Blues Harmonica Legend
Charlie Musselwhite – A Living Legend of the Blues
7-Time Grammy Nominee
27-Time Blues Music Award Winner
8-Time Living Blues Award Winner
2010 Blues Hall of Fame Inductee
Charlie Musselwhite is one of the great harmonica players of his generation, and is one of the most celebrated bluesmen alive. A solo artist since 1966, Musselwhite has released 28 records and has been a high-profile guest artist on albums by Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Cyndi Lauper, Gov’t Mule, INXS, Mickey Hart, George Thorogood and personal friend and best man at his wedding John Lee Hooker.
Born in Mississippi, Musselwhite grew up in Memphis, where he first got a taste for electric blues. Upon moving to Chicago, he took a number of odd jobs that put him in close proximity of the clubs and bars of the South side. It was here that he met people like Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf and others that would help him shape his sound. Upon releasing his debut album on Elektra Records in 1966, he took the opportunity to relocate to San Francisco. As one of few bluesmen in a city teeming with different sounds, Musselwhite’s acclaim grew, as did his touring schedule.
Signing with Alligator Records in 1990 revitalized Musselwhite’s career, as did an appearance in the Blues Brothers 2000 film. Charlie reportedly was the original inspiration behind Dan Aykroyd’s character, and he joined B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Eric Clapton, Koko Taylor, Jimmie Vaughan, Dr. John and Jack DeJohnette in the band for the second film. Musselwhite’s latest recording, Get Up!, is a collaboration with Ben Harper.
Facts About Charlie Musselwhite
- Musselwhite has released over 20 albums, as well as guesting on albums by many other musicians, such as Bonnie Raitt‘s Longing in Their Hearts and The Blind Boys of Alabama‘s Spirit of the Century, both winners of Grammy awards. He also appeared on Tom Waits‘ Mule Variations and INXS‘ Suicide Blonde. He himself has won 14 W. C. Handy Awards and six Grammy nominations, as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Monterey Blues Festival and the San Javier Jazz Festival in San Javier, Spain, and the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
- Musselwhite, as with many of his peers, fell into alcoholism, and by his own admission, he had never been on stage sober until after he stopped drinking entirely in 1987.
- In 1990 Musselwhite signed with Alligator Records, a step that led to a resurgence of his career.
- In 1998, Musselwhite appeared in the film Blues Brothers 2000. He provided the harmonica position in the super-ensemble The Louisiana Gator Boys, which also featured many other rhythm and blues legends such as B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Eric Clapton, Koko Taylor, Jimmie Vaughan, Dr. John, and Jack DeJohnette.
- Musselwhite plays on Tom Waits‘ 1999 album Mule Variations. He can be heard at the beginning of the song “Chocolate Jesus” saying “I love it”. Waits has mentioned that he feels this is his favorite part of the song.
- In 2002, he featured on the Bo Diddley tribute album Hey Bo Diddley – A Tribute!, performing the song “Hey Bo Diddley“.
- Charlie Musselwhite was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010. The same year, he appeared on the JW-Jones recording “Midnight Memphis Sun” along with Hubert Sumlin
- In 2012, Musselwhite teamed up with Ben Harper to record the album Get Up!, which was released in January of 2013.