Muddy Waters (1914–1983)
Born McKinley Morganfield, Muddy Waters (named by his grandmother, Della Rose) became a blues icon. Known as the “Hoochie Coochie Man,” his deep-bottom Mississippi blues voice is the sound of the Mississippi Delta personified. Influenced by the music of Son House and Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters came into his own voice with the power of a hurricane. Playing Delta juke joints up and down the Mississippi, Muddy gained more experience with new songs and playing ability.
Muddy Waters first recorded music for the Library of Congress, which is what Son House and Robert Johnson did early in their careers. But Muddy would have to wait for his release a little longer. Playing house parties for rent money and the like, Muddy was a traveling man. He would eventually get the recording break he was looking for in 1946, when he recorded for Columbia Records under the direction of Leonard Chess. Their contract was based off of a handshake. He recorded the legendary “I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man” in 1954 and “Got My Mojo Working” in 1956.
Muddy Waters influence on music in general is far-reaching. He took the Delta blues to Chicago, plugged in an electric guitar, and turned it up, essentially electrifying the Chicago blues style. Plus, he added the sexual component to the music, which eventually found its way into music of Led Zeppelin. Keith Richards would eventually name his band after the Muddy Waters classic “Rolling Stone.” Muddy Waters influenced the development of rock-and-roll with three chords being played loud and with powerful rhythms.