This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for July 30, 2017: After Our Daughter’s Wedding

July 30, 2017: birthday: Buddy Guy

It’s the birthday of American blues guitarist Buddy Guy, born George Guy in Lettsworth, Louisiana (1936). He made his own guitar when he was 13, and learned to play it by listening to the records of John Lee Hooker and other blues artists. He soon began playing clubs in Baton Rouge, and moved to Chicago in 1957, when he was 21. That’s where Muddy Waters discovered him, took him under his wing, and got him a gig at the 708 Club. He was popular in the 1960s, both as a solo artist and as a sideman for blues singers like Koko Taylor, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter.

As rock music grew more dominant in the 1970s, Guy’s career waned, until young white guitarists like Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Jeff Beck said they owed their inspiration to Guy and other blues musicians. Vaughn said, "Without Buddy Guy, there would be no Stevie Ray Vaughan," and Clapton said, "Buddy Guy was to me what Elvis was for others." Even though he enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, it bothered Guy that the blues pioneers didn’t get much credit on the radio, even on classic rock stations. He told an interviewer, "If you get Eric Clapton to play a Muddy Waters song, they call it classic, and they will put it on that station, but you’ll never hear Muddy Waters."