William Clarke was best known for his original voice on blues harmonica, which combined elements of the Chicago blues sound with West Coast blues, and for his virtuosity on the chromatic harmonica.
Clarke was born in Inglewood, California, in 1951. He studied both diatonic and chromatic harmonica directly with George “Harmonica” Smith, with whom he performed and recorded for six years. He went on to record a string of solo albums that sold well and enabled him to tour continuously and cemented his reputation as a master of the harmonica as well as an excellent singer and songwriter. Clarke died in 1996, but his innovations on the harmonica live on.