Buddy Guy

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Artist / Musician
Artist / Performer

Buddy Guy (1936–)

Buddy Guy is an American musician noted for his slashing, stuttering guitar riffs and passionate vocals.  Buddy Guy influenced generations of guitarists including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Eric Clapton once described him as “the best guitar player alive.”

Buddy Guy was born in Lettsworth, LA to a family of sharecroppers.  Buddy built his first guitar at age thirteen and taught himself to play by reproducing the sounds of bluesmen he heard on the radio.

After playing in clubs in and around Baton Rouge, he traveled to Chicago in 1957 where he was discovered by Muddy Waters who helped him find work at the 708 Club where he met B.B. King and Willie Dixon.  In 1958 Buddy entered a competition with West Side guitarists Magic Sam and Otis Rush which earned him a record contract with Cobra Records.

In 1959 Buddy signed with Chess Records where he would record through 1968.  Chess mainly used Buddy as a session player backing artists such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Koko Taylor, and others.  Chess released several hits by Buddy including “Leave My Girl Alone,” and “Stone Crazy.”  It was during this time that Buddy would record with Junior Wells under the pseudonym Friendly Chap on Wells’ classic Hoodoo Man Blues album for Delmark Records.

Guy’s career was revived during the blues revival of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, sparked by Eric Clapton’s request he be part of the “24 Nights”all-star blues guitar lineup at London’s Royal Albert Hall.  Guy subsequently signed with Silvertone Records and recorded his mainstream breakthrough album Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues (1991) with Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.  He also recorded the albums Feels Like Rain (1993) and Slippin’ In (1994).

Buddy Guy has won 8 Grammy Awards and in 2003 was presented with the National Medal of Arts awarded by the President of the United States.  Buddy Guy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2005.