Muddy was born into a sharecropping family deep in the Mississippi Delta and quickly learned that hard labor all year just to owe money to the bankers was no way to live. Influenced by Son House and Robert Johnson, Muddy took to playing music at local dances and his booming voice, strong personality and innate musical sensibilities soon showed him a way out.
Muddy eventually took the road so many African-Americans did after WWII, up the Mississippi into Chicago for a better, if more urban life. There he found his acoustic guitar and un-amplified voice couldn't make it quite so well in the noise of the big city...so he plugged himself in. Muddy Waters invented electricity!
Forming a band of some of the tightest musicians in the neighborhood like Little Walter Jacobs, Otis Spann and Jimmy Rogers, he began recording for Chess records and the rest is history! In fact, Chess recorded Muddy with backing by Jacobs, Spann and Rogers, then would record an Otis Spann record with backing by Muddy, Jacobs and Rogers, then a Little Walter record with backing by Waters, Spann and Rogers and so on. With Muddy's band, they ended up with any number of hit record makers...and they were all the same band!
Over the years he brought up many other gifted musicians through his band like Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton and "Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin to name just a few, keeping the Muddy Waters heritage alive.
Muddy's signature "Mannish Boy":