The Most Famous Blues Artist, Ranked

Choose the blues artist you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Jun 17, 2024 07:37
Often, finding the most influential blues artists can be a subjective quest, colored by personal taste and regional influences. With a variety of styles and eras, from soul-stirring vocals to groundbreaking guitar techniques, the blues genre offers a rich tapestry of talent. This kind of ranking helps clarify which artists have touched audiences the most profoundly, guiding new listeners toward essential experiences. By participating in this ranking, every fan's opinion contributes to a more accurate reflection of the blues community's collective preferences. This live ranking doesn't just highlight well-known names, but also recognizes the nuances in each artist's contribution to the blues. Voting encourages a vibrant interaction among fans, fostering a deeper connection and understanding of the genre.

Who Is the Most Famous Blues Artist?

  1. 1

    B.B. King

    Known as the 'King of the Blues', B.B. King's expressive playing style and his sophisticated vibrato brought him international fame.
    • Real Name: Riley B. King
    • Signature Guitar: Lucille
  2. 2

    Muddy Waters

    Muddy Waters is often cited as the 'father of modern Chicago blues' and was a major inspiration for the British blues explosion of the 1960s.
    • Real Name: McKinley Morganfield
    • Famous Song: Hoochie Coochie Man
  3. 3

    Robert Johnson

    Robert 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.
    • Myth: Sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads
    • Influential Album: King of the Delta Blues Singers
  4. 4

    John Lee Hooker

    John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He rose to prominence performing an electric guitar-style adaptation of Delta blues.
    • Signature Style: Talking blues
    • Famous Song: Boom Boom
  5. 5

    Stevie Ray Vaughan

    Stevie Ray Vaughan was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, best known as one of the most influential guitarists in the revival of blues in the 1980s.
    • Instrument: Fender Stratocaster
    • Famous Song: Pride and Joy
  6. 6

    Etta James

    Etta James was an American singer who performed in various genres, including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. She is known for her powerful voice and emotive performances.
    • Famous Song: At Last
    • Awards: 6 Grammy Awards
  7. 7

    Albert King

    Albert King was an American blues guitarist and singer who has influenced many other guitarists including Stevie Ray Vaughan. He was one of the 'Three Kings of the Blues Guitar' along with B.B. King and Freddie King.
    • Signature Song: Born Under a Bad Sign
    • Playing Style: Left-handed upside-down
  8. 8

    Buddy Guy

    Buddy Guy is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an exponent of Chicago blues and has influenced eminent guitarists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
    • Awards: 8 Grammy Awards
    • Notable Instrument: Polka dot Stratocaster
  9. 9

    Howlin' Wolf

    Howlin' Wolf was a Chicago blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player, originally from Mississippi. With his booming voice and imposing physical presence, he is one of the best-known Chicago blues artists.
    • Real Name: Chester Arthur Burnett
    • Famous Song: Smokestack Lightnin'
  10. 10

    Freddie King

    Freddie King was an influential American blues guitarist and singer. He is often mentioned as one of 'the Three Kings' of electric blues guitar, along with Albert King and B.B. King.
    • Famous Song: Have You Ever Loved A Woman
    • Influence: Eric Clapton

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous blues artist. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or blues artist is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 214 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each blues artist once every 24 hours. The rank of each blues artist is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


Additional Information

More about the Most Famous Blues Artist

B.B. King
Rank #1 for the most famous blues artist: B.B. King (Source)
Blues music has a rich history. It began in the Deep South of the United States. The roots of blues go back to the end of the 19th century. It grew from African-American spirituals, work songs, and chants. This genre expresses deep emotions. It often tells stories of hardship, love, and loss.

The early blues artists played a key role in shaping this music style. They used simple instruments. Guitars, harmonicas, and pianos were common. These artists performed in juke joints and on street corners. Their music spread through live performances.

Blues music has a unique structure. It usually follows a 12-bar pattern. This pattern repeats throughout the song. The lyrics often use a call-and-response format. This means a singer will sing a line, and an instrument will respond.

The Great Migration in the early 20th century had a big impact on blues music. Many African-Americans moved from the South to northern cities. They brought their music with them. This led to the rise of urban blues. It featured electric guitars and a more polished sound.

Blues music influenced many other genres. Jazz, rock, and R&B all have roots in blues. The impact of blues can be heard in the music of countless artists. Its influence extends beyond the United States. Blues has a global reach.

Blues music has several sub-genres. Delta blues, Chicago blues, and Texas blues are a few examples. Each has its own unique sound and style. Delta blues is raw and acoustic. Chicago blues is electric and urban. Texas blues has a distinct swing.

The legacy of blues music is strong. It continues to inspire new generations of musicians. Blues festivals and clubs keep the tradition alive. The emotion and storytelling in blues music resonate with many people.

Blues music is more than just a genre. It is a reflection of history and culture. It tells the stories of those who lived through tough times. It speaks to the human experience in a profound way. The power of blues music lies in its simplicity and honesty.

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