Best Blues Artists

The Top Ten
1 Robert Johnson Robert Leroy Johnson was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians.

Johnson died in 1938 at the age of 27. The exact circumstances of his death are still unclear today. His death makes him one of the earliest members of the... read more

He has influenced so many people, and many artists have had hits covering his music, definitely top 5 greatest guitarists of all time.

Sure there's more high tech blues artists out there who sound a little better. but he was 30 years ahead of his time! This guy is a 1 man orchestra.

In this modern world there aren't many original blues artists. Most of them are blues rock (its good too).

2 B.B. King Riley B. "B.B." King was an American blues singer, electric guitarist, songwriter, and record producer.

I love this man. He flirted with pop with songs like "Into The Night" "My Lucille" and a few others which don't spring to mind right now, but he never strayed far from Blues; always adding his own uniqueness, great guitar and vocals. He remained faithful to the commitment he made to it. Is he the best? Well, perhaps not THE best but he certainly belongs in a high position on this list.

B.B. king was the four S's... Soul, Skill, Style and he is Smooth!

Purest blues guitar notes ever played by anyone ever.

3 Howlin' Wolf

Had a voice MADE for blues. Scratchy and deep and completely filled with personality. Also a big inspiration to other styles of music such as rock and roll.

Best voice for blues. Underrated and the best blues singer in my opinion. Wolf had a lot of emotion

The man. Took his mentor, Charlie Patten's style to the greatest lengths.

4 Muddy Waters McKinley Morganfield, known by his stage name Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician who is often cited as the "father of modern Chicago blues".

I don't know. It's impossible to choose; they all have something special about them that makes them stand out, whether it be vocals, guitar or harmonica playing... I couldn't even begin to remix this list. Without doubt Muddy is an incredible blues artist. He was one of the first Blues artists I was introduced to and fell in love with but I've heard so so many more amazing artists since. As I really can't decide, Mud gets my vote for sentimental reasons.

Far and away, Muddy Waters is the most influential artist and musician in the Blues genre, making him the most deserving of the #1 spot, in my opinion. Muddy grew up in the Mississippi Delta during the early years of the 20th century. He learned how to play and perform through early blues masters such as Son House and Robert Johnson.

Throughout the late 1930s to the 1950s, Muddy developed his sound and produced masterpiece blues tracks that spurred entire new genres of music, not least of which is Rock & Roll. Some of the most prominent figures in music have credited Muddy with laying the template for their sound. For instance, Chuck Berry was mentored by him in the early years of Chess Records. The Rolling Stones even named their band after one of Waters' most prominent tracks, "Rollin' Stone."

While the late BB King was legendary, no doubt, Muddy was more influential overall when it came to the Blues. A lot could also be said about Robert Johnson being equally influential - even on Muddy himself. However, Johnson's Blues sound was not as developed or far-reaching across the expanse of music. Part of this limitation was certainly due to the time period Johnson lived in and his unexpectedly short life.

Notable songs from Muddy Waters include "Mannish Boy," "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Honey Bee," "I Want to Be Loved," "I Can't Be Satisfied," "I'm Ready," and "Champagne & Reefer." He has an incredible amount of musical gems stashed away beyond this list as well. It can be easy to forget just how incredible Muddy Waters was when it came to playing the Blues. Just watch a couple of his live performances from back in the day, and you'll witness the sheer brilliance that an artist could create within the Blues genre - or any genre, for that matter. I rest my case. Let's vote him to the #1 spot where he belongs!

5 Stevie Ray Vaughan Stephen "Stevie" Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. In spite of a short-lived mainstream career spanning seven years, he is widely considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of music, and one of the most important figures in the revival of blues in the 1980s.

SRV had style, tone, passion, knew when to play and not, soul, a voice that matched his guitar skills and if you ever watched him I swear the man sweated quarter notes!

Stevie Ray Vaughan has a great voice, tone, and plays the guitar well. He rules! Too bad he died at the age of 35.R.I.P. We will miss you.

What can I say? For me SRV is still No. 1! Just listen to this very gifted guitar player! I'm sure you'll agree and will enjoy Stevie's immense talent.

6 Eric Clapton Eric Patrick Clapton is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. He has also been a member of Derek and the Dominos.

Come on people... He's one of the greatest blues player ever...

7 Son House

6th place... What a shame, should be number one. Son house is one of the most influential artist to have ever been born, especially concerning the blues, what this man could do without a guitar, never mind with one is truly out of this world. Go listen to songs by him such as "Grinnin' in your Face" an "John the Revelator" where he simply sings and makes use of clapping. If you are not truly inspired in any sense of the word. The blues is not for you.

What a b/s list! This is the purest form of blues, not this electric guitar nonsense!
Son House was the god of Blues!

Without a doubt #1 he taught the rest what to do and out lived most...and how about ike Zimmerman who taught #1( Robert Johnson) how to play

8 Buddy Guy George "Buddy" Guy is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an exponent of Chicago blues and has influenced guitarists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, John Mayer and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Eric Clapton himself said this guy was the best guitarist ever. He can play one note, and it would sound like the best note you've ever heard. I think he should be placed at 3 and Muddy Waters at 4.

I have seen him and he was 3 feet from me and I fell in love with his music since his first big gig in Orillia Ontario Can.

This is the guy that everybody else learned from. Best. Guitarist. Ever.

9 Lead Belly

Totally unique and powerful vocals with that 12 string guitar adding all you need to back up.

"Midnight Special " puts him onto the top ten alone. And he's good in a knife fight.

Come on one of the greatest writers and influential musicians of all time...

10 Blind Willie Johnson

Although I think Robert Johnson is the best, I'm going to put Willie up some more. This guy's got some REAL blues. He never had it easy, I tell ya.

The old gospel growler has no equal in this field, not even Gary Davis.

The Contenders
11 Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music". Hendrix is consistently ranked on lists of musicians who died too soon.

Good God number 25...

12 Elmore James Elmore James was an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and bandleader. He was known as "King of the Slide Guitar" and was noted for his use of loud amplification and his stirring voice.

Wow! As with Buddy Guy the intense vocal and signature guitar phrase, unsurpassed.

Electric slide blues Icon.

13 Ray Charles Ray Charles Robinson, professionally known as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer.

He should totally be in the top ten.

14 Skip James

This man is the reason I now love the blues. That soft, mournful falsetto, the beautiful guitarwork- songs like Devil Got My Wonan truly are something special

15 Freddie King Freddie King was an American blues guitarist and singer. He has been described as one of the "Three Kings" of electric blues guitar, along with Albert King and B.B. King.

Can't believe no one else has added him!

16 Paul Butterfield

It's not just his incredible way with the harmonica, or his passion for the music; the way he sings those songs that I love...it's more than that... He had / has charisma. Not every talented artist has that.

17 Albert King Albert King Nelson, known professionally as Albert King, was an American blues guitarist and singer, and a major influence in the world of blues guitar playing.

I'm a lefty who plays upside down!

18 Johnny Lee Hooker

If you pass this man without voting but pick a rock star...

Some as good, none better. Just can't find no job!

He is not the best but should be top 10 at least.

19 Willie Dixon

Composed the most influential songs ever who made many guitarists famous.

20 Joe Bonamassa Joe Bonamassa is an American blues rock guitarist, singer and songwriter. When he was only 12 years old, Bonamassa opened for B.B. King. He was born 8th May 1977. He is known to be one of the greatest blues guitarists ever.

Joe is amazingly good, better than Gary Moore and even some higher people on this list. He is not as influential as Robert Johnson or BB King, but he is a technical genius and a great guitarist and singer

Love Joe Bonamassa, beautiful guitar player and a wonderful voice! He puts on a great show, I've seen 4 so far! Slow Gin is my favorite song!

Blues of Desperation, Driving Toward The Daylight, Different Shades Of Blue! WOW! Definitely should be higher in the list!

21 Gary Moore Robert William Gary Moore was a Northern Irish musician, most widely recognised as a singer, songwriter, and virtuoso rock and blues guitarist.
22 Rory Gallagher William Rory Gallagher was an Irish blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader.
23 Lightnin' Hopkins

Lightnin' Hopkins was THE Blues. Criminally underrated. Number one in my book.

Texas blues at it's best, a powerhouse of emotion.

My all time favorite blues man! So under rated.

24 Johnny Winter John Dawson Winter III, known as Johnny Winter, was an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer.

Great player. Overlooked I believe because of brother Edgars one hit wonder. Texas blues begins

25 Kenny Wayne Shepherd

One in a generation for sure.

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