Muddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield on April 4th 1913 in Jug's Corner in Issaquena County, Mississippi. His grandmother Della Grant raised him after his mother died shortly after his birth. His fondness for playing in mud earned him the nickname "Muddy" at an early age. He then changed it to "Muddy Water" and finally "Muddy Waters. He started out on harmonica but by age seventeen he was playing the guitar at parties emulating two blues artists who were extremely popular in the south, Son House and Robert Johnson.
In 1940, Muddy moved to Chicago for the first time.He switched from acoustic to electric guitar in order to be heard over the din of patrons at the clubs he played on Chicago’s South Side. He recorded songs written for him by Willie Dixon ("I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “I’m Ready") and by Waters himself ("Got My Mojo Working,” “Mannish Boy,” “Rollin’ and Tumblin’").
Waters served to launch many prominent blues musicians, many of whom went on to careers in their own right. The list of notable musicians who passed through Waters’ band includes harmonica players “Little Walter” Jacobs, “Big Walter” Horton, Junior Wells and James Cotton; guitarists Jimmy Rogers, Pat Hare, Luther Tucker and Earl Hooker; pianists Memphis Slim, Otis Spann and Pinetop Perkins; and drummers Elgin Evans, Fred Below and Francis Clay.
Waters’ greatest studio recordings were released as singles during the Fifties, and his first album - a collection of singles entitled The Best of Muddy Waters - didn’t appear until 1958. The Sixties found Waters performing to an ever-widening and appreciative audience as the younger generation acquired an insight into the blues. Muddy headed to England in 1958 and shocked audiences (whose only previous exposure to blues had come via the acoustic folk/blues sounds of acts such as Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Big Bill Broonzy with his loud, amplified electric guitar and thunderous beat. In 1960, Waters performed a set at the Newport Folk Festival, released in the same year as Muddy Waters at Newport.
By 1972 Waters accompanied by rock musicians such as Mike Bloomfield and Eric Clapton in The London Muddy Waters Sessions.
Muddy Waters died of a heart attack in 1983. He was 68 years old. His influence is tremendous, over a variety of music genres: blues, rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, hard rock, folk, jazz, and country. He influenced such greats as The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Canned Heat, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Paul Rodgers.