#RespectYourElders: Buddy Guy, 92, is an American blues guitarist and singer. Known for his sensational guitar playing and Chicago blues performances, he has influenced many musical legends including Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer and Jimmy Page. A Chicago icon, Guy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
He was born in Lettsworth, Louisiana in 1936. At the age of 7, he gained an interest in music and created a two-string instrument out of a piece of wood and a few hair pins. This “guitar” sits in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today.
In 1957, Guy moved to Chicago. He was living on the streets for some time before being invited to the 708 Club, a blues bar on the South Side of Chicago. There he met Otis Rush, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf who were all recognized blues musicians. They heard Guy play and began opening doors for him.
“When I went to Chicago, I’ll put it like this: I was looking for a dime and I found a quarter,” Guy often says.
Guy became known for his unpredictable, exciting guitar solos — from roaming through the crowds, to playing the guitar behind his back, to picking the strings with his teeth — Guy is a true entertainer that shaped the direction of blues. He is known for hits like “She’s Got the Devil in Her,” “Feels Like Rain,” and “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues.”
Over the next 54 years, Guy put out 33 studio albums, 15 live albums and 23 compilation albums. Throughout that time, he was recognized for his influence in the music industry across the country. In July 2012, he was awarded the 2012 Kennedy Center Honor for his lifetime contribution to American culture. Later that year he published his memoir, “When I Left Home: My Story.”
Guy has owned the blues bar, Legends in Chicago’s South Loop since 1989. It’s covered with guitars donated by famous visitors including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Guy can often be found managing the bar or performing for an audience.
Right now, he’s touring across the United States and Canada, and will be performing in Highland Park on June 14. Will you be there?