Today is the 62nd birthday of Buddy Guy, the blues-guitar great who has
influenced rock-guitar gods such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Guy
began playing in the '50s in Baton Rouge, La., with bandleader John
Tilley. Guy traveled to Chicago in 1957 and performed and hung out with the
city's musical royalty, such as Otis Rush and Muddy Waters.
In 1958, Guy
recorded two singles, "This Is The End" and "Try To Quit You Baby," both of
which were produced by Willie Dixon. After signing with Chess Records, Guy
released "First Time I Met The Blues" and "Broken Hearted Blues," both of which
showcased the shrieking vocals and guitar for which he would become famous.
More blues classics followed for Guy, including "No Lie" and "Leave My Girl
Alone." He also played guitar on records by Waters, Howlin'
Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and others. In 1967, with Vanguard Records, Guy
issued A Man And The Blues, one of his excellent early albums.
Two years later, Guy, harpist Junior Wells and pianist Junior Mance made
records together as Buddy and the Juniors. Guy and Wells recorded with Eric
Clapton in 1970; in 1972, the pair issued Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Play The
Blues. They also toured as a team in the '70s and released a live album, Drinkin'
TNT 'n' Smokin' Dynamite, which was recorded at the 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival.
The '80s was a quiet decade for Guy. The 1991 album Damn Right, I've Got The
Blues was his first album in a decade and won Guy a Grammy. But his reputation
among guitarists had grown over the years and, in the '90s, Guy was set to capitalize on
his legend. He resumed touring to sold-out crowds and began playing frequently on TV
His 1994 set, Slippin' In, was well-received, but Guy also confused fans and
critics by interrupting his concerts with hammy imitations of his protégés and by giving
generally lackadaisical performances. Still, Guy is considered one of the kings of
Chicago blues and his club in the city, Buddy Guy's Legends, is a popular place to hear
some of the best of the genre.
In 1996, Guy released a live album with former "Saturday Night Live" house musician
G.E. Smith, an LP entitled Live -- The Real Deal. His most recent studio effort is
this year's Heavy Love, which features performances by young bluesman Jonny
Lang. Guy is currently touring the United States.
Other birthdays: Paul Anka, 57; David Sanborn, 53; Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond
52; Andy Scott (Sweet), 49; Rat Scabies (the Damned), 41; and Kate Bush, 40.