24 Facts About Muddy Waters


McKinley Morganfield, known professionally as Muddy Waters, was an American blues singer and musician who was an important figure in the post-war blues scene, and is often cited as the "father of modern Chicago blues".


Muddy Waters grew up on Stovall Plantation near Clarksdale, Mississippi, and by age 17 was playing the guitar and the harmonica, emulating the local blues artists Son House and Robert Johnson.


Muddy Waters was recorded in Mississippi by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941.


Muddy Waters stated that he was born in 1915 in Rolling Fork in Sharkey County, Mississippi, but other evidence suggests that he was born in the unincorporated community of Jug's Corner, in neighboring Issaquena County, in 1913.


In 1943, Muddy Waters headed to Chicago with the hope of becoming a full-time professional musician.


Muddy Waters later recalled arriving in Chicago as the single most momentous event in his life.


Muddy Waters lived with a relative for a short period while driving a truck and working in a factory by day and performing at night.

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Muddy Waters's band became a proving ground for some of the city's best blues talent, with members of the ensemble going on to successful careers of their own.


The rivalry was, in part, stoked by Willie Dixon providing songs to both artists, with Wolf suspecting that Muddy Waters was getting Dixon's best songs.


Also in 1958, Chess released his first compilation album, The Best of Muddy Waters, which collected twelve of his singles up to 1956.


Muddy Waters toured England with Spann in 1958, where they were backed by local Dixieland-style or "trad jazz" musicians, including members of Chris Barber's band.


In October 1963, Muddy Waters participated in the first of several annual European tours, organized as the American Folk Blues Festival, during which he performed more acoustic-oriented numbers.


The Super Super Blues Band united Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, who had a long-standing rivalry.


Muddy Waters brought with him two American musicians, harmonica player Carey Bell and guitarist Sammy Lawhorn.


Muddy Waters was dissatisfied by the results, due to the British musicians' more rock-oriented sound.


Muddy Waters won another Grammy for his last LP on Chess Records: The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album, recorded in 1975 with his new guitarist Bob Margolin, Pinetop Perkins, Paul Butterfield, and Levon Helm and Garth Hudson of the Band.


Muddy Waters performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1972,1974 and 1977.


In 1981, Muddy Waters was invited to perform at ChicagoFest, the city's top outdoor music festival.


Muddy Waters died in his sleep from heart failure, at his home in Westmont, Illinois, on April 30,1983, from cancer-related complications.


Muddy Waters was taken from his Westmont home, which he lived in for the last decade of his life, to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Illinois, where he was pronounced dead.


Muddy Waters received a plaque on the Clarksdale Walk of Fame.


Eric Clapton was a big fan of Muddy Waters while growing up, and his music influenced Clapton's music career.


One of Led Zeppelin's biggest hits, "Whole Lotta Love", has its lyrics heavily influenced by the Muddy Waters hit "You Need Love".


Muddy Waters' songs have been featured in long-time fan Martin Scorsese's movies, including The Color of Money, Goodfellas, and Casino.