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MusicNotes


Hal Leonard


He’s been called “the poet laureate of the blues” and “the father of modern Chicago blues” for good reason, what with classic songs like “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “Little Red Rooster,” “I’m Ready,” “My Babe,” “Spoonful”, and “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover,” recorded by the likes of fellow Chicago bluesmen Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter, not to mention rockers ranging from Bo Diddley to Bob Dylan, Cream, Jeff Beck, The Doors, Etta James, Adele, Van Morrison, The Kinks, the Grateful Dead, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones.


Indeed, Willie Dixon (born William James “Willie” Dixon on July 1, 1915 in Vicksburg, Miss.) is credited with writing over 500 songs—and serving as a vital link between blues and rock ‘n’ roll. He was exposed to gospel, blues and country & western music in his youth, when he began singing and writing songs. He moved to Chicago in 1936, where he was a boxer for a short time. An upright bass player, he also performed with Chicago recording bands including the Five Breezes, the Four Jumps of Jive and the Big Three Trio. At Chicago’s legendary Chess Records beginning in 1951, he served as a recording artist, session musician, in-house songwriter and staff musician, producing, arranging and playing bass on sessions for roster artists including Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson.


As an artist in his own right, his 1988 album Hidden Charms won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Recording. Meanwhile, “Hoochie Coochie…

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