There have been a number of ‘artists of influence’ in the history of Rock and Ro…

Written by on April 4, 2018


There have been a number of ‘artists of influence’ in the history of Rock and Roll. One of the most influential of all was McKinley Morganfield. Mr. Morganfield would have turned 105 years old today. You will know him better as Muddy Waters.

We could go on for day about Muddy, but we wanted to share one story about him. In 1972 he went to England to record “The London Muddy Waters Sessions” with Rory Gallagher, Steve Winwood, Rick Grech and Mitch Mitchell — but their playing was not up to his standards. “These boys are top musicians, they can play with me, put the book before ’em and play it, you know.” “But that ain’t what I need to sell my people, it ain’t the Muddy Waters sound. An’ if you change my sound, then you gonna change the whole man.” He was a true Bluesman.

To show his influence, The Rolling Stones named themselves after his 1950 song “Rollin’ Stone.” Rolling Stonemagazine also took its name from the same song. Hendrix recalled that “the first guitar player I was aware of was Muddy Waters. I first heard him as a little boy and it scared me to death”. Cream covered “Rollin’ and Tumblin'” on their 1966 debut album Fresh Cream, as Eric Clapton was a big fan of Muddy Waters when he was growing up, and his music influenced Clapton’s music career. The song was also covered by Canned Heat at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival and later adapted by Bob Dylan on the album Modern Times. One of Led Zeppelin’s biggest hits, “Whole Lotta Love”, is lyrically based upon the Muddy Waters hit “You Need Love”, written by Willie Dixon. Dixon wrote some of Muddy Waters’ most famous songs, including “I Just Want to Make Love to You” (a big radio hit for Etta James, as well as the 1970s rock band Foghat), “Hoochie Coochie Man”, which the Allman Brothers Band famously covered (the song was also covered by Humble Pie and Steppenwolf), “Trouble No More” and “I’m Ready”. In 1993, Paul Rodgers released the album Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters, on which he covered a number of Muddy Waters songs, including “Louisiana Blues”, “Rollin’ Stone”, “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “I’m Ready” in collaboration with a number of famous guitarists including Gary Moore, Brian May and Jeff Beck.

Waters died in his sleep from heart failure, at his home in Westmont, Illinois, on April 30, 1983. At his funeral, throngs of blues musicians and fans showed up to pay tribute to one of the true originals of the art form. “Muddy was a master of just the right notes,” John P. Hammond told Guitar World magazine. “It was profound guitar playing, deep and simple… more country blues transposed to the electric guitar, the kind of playing that enhanced the lyrics, gave profundity to the words themselves.”

Happy Birthday Muddy. Thank you for all you did.




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