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muddy waters

Muddy Waters

b. McKinley Morganfield, 4th April 1913, Issaquena County, Mississippi, U.S.A.

d. 30th April 1983, Westmont, Illinois, U.S.A.

Muddy Waters was a Blues guitarist, who is regarded as the founder of the Modern Chicago Blues genre.

The origins of his name came from the fact he loved to play in the muddy water of Deer Creek (near his home).

Muddy’s birthdate has been under debate for many years, with his grave headstone stating a 1915 year of birth in Rolling Fork, however, his marriage license & musician's union card both indicate the year of his birth as 1913.

He was believed now, to have been born in Issaquena County, Mississippi.

Muddy was brought up by his grandmother, Della Grant.

Della raised him after his mother passed away shortly after he was born.


In his youth Muddy was raised in a shack on Stovall Plantation were he began playing the harmonica.

He went on to lay the guitar, being influenced by his contemporary, Robert Johnson.

In 1932, Muddy married Mabel Berry, however, the two parted three years later.

Muddy Waters

henry 'son' sims and muddy in 1943

By 1943, Muddy had remarried, this time to a woman called Sallie Ann.

In 1941, archivist Alan Lomax, went to Stovall, Mississippi, in order to record various Blues musicians.

Alan Lomax

alan lomax

Alan went to Muddy’s house and recorded a session.

He returned in 1942 to record Muddy a second time.

A year later, Muddy traveled to Chicago and stayed with a relative.

Muddy began to perform as an opening act, in the city, at various venues.

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i can't be satisfied b/w ' i feel like going home' - 1948 / 'gypsy woman' b/w 'little anna mae' - 1948 / you're gonna miss me' b/w 'mean red spider' - 1949 / 'rollin' stone' b/w 'walking blues' - 1950

His uncle gave him a guitar, and in 1946, he recorded songs for Mayo Williams at Columbia Records.

Muddy went on to record for the Aristocrat Records imprint, a label owned by Leonard and Phil Chess.

He played on sides for Sunnyland Slim, and in 1948, his recordings, ‘I Can't Be Satisfied’ and ‘I Feel Like Going Home’ became big hits.

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'i'm your hoochie coochie man' b/w 'she's so pretty' - 1954 / 'manish boy' b/w 'young fashion ways' - 1955 / 'got my mojo workin' b/w 'rock me' - 1957 / 'you need love' b/w 'little brown bird' - 1962

Aristocrat then became Chess Records, whilst Muddy's song ‘Rollin' Stone’ charted.

By 1953, Muddy’s band comprised of Little Walter Jacobs (harmonica), Jimmy Rogers (guitar), Elga Edmonds (drums) and Otis Spann (piano).

The group went from strength to strength, recording the hits ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ (number 8 R&B), ‘I Just Want to Make Love to You’ (number 4 R&B), and ‘I’m Ready’.

Muddy became the major Blues player on the Chicago blues scene.

In 1952, Little Walter left the group, followed by Jimmy Rogers in 1955.

Muddy continued to have hit sides, which included ‘Mannish Boy’, ’Sugar Sweet’ (in 1955), ‘Trouble No More’, ‘Forty Days & Forty Nights’ and ‘Don't Go No Farther’ (in 1956).

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muddy waters sings big bill - 1960 / muddy waters at newport 1960 - 1960 / folk singer - 1964 / down on stovall's plantation - 1966

He toured England in 1958, and performed at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival, (after which he released his first live album, ‘At Newport 1960’).

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brass and the blues - 1966 / more real folk blues - 1967 / super blues - 1967 / electric mud - 1968

Breaking from a familiar format, in 1967, he collaborated with Bo Diddley, Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf to record the albums ‘Super Blues’ and ‘The Super Super Blues Band’.

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after the rain - 1969 / the london muddy waters sessions - 1972 / mud in your ear - 1973 / can't get no grindin' - 1973

In 1972 Muddy returned to England to record ‘The London Muddy Waters Sessions’ (which featured Rory Gallagher, Steve Winwood, Rick Grech and Mitch Mitchell).

In 1973, Muddy's wife of many years, Geneva, died of cancer.

Muddy, himself, gave up smoking as a result.

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unk in funk - 1974 / woodstock album - 1975 / hard again - 1977 / i'm ready - 1978

In 1981, Muddy performed at the ChicagoFest, where he was joined onstage by Johnny Winter.

In 1982, Muddy’s own declining health placed a hold on his performance schedule.

That year he sat in with Eric Clapton's band at a concert in Florida in the summer of 1982 (the show being his final live performance).

In April 1983, Muddy died in his sleep from heart failure, at his home in Westmont, Illinois.

In 1985, Chicago honored him by naming a street after Muddy, entitled ‘Honorary Muddy Waters Drive’.

Muddy helped a young Chuck Berry get his first record contract.

The Rolling Stones named themselves after Muddy’s 1950 song, ‘Rollin' Stone’.

The group Cream covered Muddy’s ’Rollin' and Tumblin' on their 1966 debut album, ‘Fresh Cream’.


Led Zeppelin's song, ‘Whole Lotta Love’, is lyrically based on the Muddy Waters hit ‘You Need Love’ (a Willie Dixon tune).


Muddy Waters' song ‘I Just Want to Make Love to You’ became a huge hit for Etta James.
The Allman Brothers Band covered Muddy’s ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’.

The Beatles song ‘Come Together’ mentions Muddy Waters: "He roller coaster/he got Muddy Waters”.

Muddy Waters was inducted into the 'Rock And Roll Hall of Fame' in 1987.

Muddy Waters

Real Player


Sings Big Bill (Chess Records 1960)

At Newport (Chess Records 1960)

Folk Festival of the Blues (Chess Records 1963)

Folk Singer (Chess Records 1964)

Muddy Waters (Chess Records 1964)

Down on Stovall's Plantation (Chess Records 1966)

Blues from Big Bill's Copacabana (Chess Records 1967)

Brass and the Blues (Chess Records 1967)

The Super Super Blues Band (Chess Records 1967)

Super Blues (Chess Records 1968)

Electric Mud (Chess Records 1968)

After the Rain (MCA Records 1969)

Sail On (Wolf Records 1969)

Fathers and Sons (MCA Records 1969)

Goin' Home: Live in Paris 1970 (New Rose Records 1970)

Back in the Good Old Days (Syndicate Records 1970)

Good News (Syndicate Records 1970)

Vintage Mud (Sunnyland Records 1970)

Muddy Waters: Live (At Mr. Kelly's) (Chess Records 1971)

Muddy Waters Live (Chess Records 1972)

The London Muddy Waters Sessions (Chess Records 1972)

Can't Get No Grindin' (Geffen Records 1973)

Muddy & the Wolf (Chess Records 1974)

Unk in Funk (Geffen Records 1974)

London Revisited (Chess Records 1974)

The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album (Chess Records 1975)

Live at Jazz Jamboree '76 (Poljazz Records 1976)

Hard Again (Blue Sky Records 1977)

I'm Ready (Blue Sky Records 1978)

Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live (Sony Music Distribution Records 1979)

King Bee (Blue Sky Records 1981)

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