October 24, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Muddy Waters

The story of mod has to include the blues. The beat bands, the R&B bands, the British blues groups of the sixties, hell even the British Invasion itself, all owe their existence in part to the blues. And no blues man had more of an effect on the sixties mods than the father of Chicago Blues, Muddy Waters.

Waters was a blues man from way back and by the 1950s was fronting his own band for the Chess Label, arguably the greatest blues band of all time. His songs were embraced by blues lovers, and became popular with the mainstream listening public -- a rare feet then or now. He had a string of hits in the '50s like "Hoochie Coochie Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "I'm Ready" and "Mannish Boy". That last track caught the fancy of a young mod singer named Davey Jones and he named his band after it, before later changing his name to David Bowie. Waters was a towering figure of influence for the early mods. The Rolling Stones got their name from him, Eric Clapton claimed Waters as his biggest influence in the sixties, as did The Small Faces, The Animals, and the Yardbirds. Of course it wasn't just the mods that loved Muddy Waters, Chubby Checker got his start because of him, Bo Diddly played with him, and Jimi Hendrix idolized him. Later Led Zeppelin used the song here "You Need Love" as the basis for their track "Whole Lotta Love". But, there's no denying that without Waters the blues based mod scene of the sixties might never have been born.

Muddy Waters -- You Need Love

Muddy Waters -- Mannish Boy