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  • Blues
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Elmore James

Artist Pages

...As an electric guitar and blues innovator, Elmore James’s influence transcended his genre and generation. Born Elmore Brooks into a field hand family in Holmes County, Mississippi in 1918, James began making music at age twelve by playing...
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...The “original” Sonny Boy Williamson is not to be confused with Sonny Boy Williamson II. Though unrelated, both were blues harmonica players. But where the second Sonny Boy Williamson (born Aleck Miller) played an electrified blues harp...
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...The electric guitar and pounding foot of John Lee Hooker helped to establish blues in the post-World War II American musical culture. Born in Mississippi in either 1912 or 1917, Hooker was homeschooled by his mother...

Lead Belly

Artist Pages

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...Despite a short professional career, the lessons learned from the mythology around—and performances of—Huddie Ledbetter, known as Lead Belly, have provided a rich insight into the early development of commercial American folk music...
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...In Rolling Stone magazine, Ali Ibrahim “Farka” Touré is listed as number seventy-six on “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” Similarly, he ranks number thirty-seven on Spin magazine's “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” Known...

W.C. Handy

Artist Pages

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...Through the compositions of W. C. Handy, the blues were transformed from a localized form to a national genre. Born in Florence, Alabama in 1873, Handy began his career as a laborer in a strict religious household. Against the wishes of his...

B.B. King

Artist Pages

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...As a figure commonly recognized as “the King of the Blues,” B.B. King’s almost seventy-year career saw seventy-four entries on the Billboard R & B charts and the evolution of his form into various idioms of popular music. Born in 1925...
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...As one of the most prolific artists to emerge from the Beale Street scene in Memphis, Tennessee, Bobby Bland’s career spanned fifty years. Born in 1930 in the small town of Barretville, Tennessee, Bland dropped out of school after third...

Joe Cocker

Artist Pages

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...Known for his unique performance style and gritty-voiced takes on pop material, Joe Cocker was recognized across the globe as one of the best singers of the 1960s and 1970s. Born in Sheffield, England in 1944, Cocker was influenced...
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...As blues music transitioned from acoustic to electric, Lonnie Johnson’s innovative style inspired a generation of artists to push new technology to its limits. Born into a musical family in New Orleans in 1899, Johnson learned to play...