Personalities | Freddie King | Sixties | Jazz & Blues

(Guitar, vocals, 1934–76)

Few bluesmen have possessed the bristling intensity of Freddie King, whose stinging vibrato and energetic, soaring vocal style influenced Eric Clapton. King was born in Gilmer, Texas and learned guitar from his mother at age six. He moved to Chicago in 1950, earning a reputation among peers like Buddy Guy and Otis Rush with his gritty approach.

His 1950s recordings for the Cobra label were not released, but King made his mark after signing with Cincinnati’s Federal/King Records in 1960. His Federal/King sides included the oft-covered instrumentals ‘Hideaway’ and ‘San-Ho-Zay’, as well as ‘Have You Ever Loved A Woman’, subsequently made famous by Derek & the Dominos. Waning interest in blues left him without a contract in 1965, but King was soon accepted by white rock audiences and toured England extensively between 1967 and 1969. He played clubs and festivals and recorded for major labels until his heart failed after a Dallas concert.

Styles & Forms | Sixties | Jazz & Blues
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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