The father of modern Chicago blues, Muddy Waters, died on April 30th, 1983.
It’s thought that McKinley Morganfield, his real name, was born on April 4th, 1913, although later in his life Muddy claimed he was born in 1915. What isn’t in doubt is his influence on modern blues music.
Muddy Waters grew up on Stovall Plantation near Clarksdale, Mississippi, and by the age of 17 he was playing the guitar and the harmonica, emulating the local blues artists Son House and Robert Johnson. He was recorded in Mississippi by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941. In 1943, he moved to Chicago to become a full-time professional musician. In 1946, he recorded his first records for Columbia Records and then for Aristocrat Records, a newly formed label run by the brothers Leonard and Phil Chess.
In the early 1950s, Muddy and his band – Little Walter Jacobs on harmonica, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Elga Edmonds (also known as Elgin Evans) on drums and Otis Spann on piano – recorded several blues classics, some with the bassist and songwriter Willie Dixon, including Hoochie Coochie Man, I Just Want to Make Love to You and I’m Ready.
In 1958, he travelLed to England, laying the foundations of the resurgence of interest in the blues there. His performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960 was recorded and released as his first live album, At Newport 1960.
Muddy Waters’ music has left his mark on various music genres, including Rock and Roll and Rock music. From Buddy Guy to Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa to Stevie Ray Vaughan, his influence is clear to see and hear. The Rolling Stones even chose their name from one of Muddy’s LP titles, Rollin’ Stone.
We celebrate the life of one of the greatest musicians who ever lived on our dedicated radio station.
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