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John Lee Hooker (BORN: 22 August 1912  DIED: 21 June 2001)

King of the Boogie, John Lee Hooker enjoyed a long and illustrious career in the Blues fold. Born in Mississippi, Hooker spent most of his career in Detroit, but this was no straightforward urban Bluesman. His music is seen as a bridge between the earthy, southern rural blues and the later amplified electric Blues.  A major influence in Blues and Rock and Roll, two of John Lee Hooker’s songs – Boogie Chillinand Boom Boom – are included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. Boogie Chillin’ is also included as one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Association of America. Both tracks are included in this collection.

Muddy Waters (BORN: 4 April 1913  DIED: 30 April 1983)

McKinley Morganfield aka Muddy Waters is considered to be the father of modern Chicago Blues. Born in Mississippi, Waters moved to Chicago in 1943 and was given his first break warming up for Big Bill Broonzy’s shows. Renowned for his electrified Delta Blues, Waters was given his first electric guitar in 1943 by his uncle to enable him to be heard above the raucous Chicago crowds. Waters’ influence on modern music and popular culture is plain to see: both the Rolling Stones and the music magazine Rolling Stone took their names from Waters’ 1950s song, Rollin’ Stone.  Four of Waters’ songs feature in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. The songs – RollinStone, Hoochie Coochie Man, Mannish Boy and Got My Mojo Working – can all be found in this collection.  Listen to Waters’ music and discover for yourself the enormous contribution he made to the Blues, and find out why he is considered to have been a huge influence on the development of jazz, rock and roll, folk, country and metal, too.

Howlin’ Wolf (BORN: 10 June 1910  DIED: 10 January 1976)

Born Chester Arthur Burnett in Mississippi, Howlin’ Wolf was a big Blues character in every sense, with his gutsy growling voice and his commanding presence and appearance. Taught by Delta Bluesman Charlie Patton, Wolf moved to Chicago in 1952 and became synonymous with the Chicago Blues sound. Wolf enjoyed international recognition and popularity with new, young, white audiences in the sixties through covers of his music by bands like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream. Three of his songs – featured in this collection – made it onto the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: Smokestack Lightning, The Red Rooster, and Spoonful.

Elmore James (BORN: 27 January 1918  DIED: 24 May 1963)

Known as the King of the Slide Guitar, Elmore James was born Elmore Brooks in Mississippi in 1918. James’ musical style was influenced by the likes of Robert Johnson and Tampa Red. The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones was hugely influenced by Elmore James, so much so that band mate Keith Richards joked that Jones wanted to be Elmore James. Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa have also acknowledged James as a major influence in their music. Discover classic Blues tracks like Dust My Broom and I Believe in this timeless collection.

B.B. King (BORN: 16 September 1925  DIED: 14 May 2015)

Riley B. King aka B.B. King is considered to be one of the most influential Blues artists of all time and is particularly associated with Memphis Blues. Known as the King of the Blues, this Mississippi born Bluesman and guitarist was self-taught. He turned to the electric guitar after hearing T-Bone Walker play one and never looked back.  A life-long fan of crooner Frank Sinatra, King credits Sinatra with opening doors for him and other black artists that had been previously closed, giving white audiences the opportunity to discover the Blues for the first time. In a career spanning more than six decades, King did it all, from turning in over 200 performances a year, to playing the Glastonbury Festival and The Royal Albert Hall in London. A devout Christian and philanthropist, King supported prison reform campaigns, and schemes to help underprivileged children have access to musical instruments. Known as much for his exhilarating guitar skills as his showmanship, King was voted the sixth best guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. Featured in this collection are some of his greatest recordings, including Sweet Little Angel, Every Day I Have The Blues, and Did You Ever Love A Woman.

Robert Johnson (BORN: 8 May 1911  DIED: 16 August 1938)

Robert Leroy Johnson’s talent and contribution to the genre cannot be overstated. Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, and Robert Plant are among those who cite Johnson as a major musical influence. An itinerant songster for the majority of his adult life, much of the romance of the Robert Johnson story can be attributed to the Faustian myth that he sold his soul to the Devil at a crossroads in exchange for his otherworldly guitar skills. His mysterious death at age 27 has served to compound Johnson’s legendary status. Four of the twenty-nine recordings made by Johnson in his short lifetime are included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. All four songs – Sweet Home Chicago, Cross Road Blues, Hellhound On My Train, Love in Vain – are featured in this collection. Eric Clapton says that Robert Johnson is the most important Blues singer that ever lived. Now you can discover this iconic Bluesman’s music for yourself.

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