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    

Howlin' Wolf - Moanin' In The Moonlight -1958 - Black Chess - Mono (w/photo)Jack White I'm Shakin' / Blues On Two Trees 7" Tour Edition Third Man RecordsJack White Fly Farm Blues Glow In The Dark Single Third Man RecordsJohn Lee Hooker - House Of Blues - 1960 - Black Chess Label - MonoSonny Boy Williamson - Down And Out Blues - 1959 - Checker Label - Mono DgKilling Floor 1969 Uk Mod Blues Psych Lp Spark Penny Farthing Flipback Top Copy!John Lee Hooker - I'm John Lee Hooker - 1959 - Maroon Veejay Label - MonoBo Diddley - 1st Bo Diddley - 1958 - Chess Label - Mono John Lee Hooker - Plays & Sings The Blues - 1961 - Chess Label - Mono(wl Promo)Little Walter - The Best Of Little Walter - 1957 - Black Chess - Mono Charlie Parker-the Bird Blows The Blues-dial 901-rare OrigAlbert King - Born Under A Bad Sign - 1967 - Blue Stax Label - Mono** Decca Unboxed Mono** Savoy Brown Blues Band Shake Down 1967 Uk Lp Blues PyschBlind Willie Johnson, Columbia 14425, V+ / Vv+Charlee 1972 Heavy Psych Blues Guitar Crusher Lp Canada Original Walter RossiPre-war Blues: Blind Willie Johnson Let Yr Light Shine/god Dont Change Col14504Incredible Hog 1973 Uk Heavy Psych Blues Rock Blaster! Spain Orig Alternate CvrBuster Brown - New King Of The Blues - 1965 - Purple Fire Label - MonoHear! Blues 78 Sunnyland Slim - Highway 61 / It's You Baby On CobraFree Highway 1st Uk Pressing Mint Audio Mint Vinyl 1st Island Blues Rock ProgMuddy Waters - The Best Of Muddy Water - 1957 - Black Chess - Mono Dg'60 Txs Rocker Johnny (winter) & Jammers School Day Blues Dart 131 M- Hear Both!'57 Rockin' Blues/swamp Pop Joe Hudson Hoo-wee Pretty Baby Excello M- Dj Hear!Elmore James - Blues After Hours - 1961 - Black Crown LabelThe Fendermen - Mule Skinner Blues - 1960 - Soma Label - Mono'58 Twin Spin Rockers/ps Dennis Puckett Rockin' Teens/by By Blues Emerald Hear!Battle Of The Blues Vol. 4 - E. Vinson, R. Brown, W. Harris - 1960 - Black King Howlin' Wolf - Evil - 1958 - Chess - Mono(shrink)Human Instinct "stoned Guitar" 1st Nz Press *air* Heavy Blues Psych Monster!!!!!'57 Blues Blue Charlie I'm Gonna Kill That Hen/don't Bring No Friend Nasco Hear!Bo Diddley - Have Guitar Will Travel - 1960 - Checker Label - Mono DgSpooky Tooth Debut It's All About 1st Uk Pink Island Top Audio Rock Blues PsychTn Rockabilly Wayne Mcginnis Meteor 5035 (( ™Hear! Blues 78 Muddy Waters - Take The Bitter With The Sweet / She's Into SomethHear! Blues 78 Elmore James - Can't Stop Lovin' / Make A Little Love On FairNina Simone "pastel Blues" Lp *signed* Original Mono Philips Phm 200-187Bo Diddley - Go Bo Diddley - 1959 - Checker Label - Mono DgHowlin Wolf 78 Rpm "i'll Be Around/forty Four" Chess Label #1584, Hear!Blues Inc.- Get Off My Back,phalanx,killer Indiana Garage,2 Sided Winner!Muddy Waters - Electric Mud - 1968 - Cadet Concept Label - Stereo(w/booklet)Tiny Grimes/jc Higginbotham-callin' The Blues-prestige 7144-bergenfield Great!Bo Diddley - Surfin' With Bo Diddley - 1964 - Checker Label - MonoRolling Stones Between The Buttons 1st Uk Audio Archive Unboxed Decca Rock Blues14pc78-blues-vocalion 1720-bumble Bee SlimDixieland Jug Blowers Rare Jazz 78 National Blues/ Southern Shout Victor 20954'55 Twin Spin Chess R&b Bo Diddley Pretty Thing/bring It To Jerome M- Dj Hear!Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters At Newport - 1962 - Black Chess Label- Mono '54 Twin Spin Blues/r&b Johnny Taylor Foolin' Around/over The Hill M- Hear Both! Pre-war Blues: Big Bill (sammy Sampson) Early Guitar Banger: Cant Be SatisfiedBo Diddley - Is A Gunslinger - 1961 - Checker Label - Mono Pre-war Mississippi Blues Mose Andrews 10 Pound Hammer (big Road Blues) Solid ELong John Baldry & Hoochie Coochie Men*long John's Blues*uk*sample*mThe Chiefs Blues Original 1980 Playgems Records Vinyl 7" Pic M-/nm PunkBo Diddley - Bo Diddley's Beach Party - 1963 - Checker Label - Mono John Lee Hooker €Bo Diddley - In The Spotlight - 1960 - Checker Label - Mono Little Boy Blues, The €'56 Chess Rockin' Blues Howlin Wolf So Glad/i Asked For Water #1632 M- Dj Hear!Blues 78, Blind Boy Fuller On Okeh 06231, Ex- To Vg+Pre-war Blues: Two Great Blues -tampa Red Vocalion1251& Ga. Tom-hannah May Oriol

Recent News: Blues Records

Source: Google News

Good Times, Bad Times: Jimmy Page In Pictures
Clash Magazine, November 27th

Like, all those old blues records where they've got two guitarists going on, like the Howlin' Wolf stuff and Muddy Waters; you hear some wonderful guitar parts blending. The Stones were doing that, but we wanted to have stuff that was more like a big...Read more

Christopher 'Kong' Jon Peter Squires
Winona Daily News, November 26th

He loved music, and could be found listening to old scratchy blues records at every chance. Christopher's humor was enough to dry your tears; his loyalty was stronger than anything the world could offer. Christopher met the love of his life, Sarah...Read more

Eliot Bronson builds songs on a foundation of the sacred and secular
The Daily Times, November 26th

Sacred music shaped him, but so too did the folk and blues records that were always on his parents' turntable, he told The Daily Times this week. It all shines through on his new self-titled album, a soupçon of country lamentations, folk ruminations...Read more

Amy of Arabia
Arkansas Times, November 26th

In her time, she has worked as a waitress at Sims Barbecue (she may, in fact, have been the reverse Jackie Robinson of that Little Rock foodie fixture), spun blues records as a DJ at KABF-FM, 88.3, and taught school. Last summer, she drained the fifth...Read more

Steve Earle On The Making of Terraplane Blues … And Then Some
American Songwriter, November 20th

But there's one song that's based on the fact that I very much believe, for me, where I come from, the first two ZZ Top records are blues records. And that one track that rocks pretty hard is kind of from that. So is “Terraplane Blues” your favorite...Read more

Various Artists – The Healing Blues (2014)
Something Else! Reviews, November 7th

Money is generated by selling a blues-oriented record by a rotating roster of local bands, but this CD, also called The Healing Blues (October 5, 2014, Healing Blues Records), uses a novel approach to come up with the music. All fifteen songs are drawn...Read more

Jack White discusses jazz and blues records of Paramount Records at Yale ..., October 30th

Jack White has appeared at Yale University, discussing the jazz and blues records of Paramount Records. The former White Stripes frontman appeared at the prestigious establishment in New Haven, Connecticut earlier this week (October 28), taking part in...Read more

Jack White Speaks at Yale About (What Else?) 1920s Blues Records
Billboard, October 29th

Yale University welcomed rock-legend-in-the-making Jack White to their campus on Tuesday night. And what happens when you invite Jack White to anything? He's going to start talking about blues records from the 1920s, whether it's applicable or not...Read more