You will hear a musician say that “I want to play a guitar like so and so.” This simply means that musicians influence their counterparts, especially those who come after them. In blues, there are those artists, who popped up in the 1920s and 1930s, and they were a big influence to later musicians. Whether old or young, these musicians have gone a long way in spawning the vibrant blues genre enjoyed all over the world. While the list of most influential blues musicians may be subjective, it is almost impossible to ignore some names.

BB King

Ask those who know a thing about blues and they will tell you that the genre is best personified by this music icon. Coming third on the Rolling Stones’ list of all-time greatest guitarists, his reputation and influence in the blues circles are not an overstatement. BB King performed and recorded for more than 60 years, and his music style played a big role in shaping the blues artists who came after him. He may have died but his influence is still felt- tune to BB King’s Bluesville, a powerful XM radio station and you will feel his influence.

Robert Johnson

Aided by his exceptional singing, performing, and songwriting skills, Robert became one of those first artists to gain notoriety. He is ranked the 5th greatest guitarist of all time, and not even his use of primitive music equipment could stop him from achieving this deserved reputation. Eric Clapton, another great guitarist, considered Robert Johnson the most important musician to ever grace the blues genre. For an artist who passed on more than half a century ago, at only 27, Robert indeed cast a long shadow.

Muddy Waters

Born McKinley Morganfield, Muddy Waters was among the very first blues musicians to use amplified electric guitars. His 1958 trip to England impacted heavily on many artists, including the Rolling Stones, who would later become a cog in the “British Invasion” machine. In particular, blues-rock is heavily indebted to Muddy. His sons, Mud Morganfield and Big Bill Morganfield are among the musicians who carried on Muddy Water’s legacy.

Buddy Guy

Talk of one of the greatest Chicago blues proponents, and Buddy Guy’s name will be mentioned. Once a Chess Records guitarist, this guy is a big influence. He formed a partnership with Junior Well, a harmonica legend, influencing many blues artists of the 1960s, and beyond, such as Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton, who also become a big influence later on.