Brian Jones Built Bridges between the Blues and Rock

Brian Jones served as a bridge between southside Chicago Blues and the young, white audience for Rock and Roll. He founded the Rolling Stones, along with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  Their original niche was to play fairly faithful covers of classic blues songs by Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and other black blues masters from Chicago.  He was the most musically talented member of the Rolling Stones – being able to play many different instruments. Click below for the most complete tribute to Brian on the Web!

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The Blues Gave Birth to Rock and Roll

Muddy WatersHistorians and musicians are clear – the Blues had a direct and significant influence of what has come to be called “Rock and Roll.”  As the father of modern electric blues Muddy Waters proudly stated that “The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock And Roll.”  As I wrote elsewhere, Brian Jones and the Rolling Stones were major interpreters of the Chicago blues (as were other British rockers including: Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Eric Burton, and others.)  This article examines the origins and impacts of the great music we call “The Blues.”  The roots of blues extend back to Africa and found their expression through slaves working the southern plantations for centuries.  After World War II, many musicians headed north to Chicago (as well as Detroit, St. Louis, and Memphis); while others went south to New Orleans.

Click Below to Learn How the Blues were Born and Shaped Rock Music

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Pigpen was Heart and Soul of Grateful Dead

Ron “Pigpen” McKernan was born Sept. 8, 1945 and died from alcohol abuse on March 8, 1973.  His father had been a San Francisco radio DJ who played deep blues, soul and R&B, which greatly influenced his son. Ron had always had a wild streak, but was also known to be a really nice guy.  He could definitely play harmonica and and sing the Blues better than most white kids.  In fact, even growing up in the San Francisco Bay area he proved to be a true rebel, with an attitude and approach to the world that inspired many people (especially wanna-be hoods like me.)  He thrived off of African-American culture – just like his contemporaries Brian JonesJim Morrison, and  Janis Joplin did.  In many ways, Pigpen is the forgotten Grateful Dead co-founder – just like Brian Jones became the forgotten founder of the Rolling Stones.  Both were treated quite badly at the end by their respective band mates who were in their defense young and ambitious at the time.Click Below to learn about his contributions, roots, lifestyle, and unfortunate early death.

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