Nobody knew the blues like Muddy Waters. Although he was born in Mississippi on April 4, 1915, Waters spent a considerable amount of time right here in sweet home Chicago. It’s here that he electrified the blues with his slide guitar skills, making the blues sound like what it is today. He is widely regarded for making Chicago the undisputed home of the blues.
I remember fondly going to the Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park in June 1985 as a music-loving teenager to hear the downhome melodies of such blues greats as Koko Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Etta James and Little Milton, to name a few. I became mesmerized by the slow drawling lyrics and the catchy rhythms you just couldn’t get out of your head—I was instantly in love with the blues.
All of those musicians were in part inspired by the legendary Waters, who has since spawned a huge following of rock and roll greats as well. Waters’ tracks are the stuff of legend, from the irrepressible "Hoochie Coochie Man" to the blues standard "Mannish Boy." Let's all celebrate the 100th anniversary of Muddy's birth this year by making it to Grant Park in June for the annual Chicago Blues Festival. Until then, sit back and enjoy a trip from Mississippi to the Windy City with these great resources about the man who changed the face of the blues:
Muddy Waters: Check out these legendary performances of Waters' distinctive style in this downloadable video. This super convenient resource from hoopla lets you check out the "Mojo" man on your smartphone!
Muddy Waters, the anthology, 1947-1972: Experience the full breadth of Muddy Waters' catalog in this expansive chronology spanning almost four decades.
Muddy Waters: Through extensive interviews from Mississippi to Chicago, biographer Sandra Tooze paints a thorough and captivating portrait of the blues pioneer.
His Best, 1947 to 1955: Listen to 20 of the best blues standards from Waters' early catalog, which defined his style and put him on the map to stay as a music legend!
The Blues Brothers: What's a celebration of the man who invented Chicago Blues without the quintessential and cult classic DVD, The Blues Brothers? Take a trip down memory lane and celebrate Muddy's legacy in Chicago with Jake and Elwood Blues.