T-Bone Walker / May 28, 1910 - March 16, 1975

Aaron Thibeaux "T-Bone" Walker was one of the men who brought the electric guitar to the forefront. He played guitar with his teeth during his act and inspired so many (Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, the 3 Kings --BB, Freddy, Albert, Gatemouth Brown, the Allman Bros). He was one of the original "modern blues" artists, electrifying the rural blues and making it more sophisticated with jazz, jump and swing. He also is considered one of the founders of rock & roll.

The Afro-Cherokee blues guitarist got his career going in the '20s around Dallas working for Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charlie Christian and briefly with Cab Calloway. He recorded for Columbia as "Oak Cliff T-Bone". In the mid '30s he moved his family to Los Angeles, where he would play guitar and sing in the big band of Les Hite ("T-Bone Blues" was a hit for the band in 1940). It was in LA where he first plugged in.

He recorded in the '40s for Capitol and Black & White Records, having an enduring hit with "Call It Stormy Monday" in '47. He became a huge star and toured endlessly. In the '50s he worked with Dave Bartholomew at Imperial and also recorded for Atlantic. He was a star at the American Folk Blues Festival in '62. Further recordings followed for Delmark, Bluesway, Flying Dutchman, Polydor, Brunswick and others. A stroke and car accident in his late years took him off the active scene and bronchial pneumonia took him away for good, but he stands as an important architect of modern music.

Tagged: blues, Celebrate Icons, guitar, jazz, red power, rock, T-Bone Walker

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