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Thu, 07.01.1915

Blues legend Willie Dixon influenced Rock & Roll

Willie Dixon

Willie Dixon was born on this date in 1915. He was an African American blues musician who influenced the emergence of an eclectic blues and rock and roll.

William James Dixon was from Vicksburg, Mississippi. In 1936 he moved to Chicago, won the Illinois Golden Glove amateur heavyweight boxing championship, and began selling some of his songs.  He played the double bass with such groups as the Five Breezes and the Four Jumps of Jive.  From 1946 to 1952, Dixon played blues and harmony with the Big Three Trio. When that group dissolved, he began working full-time for Chess Records, serving as the middleman between artists and company management. Dixon's upbeat blues compositions, which he sold for as little as $30, helped usher in the Chicago blues sound of the 1950s and were standard numbers for young rock groups in the '60s. He was the behind-the-scenes creator of blues classics, notably "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man," which was interpreted by such recording stars as Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers, and Muddy Waters.

His original songs included "Little Red Rooster," "You Shook Me," "Back Door Man," "I Ain't Superstitious," and "I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Among the artists to record his songs were Howlin' Wolf, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, the Yardbirds, and Aerosmith. Dixon later led a band called the Chicago All-Stars and traveled widely throughout the United States and Europe.  He was the founder of the Blues Heaven Foundation, a nonprofit organization to benefit older blues performers and provide scholarships to young musicians.  Willie Dixon died in 1992. His autobiography "I Am the Blues," was published in 1989.

Reference:
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