Personalities | Muddy Waters | Roots of Rock

(Guitar, vocals, 1913–83)

Born McKinley Morgenfield in Mississippi, Muddy Waters was first recorded by musicologist Alan Lomax. Waters’ first recording for Lomax, ‘I Be’s Troubled’, would become his first hit when he recorded it in Chicago as ‘I Can’t Be Satisfied’ (1948). By 1951, Waters was on the R&B charts consistently with tunes like ‘Louisiana Blues’, and ‘Long Distance Call’.

In 1952, he created the smash ‘She Moves Me’, and later came ‘(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man’ and ‘I’m Ready’. Bo Diddley borrowed a Waters beat for ‘I’m a Man’ in 1955, and then Waters reworked the idea into ‘Mannish Boy’. In 1956, Waters had three more R&B smashes, but as rock’n’roll developed he became a blues elder statesman to followers like The Rolling Stones (named after a Waters tune), Johnny Winter and Eric Clapton. Waters continued performing to acclaim and releasing albums to mixed results into the 1980s.

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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