7/26/2017

The Blues, Buddy Guy and The Rolling Stones

By Dena Zocher
Freelance Writer

Guitarist and singer Buddy Guy – frequent Rolling Stones collaborator and tour mate – is considered one of the greatest living blues legends.

Guy is revered among rock guitar players for his innovative technique. His influence can be heard across the spectrum, from straight-up blues-rock to metal, from funk to punk. In fact, Guy ranks in the top 25 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists.1

While Guy is one of the originators of what came to be called Chicago blues, his own signature style calls on traditional blues forms, transforming them through rock, soul and jazz influences. Guy is recognized as a musical pioneer – and a vital musical link between Chicago electric blues pioneers (like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf) and rock ‘n’ roll.

Stone Crazy
The first time he met The Rolling Stones, Guy was working on a couple of singles in the Chess studio. “And right in the middle of my session, these guys walked in and lined up against the wall.”

Chess Records was one of the most famous of the Chicago record labels to feature or promote the blues. Based on Chicago’s South Side, Chess was founded and run by brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, immigrants from Poland.2

“The Chess brothers had the greatest blues players . . .Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter and Sonny Boy [Williamson],” says Guy.

As the band crowded into the tiny voice recording booth, Guy remembers feeling a little irritated at being interrupted in his work. It turns out his friend Muddy Waters had brought The Rolling Stones to the studio for what would be a historic audition – for the band and for the blues.

“I didn’t have the slightest idea that these guys were going to be so famous and say some of the good things they said about us,” says Guy. “After they showed up in Chess, they just took it to another level.”

“I didn’t have the slightest idea that these guys were going to be so famous and say some of the good things they said about us. After they showed up in Chess, they just took it to another level.”
– Buddy Guy

Can't Quit the Blues
Guy likes to give The Stones credit for opening up the doors for blues musicians like his label-mates at Chess. “But The Stones did so much for the music I have dedicated my life to that I just [don’t know] how I would thank them.” Says Guy. “The British musicians – Clapton, The Stones, all of them – boosted everybody’s career. And the good part about it, they didn’t come in and say, ‘The blues – we did it.’ They came in and told the truth.”

The Stones were transformed by the blues, and in turn transformed rock ‘n’ roll. At Exhibitionism – The Rolling Stones you can experience what Buddy Guy is talking about for yourself. Find out more and get tickets.

The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and individuals quoted and should not be construed as a recommendation or as complete. Dena Zocher is not affiliated with Jackson National Life Distributors LLC.

Source: Gallagher, I. (2016). Exhibitionism, the Rolling Stones. New York: DHL Express, iEC Exhibitions.

  1. 100 Greatest Guitarists. (2015, December 18). Retrieved February 27, 2017, from http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-guitarists-20111123
  2. Chess Records. (2017, February 23). Retrieved February 27, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_Records

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