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    

78 Rpm Mississippi Sheiks, Okeh 8834, E+ Blues78 Rpm Nugrape Twins, Columbia 14187, Ee+ Blues / GospelMuddy Waters Sings Bill Broonzy~insanely Rare Orig'58 Chess Mono Lp~black Label78 Rpm Blind Willie Johnson, Columbia14343, V- Blues / Gospel78 Rpm Clifford Gibson, Qrs, 7087, V- / G+ BluesLed Zeppelin "p.b. Live" Pure Blues Lp Vancouver 1970 Rare Original Great Sound!Zz Top Zz Top's First Album Blues RockEels Electro-shock Blues Lp Vinyl Album Original Pressing Unplayed! Blue Disks!78 Rpm Blues Blind Lemon Jefferson Paramount 12474 V Match Box Blues Funk Psych 45 Little Rose & Rhythm & Blues Trip To Moon Palladium Nm/vg++ HearDelta Blues Band Same Ultra Rare Denmark Orig Lp Psych Blues Prog Monster!!!R&b Blues Deep Soul 45 Chubby Martin Soul Salesman Big Star HearLot Of 500+ Soul, Funk, Jazz, Blues, R&b 45s. Great For Jukebox! (49)78 Rpm Blues Bessie Jackson Oriole 8375 V- Sweet Man / Down In Boogie AlleyR&b/blues Soul 45 Little Mack I Need Love Checker HearFree - Free (pink Island Uk Original Lp 1969) -1a/ -1b Blues Prog Psych. Near ExMccoy Tyner Lp "nights Of Ballads & Blues" Original Impulse Mono Rvg Nm-Hound Dog Taylor: Live At Florences Jsp Lp / Rare Blues Yellow Wax Uk NmDemon Fuzz I Put A Spell On You Maxi Single Jazz/funk/soul/bluesButterfield Blues Band, The East-west Blues Rock Michael BloomfieldBob Dylan John Birch Society Blues Lp Green Vinyl Tmoq Trademark Of QualityMuddy Waters With Little Walter "mississippi Blues" Uk Vogue Ep Mint!!! 78 Vocalion Stripling Brothers Kennedy Rag/new Born Blues 5382 Fiddle & GuitarLou Donaldson - Blues Walk **original Us Blue Note Blp 1593 Deep Groove Mono**Al Campbell Late Night Blues Original Jb Music ~ Killa Roots Lp ~ Nm (near Mint)Jeff Beck Truth (columbia Uk Original Lp 1968) -1/ -1. Psych Blues Prog. Nice!Big Joe Williams: Studio Blues Prestige Bluesville Lp / Willie Dixon Mono Nm78 Rpm Memphis Minnie, Vocalion 03046, E / E- BluesLot Of 500+ Soul, Funk, Jazz, Blues, R&b 45s. Great For Jukebox! (50)Mama Lion Give It Everything I've Got Blues Rock PsychBlues-leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell "that's Tellin' 'em" Vocalion 1483 E+Muddy Waters "mississippi Blues" Uk Ep Rare Mint Stuning London Purple And Gold Huge Rolling Stones Lp Lot Blues Rock British Invasion Psych Rock N RollChicken Shack Accept (blue Horizon Uk Original Lp 1970) A1/ B1. Blues Prog. ExFree - Fire & Water (pink Island Uk Original Lp 1970) A1/ B1 Blues Prog. Near ExSavoy Brown Blue Matter (unboxed Decca Uk Original Lp 1969) Blues Prog. Nice!John Lee Hooker Lp Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive Usa Abc RecordsMance Lipscomb: Trouble In Mind Reprise Lp / Rare Texas Blues Mono Dg78rpm Jazz Blues On Black Swan - Ethel Waters E To E+Albert King "had You Told It Like It Was" R&b Soul Popcorn 45 King Mp378 Rpm Blues Bessie Smith Columbia 3877 E- Aggravatin' Papa / Beale Street MamaRaven Live At The Inferno Blues Rock PrivateSmoke Carry On Your Idea Blues Rock PsychViva-tonal Columbia 2588-d Original Memphis Five-jazz Me Blues E+ Beauty! (1931)John Lee Hooker The Healer Classic Records 45rpm 4 Record Clarity Box Set OopTefteller Lou Donaldson Blues Walk Blue Note 1593 Mono Ny Usa Dg Rvg EarElvis Presley 7 Inch Milkcow Blues Boogie Sun Records 215 You're A HeartbreakerL@@k Ian A. Anderson Book Of Changes Lp B&s Label Fontana Folk Blues Psych Ex+Elvis Presley Milkcow Blues Boogie Rca 20-6382 78 Rpm RockabillyCharley Patton: Founder Of The Delta Blues Yazoo 2lp / 1929-34 Recordings ExFrijid Pink Self-titled Blues PsychR&b Blues Soul 45 Little Esther T'aint Whatcha Say It's Whatcha Do Savoy HearB B King Lp "king Of The Blues" On Crown From 1961 Red VinylGeorgie Fame - Rhythm And Blues At The Flamingo. (1964,u.k.) Albert King - Born Under A Bad Sign Lp - Stax Vg+R&b Blues Soul 45 Little Sonny Orange Pineapple Cherry Blossom Wheel City HearTefteller Oliver Nelson Blues Abstract Truth Impulse 5 Stereo Original E DolphyShakey Jake Good Times Prestige Bluesville Bv 1008 American Blues Rare Album LpAl Smith Lp "hear My Blues" Original" Original Prestige Bluesville Mono NmSavoy Brown Blues Band Shake Down Rare 1967 Uk Vinyl Lp Decca Skl 4883 1w/1w

Recent News: Blues Records

Source: Google News

Matt Schofield Planting Diverse Blues Roots In Ridgefield June 10
The Newtown Bee, May 23rd

A lot of the blues records they had, I didn't even own. My dad had a lot of those original blues recordings, so I was influenced right from the source. I know most all of my friends were switched on by British players who came over here selling it back...Read more

Local History: Bill Haley and the Comets at Vineland High School
Vineland Daily Journal, May 22nd

As legend has it, the term "rock 'n' roll," was first used by disk jockey Alan Freed in the early 1950s to describe the rhythm and blues records played on his Cleveland radio show. Although not the first rock 'n' roll song, "Rock Around the Clock" by...Read more

Young Chicago bluesman Will Tilson defies expectations
what's up, May 20th

I just dived into blues records. I remember buying a box set with a bunch of hits from: Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy, and a bunch of blues legends. But as I progressed I decided to dive even deeper: artists from Memphis and then I was...Read more

BB King's Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 Hits
Billboard, May 15th

1 on Billboard's Most-Played in Juke Box Rhythm & Blues Records chart, and on the Best Selling Retail Rhythm & Blues Records chart. He charted further No. 1s on Billboard's various R&B charts with "You Know I Love You," "Please Love Me" and "You Upset ...Read more

Cash Box Kings mix old-time blues with new topics
Madison.com, May 15th

He took up two instruments he thought he could learn on his own, the harmonica and guitar, and emulated what he heard on the old blues records he loved. He also started to go hear the blues live, and as a teenager got to see the likes of John Lee...Read more

BB King, Defining Bluesman for Generations, Dies at 89
New York Times, May 14th

16, 1925, to Albert and Nora Ella King, sharecroppers in Berclair, Miss., a hamlet outside the small town of Itta Bena in the Mississippi Delta. His memories of the Depression included the sound of sanctified gospel music, the scratch of 78 r.p.m...Read more

Mississippi-born blues belong to all the world
Houston Chronicle, April 29th

Patton is a crucial figure in American music, having made some of the most important early blues records, which still sound remarkable and vital today, even though technology was primitive at the time. We have little biographical information about him...Read more

WMPG Scrambles to Save Thousands of Rare Vinyl Records Damaged When ...
Maine Public Broadcasting, April 24th

WMPG Station Manager Jim Rand with one of the station's rare blues records. Credit Tom Porter / MPBN. By that time, there were several inches of water on the floor of the basement, where WMPG keeps its library of some 20,000 records. Rand says more ...Read more