"Pay one's dues": interdating

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 21 00:30:14 UTC 2010

Treasury of jazz
Eddie Condon, Richard Gehman - _1956_ - 488 pages

A musician said, laughing, "To know [Charlie Yard]Bird [Parker], you
got to _pay your dues_ . . ."

This phrase is plagiarized all over the place over a period of years,
practically up to the present.
My memory, for what's worth, is that this phrase originally appeared
in the 1955 Charlie Parker's Death special issue of Ebony in the form,

"If you wanted to know Bird, you had to pay your dues."

GB now has Ebony, but I'm not up to learning how to chase a mag down.
IAC, HDAS's first cite is so early that there's no glory to be gained
by backing up yet another interdating by only a single year. :-)

@Jon: as usual, HDAS is full of surprises. Under _duff3 v._, HDAS has
"... leave ..." _Duff_ was used with precisely that meaning in the
Saint Louis BE slang of my lost youth. I never expected ever to see it
in print under any circumstances, since I had been under the
impression that it was only a local usage.


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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