Muddy Waters’ influence on rock and roll can’t be underestimated. The Rolling Stones lifted themes, recording tone and guitar riffs from this great Chicago bluesman. They even took their name from his song “Rolling Stone”. And if you listen to Muddy’s songs it’s hard to miss the fact that most famous Led Zeppelin songs sport almost exact copies of his songwriting. “Way down inside, woman you need love.”
Not only did Muddy help build the foundations of rock and roll. But he was the “Father of the Chicago Blues”, and like Howlin’ Wolf used the electric guitar to take the blues to the next level. A level that would shake you to your bones with volume and passion.
He grew up in the early 19oos near a plantation in Mississippi and got his nickname “Muddy” because he would play along the creek beds. He didn’t see a future for himself in the South, so in the early 40s headed North up Highway 61 to find his way in Chicago. “My blues are made from hard times I had. I came up as a poor kid, my family was poor. And I had a lot of trouble with women. And I always did like women. I was 14- 15 years old, I always liked a woman whether she was my woman or not. That’s the way my blues live, between money problems and women problems and good times.”
Listen to this KEXP Documentary
You can hear the first episodes of this series “Blues for Hard Times”, and all of our other KEXP Documentaries in the On Demand section of KEXP.ORG. KEXP Documentaries are produced and written by Michele Myers, with assistance from John Felthous and Jentery Sayers. Executive Producer is Kevin Cole.