Born in Fordyce but raised in Little Rock, Henry Shead was one of five children of a reverend. At the tender age of six, Henry was introduced to the keyboards by his mother who immediately recognized his natural talent. Henry’s mother saw to it that her son had piano lessons while his father’s church provided the place for his early public performances.
As part of a musical combo, Shead played for junior high and high school dances and later in small clubs, as well as performing regularly on a local American Bandstand-type TV show. Shead was awarded a scholarship to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and majored in music while entertaining around the area. He became a high school choral director and music teacher, all the while continuing to work in local nightspots like the Drummer?s Club in Little Rock. As his popularity increased, Shead stopped teaching to devote all his time to performing.
In 1971, he moved to Los Angeles. During his time there he made his acting debut appearing in Chicago and Washington, D.C., with Henry Fonda, Richard Dreyfuss and Jane Alexander in William Saroyan’s ‘The Time of Your Life.’ He wrote and arranged music for stage plays and television, sang the title song for a United Artist film, did studio work on a Johnny Mathis album and recorded for the Liberty/United Artists and Cream labels.
Over the years, Shead has done a number of national radio jingles and appeared on network television with Dinah Shore, Johnny Carson and Jerry Lewis. He has also performed at parties for Pearl Bailey, The Carpenters, President Lyndon Johnson, Henry Mancini, Sergio Mendes and Barbra Streisand.
During his two decades in the city he now calls home, Shead has entertained at most of the major hotels and in 1977, the Henry Shead Band with Denise Clemente was voted Las Vegas’ Best Lounge Act of the Year.