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]

317X

317X

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]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

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    

♬ ali Farka Toure Essential Afro Desert Blues Manding Hypnotic Sonafric Lp MaliJohn Lee Hooker Self-titled Very Rare! 1962 Maroon Galaxy Label BluesJohn Lee Hooker It Serve You Right To Suffer White Label Promo Blues Mono78 Rpm -- Blind Squire Turner (teddy Darby), Bluebird 5412, E / E+ BluesWilliam Antonini Lp 1971 Killer Jazz-funk Freakbeat Prog. Blues Italian LibraryPaul Butterfield Blues Band Self Titled Elektra Eks-7294 Lp Nm Shrink Lightnin' Slim Bell Ringer Very Rare 1965 Orig Mono BluesJohn Lee Hooker The Big Soul Of John Lee Hooker Blues Orig Deep Groove LabelMuddy Waters ~ The Best Of Lp ~ Chess Records 1427 Mono Dg Black Label 1st '5778 Rpm -- Chatman Brothers, Bluebird 8139, V+ BluesFleetwood Mac Self-titled British Blues; Blues PsychFreddie King My Feeling For The Blues White Label PromoLove Sculpture Blues Helping Rare Earth Lp NmLightnin' Hopkins Lightnin' Strikes Blues Orig Deep Groove Mono LabelLightnin' Hopkins Blues In My Bottle 1961 Prestige Bluesville Orig Mono LabelJohn Lee Hooker Travelin' Original 1960 Deep Groove Vee-jay Label Blues MonoMama Lion Give It Everything I've Got Blues Rock; Psych♬ Ali Farka Toure Timeless Afro Desert Blues Manding African Folk 1977 Lp MaliLowell Fulson Self-titled 1962 Original BluesLonnie Johnson With Elmer Snowden Blues & Ballads Prestige BluesvilleMuddy Waters Lp "folk Singer" Mobile Fidelity Records "audiophile" NmDavy Graham - Folk Blues & Beyond Lp Uk 1st Decca Lk 4649 1a 1a Unboxed Superb!Lightnin' Hopkins Blues Underground Mono Rare 60s Lp D RecordsLed Zeppelin 2 Lp Lot (vg) Led Zeppelin Self/t & Led Zeppelin Iii - Blues RockJohn Mayall With Eric Clapton Blues Breakers♬ orchestre Baobab 8 Ndeleng Breathtalking Magical Afro Latin Deep Blues SenegalMoody Blues In Search Of The Lost Chord Deram Nm Gatefold Johnny Dodds’ Washboard Band Bull Fiddle Blues Jazz 78 Rpm Victor E+ Sir Douglas Quintet + 2 Honkey Blues Smash Mercury Lp Nm UpkGroundhogs - Blues Obituary - Prog Rock LpJazz Lp - Gigi Gryce "rat Race Blues" New Jazz 8262 (rvg Dg Mono Orig Bag Nm)Lightnin' Hopkins Fast Life Woman 1962 Verve Mono BluesFreddie King Woman Across The River BluesSuper Session Mike Bloomfield/al Kooper/steve Stills Columbia Lp Nm Shrink 2-eyeAlbert King Born Under A Bad Sign Stax Lp Nm♬ idy Diop Dioubo Shivering Deep Afro Latin Folk African Blues Senegal Sublime !John Lee Hooker ‎– Plays & Sings The Blues Chess ‎– Lp-1454 Lp MonoRingo Starr Beaucoups Of Blues Apple Lp Nm Gatefold Vg++ Beautiful! Marvin Gaye What's Going On Lp In Shrink! Inner City Blues MercyFleetwood Mac Mr. Wonderful Blues Peter Green Vinyl Lp Blue Horizon Stereo 1968Trixie Smith Desperate Blues Black Swan Race Record 78 RpmMoody Blues On The Threshold Of A Dream Deram Lp Nm Gatefold W/ BookletRare Kc Douglas "a Dead-beat Guitar And The Mississippi Blues" Lp - Dg Road 5002Paul Butterfield Blues Band Golden Butter Elektra 2xlp Nm Wlp Gatefold Savoy Brown Blues Band Shake Down Original 1967 Uk Decca Lk 4883The Wilde Three**since You've Gone**acetate**moody Blues**hear Both TracksGreat Jones All Bowed Down! Blues RockFats Domino / Blues For Love 7" Ep ** Very Rare 1955 1st Press ** Gold LabelJazz Lp - Oliver Nelson "blues And Abstract Truth" Impulse A-5 Mono Rvg Orig NmGrupo 606 - Busca Un Camino / Garage Punk Bolivia / Blues Magoos Gotta Get Away78 Rpm Bo Diddley Checker 827 Pretty Thing ♬ Bonga Noir Sublime Afro Folk Rhythms Deep Latin Blues = Legendary Angola 72 LpRory Gallagher - Tattoo. Uk Polydor Test Pressing Lp. White Label. 1973 Blues1953 T Bone Walker Classics In Jazz Capitol H-370 10" Lp Mono Johnny Hodges, Blues A Plenty 3lp 45rpm Test Pressing SsKoerner, Ray & Glover Blues, Rags And Hollers Mono Guitar Player LabelJimmy Reed Down In Virginia Blues Shrink WrapLou Donaldsonj "blues Walk Blue Note Records Inc.1593 Ny UsaBig Brother & The Holding Co./janis Joplin-or.psych Blues Vg+/vg++mono Lp/shrink♬ kante Manfila & Salif Keita Authenticité 1 Prodigious Afro Manding Blues Mali