Guitar Gallows Bio Information - Buddy Guy
George "Buddy" Guy (born July 30, 1936) is an American blues guitarist and singer. Known as an inspiration to Jimi Hendrix, Angus Young, Eric Clapton, Ace Frehley, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and many other guitarists, Guy is considered an important exponent of Chicago blues. He is the father of female rapper Shawnna and also has a son, Michael, known as hip-hop/rap producer IceDrake. He is the older brother of late blues guitarist Phil Guy.
Guy is known for his showmanship, playing his guitar with drumsticks, or strolling into the audience while playing solos. He was ranked thirtieth in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
Born in Lettsworth, Louisiana, Guy grew up in Louisiana learning guitar on a two string diddley bow he made. Later he was given a Harmony acoustic guitar, which he later donated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the early '50s he began performing with bands in Baton Rouge. Soon after moving to Chicago in 1957, Guy fell under the influence of Muddy Waters. In 1958, a competition with West Side guitarists Magic Sam and Otis Rush gave Guy a record contract. Soon afterwards he recorded for Cobra Records. He recorded sessions with Junior Wells for Delmark Records under the pseudonym Friendly Chap in 1965 and 1966.
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Guy’s early career was supposedly held back by both conservative business choices made by his record company (Chess Records) and "the scorn, diminishments and petty subterfuge from a few jealous rivals". Chess, Guy’s record label from 1959 to 1968, refused to record Buddy Guy’s novel style that was similar to his live shows. Leonard Chess (Chess founder and 1987 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee) denounced Guy’s playing as "noise". In the early 1960s, Chess tried recording Guy as a solo artist with R&B ballads, jazz instrumentals, soul and novelty dance tunes, but none were released as singles. Guy’s only Chess album, "Left My Blues in San Francisco", was finally issued in 1967. Most of the songs belong stylistically to the era's soul boom, with orchestrations by Gene Barge and Charlie Stepney. Chess used Guy mainly as a session guitarist to back Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Koko Taylor and others.
Buddy Guy appeared onstage at the April 1969 Supershow at Staines, England that also included Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Jack Bruce, Stephen Stills, Buddy Miles, Glen Campbell, Roland Kirk, and Jon HisemanThe Misunderstood Roland Kirk. Image: 1969 Supershow.
By the late 1960s, Guy's career was in decline. The heavy blues-rock scene he had helped inspire was flourishing without him. For the next two decades, Buddy Guy had to endure the neglect many blues and rock artists faced in their careers: As visionaries and pathfinders they are overlooked while their followers received the fame, recognition and fortune.
Guy's career finally took off during the blues revival period of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was sparked by Clapton's request that Guy be part of the '24 Nights' all-star blues guitar lineup at London's Royal Albert Hall and Guy's subsequent signing with Silvertone Records.
Guy previously served on the Hall of Fame’s nominating committee. Guy has won five Grammy Awards both for his work on his electric and acoustic guitars, and for contemporary and traditional forms of blues music. In 2003, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. This medal is awarded by the President to those who have made extraordinary contributions to the creation, growth and support in the arts in the United States. By 2004, Buddy Guy had also earned 23 W.C. Handy Awards (more than any other artist has received), Billboard magazine's The Century Award (Guy was its second recipient) for “distinguished artistic achievement,” and the title of Greatest Living Electric Blues Guitarist.
Guy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2005 by Eric Clapton and B.B. King. Clapton recalled in 1965, seeing Guy perform in London’s The Marquee Club and was impressed by Guy’s playing, his looks, his star power. He remembered seeing Guy pick the guitar with his teeth and play it over his head—two tricks that later influenced Jimi Hendrix. Guy’s acceptance speech was concise: “If you don’t think you have the blues, just keep living.” immortalized by ex-Billy Joel and Foreigner keyboardist Jeff Jacobs on his recent blues CD "All Blue to Me" with the song "If You Ain't Got the blues [just keep livin']".