Personalities | Sonny Boy Williamson | Thirties | Jazz & Blues
(Harmonica, vocals, 1914–48)
John Lee Williamson was born in Jackson, Tennessee. He taught himself harmonica at an early age and left home in his mid-teens to hobo with Yank Rachell and Sleepy John Estes through Tennessee and Arkansas. He settled in Chicago in 1934 and made his recording debut for Bluebird in 1937. His first song, ‘Good Morning Little School Girl’, became a blues standard.
Williamson was friendly with Big Bill Broonzy and frequently worked Chicago clubs with him. During the years 1939–45 he worked Chicago’s Maxwell Street for tips, but in 1947 his record ‘Shake The Boogie’ became a number-four hit on the Race charts. Williamson was the most gifted and influential harmonica stylist of the pre-war era and was very much in demand to play on recordings by other artists. He was murdered coming home from a job in 1948, after which his name and reputation were taken on by harmonica player Rice Miller – or ‘Sonny Boy Williamson II’, as he became known.
An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...
Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.
The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.
Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers
his life, music, art and movies, with a
sweep of incredible photographs.