The dominant gene in the DNA of rock ’n’ roll comes from the blues, which is just one reason why many believe it’s the most important musical genre of the last 100 years. Everyone from Chuck Berry to The Beatles to Led Zeppelin has used the basic 12-bar blues chord progression as the underlying structure for their music. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine much of contemporary music without it.

Cognizant of this fact, the Rock and Roll Museum inducted blues legend Robert Johnson into its Hall of Fame in 1986, the institution’s very first year. The following year it added Johnson acolyte Muddy Waters to its ranks, along with bluesmen B.B. King and Big Joe Turner. In subsequent years, blues artists such as Lead Belly, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, and Willie Dixon, among others, have been inducted into the hallowed hall.

For vinyl record collectors, blues records are particularly appealing because the style spans so many years and formats. For example, collectors of antique 10-inch 78 RPM discs on Okeh and other labels look for Bessie Smith tunes such as “Safety Mama” or “Blind” Lemon Jefferson songs like “How Long, How Long.” In the 1920s, Jefferson’s music was so popular that some of his records enjoyed as many as 750,000 pressings.

The Depression knocked some of the stuffing out of the blues market, and World War II forced many labels to cease operations altogether as raw materials were husbanded for the war effort. But a parallel upheaval was happening in the blues, as artists moved from the Mississippi Delta region in the south to urban areas up north.

In Chicago, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and John Lee Hooker all made their mark, trading their acoustic Martin guitars for electric ones made by Gibson and others (B.B. King’s black ES-335, which he named Lucille, remains one of the most identifiable instruments in music).

One of Chicago’s leading blues artists was Willie Dixon. He performed extensively in the postwar era, but he also wrote a lot of tunes recorded as 45s on Chess Records, by performers from locals Waters and Wolf to England’s Rolling Stones—their 45 single of Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster” was recorded in Chicago for Chess in 1965.

In fact, in the 1960s, rock bands would regularly weave blues numbers by Dixon, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Bo Diddley into their repertoires. First pressings of “East-West” by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band are prized, as are mint mono LPs of the 1966 “Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton” album—the leader of that band, John Mayall, was one of the greatest champions of the U.S. blues in England...

Then there were the Yardbirds, a blues-inspired pop outfit that launched the careers of not only Clapton (good luck finding a seven-inch single of their 1965 hit, “For Your Love”) but also Jeff Beck (the U.K. release of “Roger the Engineer” is much sought after) and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page (look for “Little Games”).

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]



Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Memphis Jug Band 78 Rpm 10" Cocaine Habit Blues Special Record78 Rpm Beale Street Sheiks (frank Stokes), Paramount 12758, Vv+ BluesElectric Okeh 8689 Blind Willie Dunn's Gin Bottle Four (king Oliver) Nyc 1929Dirty Wurds -why/takin' My Blues Away-monster Garage Marina 45! Hear It! Listen!Pre-war Blues 78, Blind Blake, Paramount 12431, Too Tight, Hear Mp3Pre-war Blues 78, Little Hat Jones On Okeh 8712, Two String Blues, Hear Mp3Rolling Stones Orig Oz Lp Aftermath Nm ’66 Unboxed Decca Skla4786 Blues RockBlind Boy Fuller, She's A Truckin' Little Baby Vocalion 04603 78 Rpm E BluesPostwar Blues 78 Howlin' Wolf Rpm 347Townes Van Zandt Delta Momma Blues Lp Rare '71 Promo First Pressing Poppy 40012Blues Busters/byron Lee - Love Me Forever/i Won't Let You Go 45 Kentone Hear It!Postwar Blues 78 Little Milton Sun 200Postwar Blues 78 Little Milton Sun 194Blues Breakers John Mayall With Eric Clapton Beano Album Mono OriginalPostwar Blues 78 Magic Sam Cobra 5013Postwar Blues 78 Howlin' Wolf Chess 1510Jazz Lp Lou Donaldson Blues Walk Blue Note 1593 47 West 63rd Address In Shrink'55 W Coast R&b Shouter/blues Riff Ruffin Money For My Honey/darkest Hour M-hearFree Tons Of Sobs Unplayed Canada Mint Gatefold Paul Kossoff Psych BluesMuddy Waters The Real Folk Blues Lp Chess 1501 Original Mono Rare Nm-" Blues Breakers " John Mayall With Eric Clapton " Beano "super Orig Rare Uk LpBo Diddley I'm A Man Checker #814 Blues R&b Rocker 78rpm Ex!Lightnin' Hopkins - Lightnin' Strikes - Scarce Uk 1962 Mono Lp - Beyond Rare!Ma Rainey, Walking Blues, Barrel House Blues Paramount 12082 78 Rpm Lovie AustinMama Lion "preserve Wildlife" Blues Psych Lp Family Savoy Brown Blues Band Shake Down Uk -1w Decca Boxed 70's + Polysleeve ExJackie Mclean A Long Drink Of The Blues New Jazz 8253, Lp Dg Rvg '56 Checker Harp Blues Sonny Boy Williamson Let Me Explain M- Dj Hear Both Now!Lot Of 500+ Soul, Funk, Jazz, Blues, R&b 45s. Great For Jukebox! (77)Bonnie Raitt "luck Of The Draw" 1997 Dcc Classics Audiophile Blues Rock Lp NmMoloch S/t Blues Funk Psych Fuzz Rare Original Ex 1969 Lp Son Bonds W/sleepy John Estes, Pre-war Blues 78 Rpm On Decca 7558, 1938The Blues Busters - The Best Of The Blues Busters Uk Doctor Bird Lp ►♫Band Of Light " Total Union " Lp Oz Prog Blues Rock 1973 La De Da's Sugar Creek Please Tell A Friend Psych Blues Acid Archives Promo 1969 Lp Muddy Waters Electric Mud Nm Cadet Gatefold Orig Psych Essential RecordHound Dog Taylor And The Houserockers Lp Rare Chicago Blues ~ Alligator 4701 NmPostwar Blues 78 Junior Wells States S-122R&b Blues 45 Bep Brown Round House Boogie / Kickin' Around Meteor 5001 Orig Vg-Horace Silver Blowin' The Blues Away Blue Note 4017 Dg Rvg "ear" Mono OriginalRobert Johnson - King Of The Delta Blues Singers Original 6 Eye Rare Promo Lp Lp Jazz Screamin' The Blues Oliver Nelson Sextet Eric Dolphy Uk London EsquireLot Of 68 Vintage Jazz, Blues, Funk, Soul, R&b, Disco Vinyl Lp RecordsLive Checkerboard Lounge [2lp/1dvd] By Muddy Waters/the Rolling Stones VinylEx-/ex+ Ashkan -in From The Cold Sire/london Promo Ses97017 Rare Killer Blues LpBillie Holiday - Strange Fruit / Fine And Mellow - 10" Blues 78 Rpm SingleJohn Lee Hooker Decoration Day Blues / My Baby's Got Something 78 SensationMadame Ma Rainey Walkin Blues / Barrelhouse Blues 78 Paramount Pre WarHowlin' Wolf :little Baby /down In The Bottom: Usa OriginalRay Hoff & The Off Beats “tossin’ & Turnin” Oz Garage-blues-45/1966Gun Club Miami Animal Chr 1398 Jeffrey Lee Pierce Blues Garage Rockabilly PunkLeadbelly Negro Folk Songs For Young People Ex Folkways +bookletRare Vinyl Lightnin' Hopkins - Nothin' But The Blues Lp - Mount Vernon Music 104Little Beaver - Do Right Man B/w These Blues Are Getting Me Down - Saadia - RareVarious Artists - Frank Stokes' Dream The Memphis Blues, 1927-1931 Lp Yazoo 2011John Mayall ‎– Blues From Laurel Canyon,1968,mono,decca Unboxed,1b/1b*Lot Of 500+ Soul, Funk, Jazz, Blues, R&b 45s. Great For Jukebox! (78)Mckenna Mendelson Blues (canadian Blues Psych) Rare Paragon Lp 1968 In ShrinkMark Lanegan/screaming Trees~winding Sheet~orig 1990 Subpop Lp~grunge Blues~ex!Bo Diddley Diddley Daddy Checker #819 Blues 78rpm Ex!

Recent News: Blues Records

Source: Google News

Disney Employee accused of Rape outside Downtown Disney, July 24th

It was the second time he had been arrested after leaving House of Blues, records show. On Sept. 19, 2012, Herrera and a friend were stopped for speeding and a broken tag light at 2:23 a.m. on Buenaventura Boulevard. An Osceola deputy noticed Herrera ...Read more

Steve Earle and his life passion for blues
Rye and Battle Today, July 24th

Rolling Stone called it “less a soul-searcher than a sturdy vehicle, built to chug through hard times,” while Vintage Guitar remarked, “In a time when far too many modern 'blues' records feel antiseptic and slick, Earle and band superbly integrate new...Read more

Here Are Five Influential Personalities Who Took LSD
RYOT, July 22nd

In his first trip, Hendrix listened to Keith Richards' personal collection of blues records. The experience had a profound impact on him and went on to greatly influence his music and style of dressing. Subsequently, Hendrix performed a great number of...Read more

Bluesman to perform at animal rescue benefit
Spartanburg Herald Journal, July 21st

Selwyn Birchwood studied business in college, earning an MBA from the University of Tampa. Away from class, he was getting schooled in the blues by working with Sonny Rhodes, learning how to run a band along the way...Read more

Robert Broadbent, Force Behind Rock Hall of Fame, Dies at 94
New York Times, July 15th

Mr. Freed used Moondog's 1949 composition “Moondog's Symphony” as his theme music (and for a time appropriated the composer's professional name as his own) and began playing rhythm and blues records on WJW radio at midnight. Mr. Freed ...Read more

John Mayall: A Portrait of the living Blues – Q&A
Oregon Music News, July 14th

But I had a big 78s collection of my own long before that. People don't realize that there was plenty of blues music on 78s ten years before the time Keith Richards was talking about, so I had lots and lots of blues records! Were blues records readily...Read more

The Core: Aquarium Rescue Unit
Relix, July 14th

His father was a disc jockey in San Francisco, and I called him and he turned me onto three or four thousand blues records. And at that time, blues was my religious passion, you might say. I bought close to 150 obscure blues records. Pigpen was a...Read more

Exclusive: Dan Aykroyd Launches Blues Brothers Records: 'I Want to Find the ...
Billboard, March 16th

Jack White and Aerosmith have done blues records. After I saw Miley Cyrus on Saturday Night Live, I could hear her doing Lightnin' Hopkins with that growling voice. By working with a first-class producer in Don and using BluesMobile to help sell, there...Read more