Muddy Waters

McKinley "Muddy Waters" Morganfield was born on April 4, 1915 in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. His mother died when he was three, and he was raised by his grandmother, who lived on Stovall's Plantation, just outside Clarksdale, Mississippi. Waters got his nickname as a child because he loved to play near a muddy creek. He learned how to sing out in the cotton fields. When he was a young boy, Waters learned how to play the harmonica. He didn't learn how to play guitar until he was seventeen. Muddy was greatly influenced by early exposure to some of the great blues men such as Son House, Willie Brown, and Robert Johnson.

Waters was first recorded by Alan and John Lomax and John Work at Stovall's Plantation in 1941 and 1942 for the

Muddy Waters, 1969
Library of Congress and the Testament Label. Muddy Waters is credited as the patriarch of post-World War II Chicago blues and provided a link between deep Mississippi Delta blues and the hard-edged, urban and electric Chicago blues. The list of those musicians who passed through the Muddy Waters Blues Band included many of the Chicago blues greats including guitarists Jimmy Rogers, Pat Hare, Luther Tucker, and Earl Hooker, harp players Little Walter, Junior Wells, Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, and Carey Bell, bass player Willie Dixon, pianists Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, and Pinetop Perkins, and drummers Elgin Evans, Fred Below, and Francis Clay. Waters originals like 'Long Distance Call,' 'Mannish Boy', 'Got My Mojo Working,' 'She Moves Me,' and 'She's Nineteen Years Old' defined the Chicago blues sound during its classic period in the 1950s. In 1958, Muddy toured England exposing his "electric sound" to many new fans and English Musicians/ Bands and this outgrowth of black American blues helped England to develop its own R&B bands, including the Rolling Stones (Muddy gave this group their name), the Yardbirds, and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, which was a prerequisite for the formation of Fleetwood Mac. The Muddy Water's song 'Honey Bee' served as Peter Green's initiation to the blues; Green described it as 'very spare and together'.

Waters died of a heart attack in his sleep in 1983 at the age of sixty-eight. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1980 and into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Many musical artists have credited Waters as a major influence on their careers, including Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray, Peter Green, and the Rolling Stones. In his From the Cradle album, Eric Clapton paid tribute to Muddy Waters, "His music was the first that got to me and it remains some of the most important music in my life today. I love this man so much that I want to do it absolutely perfectly, and, of course, that's not possible."

Privacy Statement
Copyright 1995-2002, Martin and Lisa Adelson, All Rights Reserved.