Perhaps the best know blues singer in all the universe is BB King, who has been satisficing audiences worldwide with his vast talents on his famous guitar “Lucille” to accompany his soulful voice for more than half a century. BB King is also perhaps the most influential of all famous blues singers and all that have followed have taken a bit from this multi-talented yet humble superstar.
The seeds of his talents were sown early in the blues rich delta of Mississippi where he was raised. Life was by no means easy for him as a young man. He was continuosly shuttled back and forth between his mother’s and grandmother’s homes where he spent many long hours working hard as a sharecropper and just as many hours praising the lord in church, as he belted out gospel songs and honed the skills that would later be enjoyed by millions worldwide.
Jimmy Rushing has been called the greatest of all big-band blues singers and many of today’s blues standards are credited to his writing skills, such as “Good Morning Blues”, “Goin ‘to Chicago”, “Boogie Woogie” and many others. The song “Mr. Five-by-Five” was penned in his honor and is said to describe him as being five feet tall and five feet wide.
Marlena Shaw was born in 1942 in New York and given the birth name Marlina Burgess. She was influenced by her uncle and grandmother early in life who exposed her to Gospel music early on and helped to develop her love for music and her seductive and sultry sound.
At the tender age of ten she made her debut before a live audience at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, where she performed with her uncle. She was such a big hit they were invited to perform again the following week. As it turned out her uncle uncle had double-booked the night and the pre-teen went on to perform solo before a stunning and very pleased audience.
Her big break came when she was invited to preform with the Count Basie Orchestra and as they say the rest is history. It is easy to understand the appeal to her versatile style and her smooth as satin vocals. Marlena is still performing today and her voice is still as sweet, seductive and sultry as ever.
Born in Mississippi in 1934 Otis Rush is a well known blues singer and guitarist. His style is unique and distinctive with a slow burning style and the long bent notes he made his own. His style of blues became known as West Side Chicago style and has proven to be an influence on such singers as Eric Clapton, Luther Allison and Magic Sam others others.
Other famous blues singers include but are not limited to:
Bill “Hoss” Allen
Big Bill Broonzy
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown
Robert Lee McCollum
Blind Willie McTell