Muddy Waters, whose birth name was McKinley Morganfield, grew up on a plantation in Mississippi. He was a proficient musician by his adolescence and played guitar at local parties. In chance of fate, Alan Lomax, who had received a grant to travel the countryside and record traditional Southern music for the Library of Congress, recorded Waters in Mississippi in 1941 and returned a year later to continue recording.
In 1943, Waters moved to Chicago and became a full-time musician, eventually signing to Chess Records and releasing a string of hits during the late ‘40s and 1950s, such as “Rolling Stone,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” and “Mannish Boy.”
Waters' music during this period is best known as Chicago Blues. However, rhythmically and structurally it’s essentially Delta Blues. The primary difference between the two genres is that the instruments, especially the guitar and harmonica, were electrified, giving the genre a powerful, unique, and exciting sound that was a direct precursor to rock & roll. In fact, some argue that when the blues was electrified, rock & roll was created, thus cementing Waters' legacy as a pillar of modern music.