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Muddy Waters Biography


Home > Music > W > Waters, Muddy > Biography


Birth Name: McKinley Morganfield
Born: 1915/04/04
Birth Place: Issaquena County, Mississippi, United States
Died: 1983/04/30
Years Active: 1941 – 1982
Genres: Electric Blues, Chicago Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Blues-rock


McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913 – April 30, 1983), known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician, generally considered the Father of modern Chicago blues. Blues musicians Big Bill Morganfield and Larry "Mud Morganfield" Williams are his sons.

Muddy Waters released approximately sixty singles (120 "sides") during his career, sixteen of which made the charts. These were issued on Chess Records, except for his 1941 recordings for the Library of Congress and his 1947 – early 1950 singles, which were issued on Aristocrat Records.

Muddy Waters also recorded several singles as a sideman with Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter, Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Otis Spann, and others.

Muddy Waters released about thirty albums during his career, including compilation albums. After his death in 1983, numerous compilation and live albums have been released by a number of record companies.

In September 1953 he was recording with one of the most acclaimed blues groups in history: Little Walter Jacobs on harmonica; Jimmy Rogers on guitar; Elga Edmonds (a.k.a. Elgin Evans) on drums; Otis Spann on piano. The band recorded a series of blues classics during the early 1950s, some with the help of bassist/songwriter Willie Dixon, including "Hoochie Coochie Man" (Number 8 on the R&B charts), "I Just Want to Make Love to You" (Number 4), and "I'm Ready."

Muddy headed to England in 1958 and his tour of the country that year marked possibly the first time amplified, modern urban blues was heard there, although on his first tour he was the only one amplified.

In 1967, he joined forces with Bo Diddley, Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf to record the “Super Blues” and “The Super Super Blues Band” pair of albums of Chess blues standards. In 1972 he went back to England to record “The London Muddy Waters Sessions” with Rory Gallagher, Steve Winwood, Rick Grech and Mitch Mitchell.

In 1977 Johnny Winter convinced his label, Blue Sky, to sign Muddy, the beginning of a fruitful partnership. His "comeback" LP, “Hard Again,” was recorded in just two days and was a return to the original Chicago sound he had created 25 years earlier, thanks to Winter's production. Former sideman James Cotton contributed harmonica on the Grammy Award-winning album.

The album covers a broad spectrum of styles, from the opening of "Mannish Boy", with shouts and hollers throughout, to the old-style Delta blues of "I Can't Be Satisfied", with a National Steel solo by Winter, to Cotton's screeching intro to "The Blues Had a Baby", to the moaning closer "Little Girl".

“Hard Again” was the first studio collaboration between Waters and Winter, who produced his final four albums, the others being “I'm Ready,” “King Bee,” and “Muddy "Mississippi" Waters - Live.” “King Bee” was the last album Muddy Waters recorded.

From 1971 to 1979 he was a six time Grammy winner in the Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording category. In 1980 he was inducted in to the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 1987 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992. The United States Postal Service issued a stamp bearing his image in 1994.