Muddy waters

Muddy Waters

  • Born

    McKinley Morganfield is said to be born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi in 1915. However, on both his marriage license and musicians' union card he reported his birth year as 1913. But his gravestone lists his birth year as 1915.
  • Period: to

    Muddy Waters

  • Marriage

    Muddy Waters married his wife Mabel Berry.
  • Mabel left him

    Mabel left him
    The exact date isn't known, but three years after their marriage Mabel Berry left him, when his first child was born to Leola Spain (a sixteen year old girl friend of Muddy Waters.
  • Chicago Part 1

    Chicago Part 1
    In 1940, Muddy moved to Chicago for the first time. He played with Silas Green a year later, and then returned to Mississippi.
  • Chicago Part 2

    Chicago Part 2
    In 1943, Muddy headed back to Chicago with the hope of becoming a full-time professional musician. He left behind his second wife Sallie Ann.
  • First Electric Guitar

    First Electric Guitar
    In 1945, Muddy's uncle Joe Grant gave him his first electric guitar which enabled him to be heard above the noisy crowds.
  • First Recording

    First Recording
    In 1946, he recorded some tunes for Mayo Williams at Columbia but they were not released at the time. Later that year he began recording for Aristocrat Records, a newly-formed label run by two brothers, Leonard and Phil Chess.
  • Sunnyland Slim

    Sunnyland Slim
    In 1947, he played guitar with Sunnyland Slim on piano on the cuts "Gypsy Woman" and "Little Anna Mae." These were also shelved.
  • First Big Hits

    First Big Hits
    In 1948 "I Can't Be Satisfied" and "I Feel Like Going Home" became big hits and his popularity in clubs began to take off. Soon after, Aristocrat changed their label name to Chess Records and Muddy's signature tune "Rollin' Stone" also became a smash hit.
  • Shelved

    For the better part of twenty years (since his last big hit in 1956, "I'm Ready") Muddy was put on the back shelf by the Chess label and recorded albums with various "popular" themes: Brass And The Blues, Electric Mud, etc.
  • Death of a wife

    Death of a wife
    Muddy's long-time wife Geneva died of cancer on March 15, 1973. A devastated Muddy was taken to a doctor and told to quit smoking, which he did. Gaining custody of some of his "outside kids", he moved them into his home, eventually buying a new house in Westmont, Illinois. Another teenage daughter turned up while on tour in New Orleans; Big Bill Morganfield was introduced to his Dad after a gig in Florida. Florida was also where Muddy met his future wife, the 19-year-old Marva Jean Brooks.
  • Death

    On April 30, 1983 Muddy Waters died in his sleep from heart failure, at his home in Westmont, Illinois.