BIG TWIST” JOINED PETE SPECIAL AND TERRY OGOLINI TO FORM BIG TWIST AND THE MELLOW FELLOWS. BIG TWIST AND THE MELLOW FELLOWS PRODUCED FOUR ALBUMS ON THE FLYING FISH AND ALLIGATOR RECORD LABELS, AND BECAME ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR TOURING R&B ACTS OF THE 1970S AND SOS. THEIR POPULARITY LED THEM TO TOURS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, EUROPE, AND THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS, AS WELL AS APPEARANCES ON MULTIPLE NATIONAL TELEVISION BROADCASTS. NOTABLE ARTISTS. AND GROUPS THAT RECORDED, TOURED, OR PERFORMED WITH BIG TWIST WERE BB KING, JAMES BROWN, JIMMY BUFFET, JOHNNY WINTER, KOKO TAYLOR, MUDDY WATERS, RAY CHARLES, THE BAND, AND MANY OTHERS.

WHEN BIG TWIST DIED IN 1990 HIS OBITUARY WAS PUBLISHED IN HUNDREDS OF NEWSPAPERS AROUND THE WORLD. HE IS BURIED IN TOWER GROVE CEMETERY JUST WEST OF MURPHYSBORO.

Thank you to the Jackson County Board and Chairman CJ Calandro, Murphysboro Tourism, The Murphysboro City Council, the Jackson County NAACP, and the Illinois State Historic Society for collaborating to make this possible. 

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