McKinley Morganfield

… was born 99 years ago today. We know him as Muddy Waters.

And how important was Muddy Waters to early Rock?

You’ve heard of The Rolling Stones, and “Like a Rolling Stone,” and Rolling Stone magazine. All named for Waters’ early hit, “Rollin’ Stone.”

Muddy Waters transformed the soul of the rural South into the sound of the city, electrifying the blues at a pivotal point in the early postwar period. His recorded legacy, particularly the wealth of sides he cut in the Fifties, is one of the great musical treasures of this century. Aside from Robert Johnson, no single figure is more important in the history and development of the blues than Waters. The real question as regards his lasting impact on popular music isn’t “Who did he influence?” but – as Goldmine magazine asked in 2001 – “Who didn’t he influence?”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Call March 25th What You Will

I’ll call it a national holiday.

Because it is Aretha Franklin’s birthday.

She’s 72.

Aretha Franklin is the “Queen of Soul” and the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She is a singer of great passion and control whose finest recordings define the term soul music in all its deep, expressive glory.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Johnny Cash

A few weeks ago I read Robert Hilburn’s biography of Johnny Cash, an interesting if somewhat longish and discouraging look at the Man in Black.

Today at Open Culture there was a link to the first episode of Cash’s music-variety show. The program from June 7, 1969, included guests Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Doug Kershaw. And the Carters, of course. Not a bad way to visit 45-year-old music history.