6 facts about blues music
You probably associate blues music with its origins in the American south, but did you know that three different types of blues styles have evolved over time? Learn more about the humble beginnings of blues music and the people who made it famous with our selection of facts below:
- Three famous musicians – Ma Rainey, Jelly Roll Morton, and W.C. Handy – told their own stories about their first encounter with the blues music. Each credits the poor and marginalized with the origins of the genre.
- Ma Rainey and
Bessie Smith were two of the most famous “blues divas” or vaudeville blues singers. They traveled with their bands, performing for audiences
around the country.
- In 1920, Fred Hagar recorded the first blues song: Mamie Smith singing “Crazy Love” aka “Crazy Blues.” It sold 75,000 copies in the first month.
- Country or downhome blues is usually seen as the stereotypical blues
performance: male singers performing solo with only their guitars for
accompaniment. Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson, among others, represented
- As African
Americans left the rural south for northern cities, music styles changed to
reflect the new experience, known as urban blues.
B. B. King is a renowned performer of this category.
- During the 1960s,
musicians in the UK began to replicate the original style of African American
blues, marking the beginning of British soul music.
Image credit: “B.B. King in concert in France (1989)” by Roland Godefroy, CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.