10 Best Blues Guitar Songs
Blues is a musical genre that originated in the African-American communities of the South and these are the 10 best blues guitar songs of this distinctive musical form. Emerging in the late nineteenth century, this musical style was influential in jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. Though the lyrics often spoke of troubles in society, you will love singing along with these classics.
- "Memphis Blues" by W.C. Handy Widely regarded as the Father of Blues, Handy captured the essence of the blues movement with this composition from 1909. Originally, this tune was named "Boss Crump" after a mayoral candidate in Memphis. Handy later rewrote the song, renamed it and "Memphis Blues" was released in 1912.
- "Dust My Broom" by Elmore James A surprise rhythm and blues hit in 1952, the origin of this song has had its share of controversy. James’ version of this tune was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. Many artists over the years have covered this song from The Yardbirds to ZZ Top.
- "Stormy Monday" by T-Bone Walker This song was first recorded in 1947 and has recently been added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress. This is a song that anyone can relate to with its easily identifiable lyrics. Walker inspired such greats as Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Chuck Berry.
- "The Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King This song was written and originally recorded by Roy Hawkins in 1951 and heard by King when he was a Memphis radio DJ. King, on the suggestion of his producer, added strings to the recording and this song became B.B. King’s biggest hit. Although he didn’t have much success on the charts, King was a very influential figure and a blues legend.
- "Born Under a Bad Sign" by Albert King This song was written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell, then recorded by Albert King in 1967. This was the title track for King’s "Born Under a Bad Sign" album, which is regarded by many as one of the most popular and influential blues albums of the 1960s.
- "Hellhound on My Trail" by Robert Johnson Released in 1937, this was an original song by Johnson and was recorded in his last recording session for RCA. The legend surrounding Johnson and this song is that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his musical talent. This song captures imagery of a sinner being chased by the hounds of hell.
- "It Serves You Right to Suffer" by John Lee Hooker Appearing on the only album Hooker released on the jazz label for ABC Records, this song was released in 1966. Hooker had a distinctive playing style of changing the tempo of a song to fit the mood, which always made it difficult to pair him with backup musicians.
- "I Don’t Play No Rock and Roll" by Mississippi Fred McDowell Released in 1969, this was the first album McDowell featured his electric guitar. Although he declared he didn’t play rock and roll, he was influential to many rock artists such as The Rolling Stones and Bonnie Raitt.
- "A Man and the Blues" by Buddy Guy A pioneer of Chicago blues and ranked 30th in the "Rolling Stone" magazine list of 100 Greatest Guitarist of all time. This classic was released in 1968 under the Vanguard recording label.
- "How Many More Years" by Howlin’ Wolf Wolf’s first and biggest hit was released in 1951 where it rose to number four on the charts. "Rolling Stone" named Wolf number 51 on their 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list. He is also recognized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame.