Handy sees a "ragged loose-jointed black"
playing the guitar in a Tutwiler, Mississippi
railroad station. The unknown guitarist
used a knife as a slide to play the guitar.
Handy remarked "The event was unforgettable.
His song, too, struck me instantly.
Goin' where the Southern cross the
first appearance of the word 'blues' in
a piece of music: "The Dallas Blues" by
Hart Wand. The story goes that a black
porter overheard Hart playing his violin
and the porter remarked "That give me
the blues to go back to Dallas."
Smith records "Crazy Blues", the first
of the Race Records. Race Records,
was the term used by recording companies
at the time for recordings of black artists
with the target audience of black Americans.
born Blind Lemon Jefferson records in
Chicago. The success of these recordings
revolutionized Race Records, which
had previously relied on female band vocalists
with established reputations.
born Blind Willie Johnson records in Dallas,
TX. These and all of his subsequent recordings
blurred the lines between blues and gospel
Native John Hurt, better known as Mississippi
John Hurt, records for Okeh records in
New York and Memphis.
Born Tampa Red records "It's Tight Like
That". This song is considered a predecessor
to urban blues and spurned numerous imitators
of the song and the style.
Born Charlie Patton records 14 songs for
Paramount Records in Richmond, Indiana.
Charlie Patton would influence countless
blues guitarists and musicians, including
Son House and Robert Johnson.
Lemon Jefferson dies in Chicago. Both
his music and his success had a tremendous
impact blues musicians across the Southern
born Huddie Ledbetter, better known as
Leadbelly, is recorded by John and Alan
Lomax at the Louisiana State Penitentiary
at Angola. Leadbelly, not exclusively
a blues artist, introduced the blues to
a wider audience. He was the first folk
blues artist to present his music in concert
to white audiences outside the South.
Patton dies near Holly Ridge, Mississippi.
He is considered by some to be the most
influential blues musician on his contemporaries.
Directly influencing Son House, Robert
Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Bukka White, Big
Joe Williams, Furry Lewis and Tommy Johnson,
to name a few.
born Robert Johnson records for the first
time in San Antonio, Texas.
Johnson dies near Greenwood, Mississippi
at age 26. The cause of his death is widely
disputed, but it is believed that he was
murdered by a jealous husband who poisoned
Robert's Whiskey. Some consider Robert
Johnson the most influential of early
blues musicians and his direct influence
is still felt today.
Lomax records McKinley Morganfield, better
known as Muddy Waters, for the Library
of Congress on Stovall's plantation near
Rice Miller, aka Sonny Boy Williamson
(#2), begins performing live on the radio
(KFFA) in Helena, Arkansas. 'The King
Biscuit Hour' was fairly popular and made
Sonny Boy a Delta radio star.
Waters boards a train from Clarksdale,
Mississippi to Chicago, Illinois. This
trip is symbolically viewed as the first
step in rural country blues' transformation
into urban blues.
Born Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup records "That's
Alright Mama" for Blue Bird records in
Presley records Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup's
"That's Alright Mama" for Sun Records
in Memphis, TN. This record launched Elvis'
career and a musical style called Rock
Records releases selections of Robert
Johnson's recordings on LP. This release
was critical in the popularity of blues
in England in years to come.
John Hurt, assumed to be deceased by many,
is found living in Avalon, Mississippi.
Still playing and singing his folk-blues
in the same manner as he did in 1928 ,
he is asked to tour. Hurt, the first of
the 'rediscovered' early blues artists,
was a big success on the coffeehouse and
folk festival circuit until his death
Clapton and the Yardbirds record John
Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" among other blues
standards in Surrey, England. The blues
begins to catch on in England and Europe.