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    • Robert Johnson. King of the Delta Blues Singers, The Complete Recordings, King of the Delta Blues. 5,041 votes. Considered one of the most important pioneers of blues music, his poignant lyrics and expressive playing style have influenced countless musicians.
    • John Lee Hooker. I'll Play the Blues for You, Live at the Fox Venice Theatre, Collection. 4,555 votes. See: The Best John Lee Hooker Albums. A unique sound that consists of a dark, pulsating rhythm and raw electric guitar made this individual an integral figure in the development of electric blues.
    • Howlin' Wolf. The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions, The Genuine Article, Howlin' Wolf. 4,369 votes. With a deep, gravelly voice perfectly suited for the blues, this influential artist became a driving force behind the genre's development and popularization.
    • B.B. King. Let the Good Times Roll, Live at the Regal, Ladies and Gentleman... Mr. B.B. 7,737 votes. See: The Best Albums Of B.B. Synonymous with the blues, this powerhouse performer captivated audiences for decades with his unmatched charisma and fluid, intricate guitar work.
    • B.B. King
    • Muddy Waters
    • Billie Holiday
    • Ray Charles
    • Jimi Hendrix
    • Etta James
    • Otis Redding
    • Nina Simone
    • Janis Joplin
    • Robert Johnson

    Born Riley B. King, singer and guitarist B.B. King got his start in Mississippi on a plantation near Indianola. At twenty-two, King hitched a ride to Memphis to launch his musical career. His career began to take off in 1948 after he adopted the name B.B. King as a catchy radio moniker. By the mid-fifties, King was touring nationally. Over the next...

    Singer and legendary blues guitaristMcKinley Morganfield was born in 1915 in Issaquena, Mississippi. By the early 1940s, he was a semi-successful traveling musician. He made his way north to Chicago in 1943. That year he was gifted his first electric guitar. In Chicago, Waters started recording music for record companies like Columbia and RCA. He w...

    Born in Baltimore in 1915, Eleanora Fagan knew from an early age that she wanted to be a singer. By 1929, she was playing jazz clubs in New York, where she adopted the stage name Billie Holiday. At eighteen, Holiday met a producer named John Hammond and after that, her career took off at lightning speed. She linked up with pianist Teddy Wilson and ...

    The legendary Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia in 1930. When he was only six years old, Charles was rendered blind due to glaucoma. At fifteen, he left school and started playing for dance bands around Florida. He dropped his last name because he did not want to be confused with the famous boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. From there, Charles would ...

    Born 1942 in Seattle, he was first called Johnny Allen Hendrix and then James Marshall Hendrix. Hendrix was drawn to music early on, teaching himself to play by ear. He bought his first guitar in 1958 and joined his first band soon after. By 1967, he moved to London, changed his name to Jimi Hendrix, and formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Their de...

    Jamesetta Hawkins was born in 1938 in Los Angeles, California. She started vocal lessons at the tender age of five and soon became the star of her church choir. In 1954, the sixteen-year-old girl was discovered by the musician John Otis. She recorded her first single that same year. She soon signed with Modern Records and began a string of hit reco...

    Born in 1942 in Dawson, Georgia, Otis Ray Redding Jr. moved to Macon, Georgia as a young boy. He traveled to LA in 1960 and began releasing hit singles. He released These Arms of Mine in 1963 and found fame as a blues musician. In 1965 he recorded the seminal album Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul in just one day. Over the next two years, he woul...

    Eunice Kathleen Waymon was born in 1933, in Tryon, North Carolina. Little Eunice could play piano by ear at the early age of three, and her parents encouraged her talents. Eunice began teaching music to young students to make ends meet, and in 1954 she auditioned to play at the Midtown Bar & Grill in Atlantic City. She soon made a name for herself ...

    Singer songwriter Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1943. But, she left Texas for San Francisco in 1963 where she made a living as a folk singer. Around this time, she developed an unhealthy relationship with drinking and illicit drugs. She returned to Port Arthur to recuperate from her vices, but Joplin was back in San Francisco by 19...

    Robert Johnson grew up with his mother in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, but eventually, he moved to Memphis to live with his father. He made a living as a traveling musician, and by 1936 Johnson caught the eye of a talent scout named H.C. Speir. He recorded a handful of his songs from the road there. These recordings became a regional hit, selling thous...

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    • Muddy Waters. McKinley Morganfield, more famously knowns as Muddy Waters, taught himself how to play harmonica as a child. He also took guitar lessons at 17.
    • Eric Clapton. A more modern British blues singer and guitarist is Eric Clapton, who rose to fame during his time with a band called Cream in 1966. Clapton eventually went on to pursue a successful career and eventually became a household name all over the world.
    • Robert Johnson. Robert Johnson spent his earlier life as a traveling musician until he was scouted by H.C. Speir in 1936. He proceeded to record his songs which easily became the biggest hits at that time.
    • Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix, initially called Johnny Allen Hendrix and James Marshall Hendrix, had an early interest in music and taught himself to play only by ear.
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    • Joanne Shaw Taylor: The Black Country connection. She was influenced by heavyweights from Janis Joplin to Tom Waits, and when this gunslinger first opened her mouth on White Sugar, her voice had instant gravitas.
    • Dani Wilde: Wilde about the girl with the golden voice. The Brighton-based singer first burst on to the scene a few years ago, as one of a new generation of guitarists, but it’s her powerful voice that sets her apart from the rest of the crowd.
    • Long John Baldry: One of London’s blues pioneers… John William “Long John” Baldry was a 6ft 7in mover and shaker who helped ignite the British blues boom in the early 1960s.
    • John Belushi: A comic with force-10 charisma. One of the first things John Belushi said, upon meeting Dan Aykroyd in 1973, was: “I don’t listen to much blues.”
    • Robert Johnson. A proponent of Delta Blues, many of Robert Johnson’s songs are considered blues standards. From Keith Richards to Eric Clapton, his music inspired many guitar players.
    • Muddy Waters. The ‘father of modern Chicago Blues’, Muddy Waters released his first record in 1946 with Columbia Records. Many consider Muddy Waters as the founder of genres such as rock and roll and rock.
    • Ma Rainey. By effortlessly blending vaudeville theater with blues performance, Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainy was truly a pioneer. Her signature deep voice made her an idol for Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, and even Bessie Smith, the next musician on this list.
    • Bessie Smith. The ‘Empress of Blues’, Bessie Smith was born in Tennessee in 1894. Before going on her solo venture, she toured with Ma Rainey in 1912. Her career was tragically cut short after she succumbed to injuries in a car crash at age 43.
  2. Feb 9, 2024 · The 47 Best Blues Songs Of All Time. The blues artists talked, the rockers listened. Without the blues there’d be no rock’n’roll, but these influential blues songs were especially pivotal.

  3. Jul 17, 2023 · 9. Robert Johnson. Supposedly trading his soul for his musical talent, and as legend has it, meeting his end to a poisoned bottle of whiskey, Robert Johnson is a bona fide blues legend. Johnson’s 1936 and 1937 recordings, which later helped to inspire the British Blues Revival, are the only recordings Johnson ever made.

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