10 Best Harmonica Musicians

Want to learn about top 10 harmonica musicians? The top 10 harmonica musicians awed millions in the American country blues genre. Harmonica musicians have risen to fame through their music, skill, and cultural awareness.

  1. Jaybird Coleman (1896-1950) is a top 10 harmonica blues country player. One of America’s early pioneers of harmonious harmonica blues, he kicked off his career in the 1930s and although after a short stint and a few released songs, he faded into obscurity playing harmonica for the public on the streets. However efforts are being made to recuperate much of his lost music.
  2. Sugar Blue née James Whiting (1949-present) is considered one of the top 10 best harmonica musicians of all time. Sugar Blue began his harmonica career when his aunt presented him with a harmonica as a gift. And the rest as they say is history. Blue started blowing the first tunes of his career on street corners until 1975 when he leagued with other harmonica virtuosos such as Bob Dylan. In the 1980s he teamed up with the Rolling Stones and cut a world-renowned album.
  3. George “Harmonica” Smith née Allen George Smith (1924-1983) is a top 10 harmonica musician who rose to harmonica greatness around the 1950s when he was inducted into the Muddy Waters band. A multitalented soul musician, he also played and taught the guitar. A big influence in his music is Little Walter, renowned harmonica player. Smith was famed as in America as "the master of the chromatic blues harmonica."
  4. Little Walter    Marion Walter Jacobs (1930-1968) is an amazing top 10 harmonica musician who stands out in the blues genre.Collaborating with blues musicians such as Sunnyland Slim, Honeyboy Edwards, and Sonny Boy Williamson II, Walters rose to fame when he joined the Muddy Waters band in 1948. He credits his style to another harmonica great Sonny Boy Williamson I (John Lee Williamson).
  5. Sonny Boy Williamson née John Lee Curtis Williamson (1914-1948) is among the top 10 harmonica musicians of all time. Williams concentrated and preened his harmonica talent based on the American country blues genre. In addition, he mixed elements of the country blues style with the urban blues; this expertise earned him the name of “the father of modern blues harp.”
  6. Slim Harpo née James Moore (1924-1970) rates among the top 10 harmonica musicians of all time. Harpo is known for his versatility in music where he mastered over 5 subcategories of the blues. Beginning as a guitarist, Harpo branched off into harmonica playing and gained such popularity that his name, “slim harp,” the alternative title for the harmonica, demonstrates his union with the instrument.
  7. Big Walter Horton (1918-1981) ranks among the top 10 harmonica musicians, harmonizing with the harmonica for over fifty years. Horton was a self-taught harmonica musician; at the tender age of 5 he initiated himself into blues music. He also played more than 5 subgenres of blues, stroking both the acoustic and amplified harmonica alongside the likes of Ma Rainey.
  8. George Mojo Buford, born 1929, rocked audiences to his smooth-talking harmonica and rose to a top 10 popular harmonica musician. Buford started playing the harmonica at 12. At 25 he raised up a music band called The Savage Boys which later changed its name to Muddy Waters. After a few years with Muddy Waters, Buford launched out on his own. The name “Mojo” stuck on him because of his hit single “Got My Mojo Working.”
  9. Kim Wilson, born 1951, is the last on the top 10 list of harmonica musicians. George Harmonica Smith, Slim Harpo, and Lazy Lester all instructed him in perfecting his harmonica skills. He is now the lead singer and harmonica player for his own bands, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and The Kim Wilson Blues Revue. Wilson has exported American blues worldwide.
  10. Lazy Lester née Leslie Johnson, born 1933, is a top 10 harmonica musician, sporting a music career which spans more than fifty years. Lester has played alongside musical harmonica legends such as Slim Harpo and Lightnin’ Slim. A well-rounded musician, Lester also has done vocal and guitar performances and has composed blues songs.


Big Walter Horton

Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame

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