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Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy


Buddy Guy, born as George "Buddy" Guy, is an American blues guitarist and singer. He has played with many different bands including the Chicago Playboys, King Biscuit Boy, Muddy Waters’s band and even Clifton Chenier’s Red Hot Louisiana Band. Guy is one of the pioneer guitarists to bring blues to Chicago. One of his most famous performances was the three-song set he did with Muddy Waters in 1977 live at "Long Beach Blues Festival." Another well-known performance by Guy is when he performed with Eric Clapton at the Concert for Legends in 1993.


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Early Career

Guy remembers that when he was eight years old and living in Lettsworth Louisiana, his older brother Willie asked him to play the guitar. Guy began playing at home, which makes Willie’s request even more impressive. However, as a kid at this time, Guy found that the guitar had little appeal to him. At nine years old he was already playing with an R&B band and by twelve he had formed his first band.


Buddy Guy is credited with putting Chicago on the blues map and putting blues on the map of the world. His influence has resulted in many artists like Robert Cray and John Mayer covering one of his songs (both Cray and Mayer releasing versions of "Hard Times.”) His influence on Eric Clapton resulted in Clapton recording his version of "Sweet Home Chicago" as a tribute to Guy.


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Career Highlights

Buddy Guy has released over thirty albums and recorded hundreds of songs. He has sold over four million records worldwide and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1995. He is also known for creating and developing the Chicago Blues Guitar style.


He has influenced many artists including Eric Clapton, who is one of his biggest fans. He is best known for his skill in the blues scale, which he plays with ease and fluidity. He plays it with such rhythm, that it made him one of the best guitarists ever. His music is also characterized by his use of tone color and tone quality. Guy states that the ability to use these two qualities is what makes him sound so unique. Guy’s main influences come from T-Bone Walker, B.B King, Elmore James and Buddy Moss, who taught him how to play guitar.


In 1957 Buddy Guy moved to Chicago, where he would start his career. At this point in his life Guy was a young musician playing in local joints, just trying to get a break. He describes this time period as being “the hardest thing I ever did in my life” and that the only thing he had going for him then was that he was a guitarist. In order to make it in the music business, Guy resorted to purchasing instruments from local pawn shops and selling them when he made enough money from gigs. Eventually, when he got his break in 1962 by playing with Little Walter for four years, Guy was able to make it big in the blues world.


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