Muddy Waters

McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1915April 30, 1983), better known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician and is generally considered "the father of Chicago blues."

Muddy Waters at a young age.
Muddy Waters at a young age.

Waters was first recorded on a Mississippi Delta plantation by Alan Lomax for a series of field recordings for the Library of Congress in 1940. He later moved to Chicago where he switched from acoustic to electric guitar. The electric guitar was then becoming increasingly popular among black musicians, mainly because they had trouble being heard in heavily crowded city bars. Waters playing is highly characteristic due to his use of the bottleneck on electric guitar. His record debut was made with Chess Records. They featured Muddy on guitar and vocals with a double-bass. Later, he added a rhythm section and the harmonica of Little Walter to form his classic Chicago blues lineup.

With his great voice, all-star line-up, and charismatic personality, Waters rapidly became the most recognizable figure of Chicago Blues. Even BB King would later recall of him as the 'Boss of Chicago'. His bands were a who's who of Chicago blues musicians: Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Junior Wells on harmonica; Willie Dixon on bass; Otis Spann, Pinetop Perkins on piano ; Buddy Guy on guitar and so on.

His recordings of the late fifties and early sixties are particularly good. Many of the songs he performed have since became standards: 'I've Got My Mojo Working', 'Hoochie Coochie Man', 'She's Nineteen Years Old' and 'Rolling and Tumbling' have all become classic songs, frequently covered by bands from many music genres.

His influence has been enormous across many music genres: blues, rhythm and blues, rock, folk, jazz, and country. Waters helped Chuck Berry get his first record contract.

His tours of England in the early 60s marked possibly the first time an amplified, hard-rocking band was heard there. One critic retreated to the restroom to write his review because he found the band so loud. The Rolling Stones named themselves after his 1950 song, "Rollin' Stone," also known as "Catfish Blues." Led Zeppelin's biggest hit, "Whole Lotta Love," is based upon the Muddy Waters song, "You Need Love," which was written by Willie Dixon. Dixon wrote some of Muddy Waters' most famous songs, including "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "Hoochie Coochie Man," and "I'm Ready."

Other songs for which Muddy Waters is known include "Long Distance Call," "Mannish Boy," and the rock/blues anthem "I've Got My Mojo Working."

Muddy Waters died in Westmont, Illinois at the age of 68 and is interred in the Restvale Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois, near Chicago.

List of songs by Muddy Waters


  • Can't be Satisfied: The Life And Times Of Muddy Waters By Robert Gordon, Keith Richards, 2002 - 432 Pages - ISBN 0316328499
  • Muddy Waters: The Mojo Man By Sandra B. Tooze, 1997 - 383 Pages - ISBN 1550222961
  • Muddy Waters: Deep Blues By Muddy Waters, 1995 - 183 Pages - ISBN 0793509556
  • Muddy Waters: Deep Blues And Good News By Dave Rubin, Muddy Waters ISBN 0793565014
  • Bossmen: Bill Monroe and Muddy Waters By James R. Rooney, 1991 - 163 Pages - ISBN 0306804271

External links

da:Muddy Waters de:Muddy Waters fr:Muddy Waters fy:Muddy Waters hu:Muddy Waters nl:Muddy Waters pl:Muddy Waters


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