Muddy Waters Photography

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters is often called the “father of modern Chicago blues,” though his innovations and impact can be heard in jazz, folk and even country music. This singer/songwriter/guitarist’s use of amplification from the early ’40s onward served as a bridge between the Delta blues and rock and roll and made him one of the recognized blues artists of the 20th century.

Throughout the 1950s, Waters made waves with cross-genre classics that have since become blues landmarks, including “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You” and “I’m Ready.” His 1958 tour of England was the spark that ignited a musical revolution, inspiring (among others) Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones—who even went so far as to name themselves after Muddy’s 1950 song “Rollin’ Stone.”

The Stones also helped re-introduce Waters to several new generations, culminating with their historic collaboration concert at Chicago’s Checkerboard Lounge in 1981. When he died just two years later at age 70, the Windy City renamed a block near his former south-side home “Honorary Muddy Waters Drive.”

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