Blues Music

Timeline created by KaylaAdams2005
In Music
  • Period: to

    History of Blues

    References: FAQ's. (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2020, from Yang, M. (2014, May 20). Blues music history timeline:. Retrieved September 13, 2020, from
  • The Late 1800's

    The Late 1800's
    Jim Crow laws mandated state sanctioned segregation of the races
    throughout the southern United States. The
    economic, physical, and emotional strife caused by these laws provided inspiration for much of the lyrical content found in early blues music.
  • Beale Street

    Beale Street
    A musician by the the name W.C. Handy moves to Beale Street in Memphis, TN. Beale Street becomes a major hub for black culture and music which will influence American music for many generations.
  • "The Father of Blues"

    "The Father of Blues"
    One of the first documented blues songs, "Mr.Crump," is written by W.C.Handy.
    W.C. Handy was sometimes referred to as the "father of blues" and the original song was later called "Memphis Blues."
  • Period: to

    The Great Migration

    A Mass migration of African Americans from the South to the North begins and continues through both World Wars. Many African Americans left hoping to escape Jim Crow laws and the horrible racism in the southern United States. They brought their rich musical traditions and blues music with them to other areas of the country. This mass movement of African Americans became known as the Great Migration.
  • First Published Blues Song

    First Published Blues Song
    W.C.Handy's "Memphis Blues," becomes one of the first documents blues songs to be published on paper.
  • "Crazy Blues"

    "Crazy Blues"
    Mamie Smith becomes the first recording by an African American vocalist. It sells over a million copies in the first year, putting blues music on the map. Mamie Smith was important because the popularity of her song resulted in record companies to want to recruit other African-American blues singers.
  • Bessie Smith

    Bessie Smith
    Bessie Smith make their recording debut with the popular song, "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out."
    Bessie Smith would go on to become the most popular female blues singers in the 1920s and 1930s and became to be knows as the “Empress of the Blues”.
  • The Invention of the Electric Guitar

    The Invention of the Electric Guitar
    Earliest electric guitars are designed and produced.
    The electric guitar would become a very important sound of electric blues music.
  • Muddy Waters

    Muddy Waters
    Muddy Waters makes his first recordings of a newer sounds of blues knows as electrified blues. Muddy Waters was one of the first blues musicians to play the electric guitar and was a major influence in the start of the Chicago and Detroit Blues sound. Muddy Waters would become one of the most influential blues artists.
  • Jump Blues

    Jump Blues
    Louis Jordan and the Tympany Five record “GI Jive." The song is about the life of GI Soldiers during World War II, and is an example of a more uptempo, swing form of blues known as Jump Blues.
  • Rhythm and Blues

    Rhythm and Blues
    Billboard creates a “Rhythm and Blues” category. This created the term “Rhythm and Blues” to describe music. Rhythm & Blues, or R&B, replaced “Race” music as a term used to describe music made by African Americans. R&B was initially used to describe jazz and blues but it would later include gospel, soul, and funk music as well.
  • B.B. King Enters the Scene

    B.B. King Enters the Scene
    B.B. King releases the very popular rhythm and blues hit “Three O’Clock Blues.” According to the National Blues Museum, this hit song spends five weeks at number 1 on the Billboard R&B charts and introduced B.B. King to a national audience propelling his career as “King of the Blues”.
  • Elvis Sings The Blues

    Elvis Sings The Blues
    Elvis Presley releases his first record, “That’s All Right”.
    The song “That’s All Right” was a blues
    song originally written by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup in 1946. Elvis Presley's version of the song became very popular and helped introduce the blues to a wider white audience.
  • The British Blues

    The British Blues
    The first U.S. tour by the Rolling Stones marks the invasion of British blues rock bands. These bands were influences by the Delta Blues Sounds of the 1930's and 40's, and songs originally written by Robert Johnson.
  • Blues Hall of Fame

    Blues Hall of Fame
    The Blues Foundation establishes the Blues Hall of Fame and inducts its first class of inductees including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, and Robert Johnson.
  • An Old Song Gets Special Recognition

    An Old Song Gets Special Recognition
    Mamie Smith's song “Crazy Blues” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994.
  • National Blues Museum

    National Blues Museum
    The National Blues Museum opens in St. Louis, Missouri with its mission “to be the Premier Entertainment and Educational Resource Focusing on the Blues as the Foundation of American Music.”