B.B. King

B.B. King https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui21On1RWjA B.B. King was born Riley B. King on the 16th of September, 1925 on a cotton plantation near Itta Beana, Mississippi. At a young age B.B. King sang in a church gospel choir lead by a minister who played the guitar, this same minister taught B.B. King his first few chords starting him on his journey to becoming a blues guitar great. After hearing a radio show during a break at the plantation playing the Mississippi delta blues, B.B. decided he wanted to become a radio musician. […]

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Albert King

Albert King https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Py37G9qsfY Albert King was born Albert King Nelson on a cotton plantation in Indianola, Mississippi on the 25th of April, 1923. One of 13 children, Albert spent his childhood singing with a family gospel group at a church where his father played guitar. Albert began his professional career with a band called The Groove Boys, he also held a brief stint as a drummer for Jimmy Reed’s band playing on several early Jimmy Reed recordings. Drawing influences from blues musicians like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lonnie Johnson, Albert established the electric guitar as his signature instrument. Throughout his career Albert played a Gibson Flying V called “Lucy”, he played right handed guitars upside down in left handed position. […]

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Freddie King

Freddie King https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua3s1W7XF-8 Freddie King was born Fred King in Gilmer, Texas on the 3rd of September, 1934. Freddie began learning the guitar at the tender age of 6 from his Mother and Uncle. When Freddie was in his teens he and his family relocated from Texas to the South Side of Chicago. It’s here that Freddie would sneak into infamous South Side nightclubs to hear blues music performed by the likes of T-Bone Walker, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Muddy Waters and Sunny Boy Williamson. […]

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Pat Hare

Pat Hare https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAqTrbuxCRI Pat Hare was born Auburn Hare in Cherry Valley, Arkansas on the 20th of December, 1930. Pat recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, playing as a sideman for James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bobby Bland and other blues artists. In 1951 Pat Joined a blues band led by Junior Parker called Little Junior’s Blue Flames. It’s with this group he recorded the guitar for the song “Love My Baby”, a track cited as a prime influence and inspiration for the rockabilly movement. It’s rumoured that “Love My Baby” was the inspiration for Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore’s 1955 song “Mystery Train”. […]

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T-Bone Walker

T-Bone Walker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQEEWC4ZxYQ T-Bone walker was born Aaron Thibeaux Walker in Linden, Texas, on the 28th of May, 1910. T-Bone was of African American and Cherokee descent and his parents where both musicians. At a young age his stepfather taught him to play the guitar, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, and piano. T-Bone’s parents where family friends with Blind Lemon Jefferson and by the age of 15, T-Bone was a professional musician on the blues circuit, touring as Blind Lemon Jefferson’s protege. […]

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Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxNzZunmh-Q Buddy Guy was born George Guy in Letsworth, Louisiana, on the 30th of July, 1936. Like so many other blues greats, Buddy learned the basics of guitar playing from a home made 2 strings diddley bow, he later graduated to an acoustic guitar his Father bought him for $2. It wasn’t until Buddy saw a performance of Guitar Slim that he became infatuated with the electric guitar. Buddy began his musical career performing in groups in and around Baton Rouge. […]

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Albert Collins

Albert Collins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrfOpXApxYQ Albert Collins was born in Leona, Texas, on the 1st of October, 1933. Albert was first introduced to the guitar by his cousin, blues legend Lightnin’ Hopkins who often played for him and his family. Albert Collins originally began learning piano at a young age, but during times when his teacher was absent he would borrow a guitar from his cousin Willow Young and receive guitar lessons from him, it was his cousin who also taught him the unique tuning that he would utilise his entire career. […]

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Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5QKpsVzndc Muddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield in Issaquena County,  Mississippi, on the 30th of April, 1913. Muddy earned his nickname from his Grandmother who raised him after his Mother died not long after he was born. She called him “Muddy” because he loved to play in the mud of the nearby creek where they lived. Muddy began learning the harmonica then later turned his attention to the guitar. By the time he was 17, Muddy was performing at local parties playing the styles of the blues greats Robert Johnson and Son House. […]

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John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SxSa6a6am4 John Lee Hooker was born was in Coahoma County, Mississippi, on the 22nd of August, 1917. The youngest of 11 other siblings and the son of a Baptist preacher, John and the rest of his brothers and sisters where only allowed to listen to spiritual music. After his parents separated in 1921 John’s Mother remarried a local blues singer and guitar player called William Moore. […]

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Howlin’ Wolf

Howlin’ Wolf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LFjHo7Cdrw Howlin’ Wolf was born Chester Arthur Burnett in White Station, Mississippi, on the 10th of June, 1910. Even as a young man he stood well over 6 feet and weighed a hulking 125kg, his intimidating size earned him the nicknames “Big Foot Chester” and “Bull Cow”. He claimed to have received his famous name from his Grandfather who told him stories of wild wolves that roamed the country side, he warned him that if he misbehaved “the howlin’ wolf’s” would eat him. […]

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Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgShIx49n_w Robert Johnson was born Robert Leroy Johnson in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, on the 8th of May, 1911. When he was only young, Robert’s Father was forced to leave town by a mob following several disputes with white landowners. His Mother raised him for the next two years then sent him to live with his Father in Memphis. […]

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Elmore James

Elmore James https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKo80b-QfK0 Elmore James was born Elmore Brooks in Richland, Holmes County, Mississippi on the 27th of January, 1918. Elmore learned the basics of blues and slide guitar plying at the age of 12 on a single string instrument strung against a shack wall called a “Jitterbug” or “Diddley Bow”. Elmore began his musical career in his teens playing at local dances under such names as Joe Willie James and Cleanhead. […]

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Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix https://youtu.be/hvv–UkFfV8 Jimi Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix in Seattle, Washington on the 27th of November 1942. In 1946, Jimi had his name changed from Johnny Allen Hendrix to James Marshall Hendrix to pay respect to his Father. Jimi was of African American and Cherokee descent and developed a habit of carrying a broom with him to imitate a guitar during primary school. This habit caught the attention of the school social worker who requested funding for a guitar for Jimi who came from a poor household and was underprivileged, but her request was denied. […]

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Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIHabvURnpk Jimmy Page was born James Patrick Page, Jr. in Heston, Middlesex, on the 9th of January 1944. After moving house in 1952 Jimmy came across his first guitar, Jimmy has been quoted saying that he wasn’t sure whether the guitar had been left in the house by the previous tenants or whether it belonged to a family friend, either way Jimmy began playing it, learning by ear and receiving guitar lessons in a neighbouring town and from fellow school mates who also played. […]

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Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=becWr0vc6cA Eric Clapton was born Eric Patrick Clapton in Ripley, Surrey on the 30th of March 1945. The son of 16 year old Patricia Molly Clapton and 25 year old Canadian soldier Edward Walter Fryer, Eric was raised by his Grandparents after his Father shipped off to war then returned to Canada. During this time Eric believed that his Grandparents were his Mother and Father and his young biological Mother was his older sister. His Mother eventually remarried another Canadian soldier and moved to Germany, leaving Eric with his Grandparents. […]

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Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyyhm1D7zlI Jeff Beck was born Geoffrey Arnold Beck in Wallington, London Borough of Sutton on the 24th of June 1944. At the age of 10 Jeff learned to sing in a school choir, in his teens Jeff began learning the guitar on one he borrowed from a friend. After falling in love with the instrument Jeff attempted on several different occasions to build his own guitar using cigar boxes for the body, a fence post for the neck and painted on frets. […]

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Keith Richards

Keith Richards https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy_RKazhtkI Keith Richards was born in Dartford, Kent on the 18th of December, 1943. Growing up an only child, Keith’s Grandfather Augustus Theodore Dupree, affectionately known as “Gus” was a jazz guitarist. When Keith would visit his Grandfather his attention would be drawn to his grandfather’s guitar that was kept on top of the upright piano. […]

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Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend Pete Townshend was born Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend in Chiswick, London, on the 19th of May 1945. Pete came from a musical family, his Mother was an orchestral singer and his Father was a professional saxophonist with “The Squadronaires” a dance band for The Royal Airforce. On a seaside trip Pete was taken to see “Rock Around The Clock” beginning an obsession with Rock N Roll music. Soon after he went to see “Rock Around The Clock” singer Bill Haley perform live in London, the event was was Pete’s first ever concert experience. […]

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David Gilmour

David Gilmour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi7cuAjArRs David Gilmour was born David Jon Gilmour in Cambridge, on the 6th of March, 1946. David’s parents always encouraged his interest in music, in 1954 David bought “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Hayley, he also cites Elvis Presley’s iconic track “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Bye Bye Love” by “The Everly Brothers” as early inspiration to pick up the guitar David borrowed a guitar from one of his neighbours that he never returned. He began to take guitar lessons from an instructional guitar book and record by Pete Seeger. […]

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Ritchie Blackmore

Ritchie Blackmore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wndOOJ_Q88c Ritchie Blackmore was born Richard Hugh Blackmore in weston-super-Mare, Somerset, on the 14th of April 1945. At the age of 11 Ritchie received his first guitar, he took classical guitar lessons for 12 months at the insistence of his Father who permitted Ritchie to own a guitar provided he learned to play it properly. Ritchie was initially drawn to the guitar for it’s aesthetic beauty, he also wanted to play like english rock n roll star Tommy Steele. […]

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Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWiKdFqnIzw Tony Iommi was born Anthony Frank Iommi in Handsworth, Birmingham, on the 19th of February, 1948. Toni is of Italian descent, his Mother’s family were well known vineyard owners in Italy. When he was young Toni went to Birchfield Road School where he met soon to become Black Sabbath lead singer John “Ozzy” Osbourne who was a grade behind him. While still young Toni fell and cut his upper lip resulting in a permanent scar and the hurtful schoolyard nickname “scarface”. Toni would later grow his signature moustache in order to hide it. […]

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Angus Young

Angus Young https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJLRFQOra7U Angus Young was born Angus McKinnon Young in Cranhill, Glascow, on the 31st of March 1955. In 1963 Angus moved from Scotland to Sydney in Australia with his Mother and Father, older brothers Malcolm and George and his older sister Margaret. His older brother Alex stayed in Scotland and formed the London group “Grapefruit”. Angus started learning on an inexpensive acoustic guitar bought by his Mother, before that he played a banjo restrung to accommodate six strings. Angus bought his very first 1967 Gibson SG in 1970 from a local music shop not far from his home. He played the guitar until it developed wood rot and the neck began to seriously warp. […]

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Brian May

Brian May https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8Rfb1Jtmic Brian May was born Brian Harold May in Hampton, Middlesex, on the 19th of July 1947. During his time at school Brian formed a band called “1984” after the novel by George Orwell with bass guitar player and singer Tim Staffell. In 1968 Brian formed the group “Smile” with fellow “1984” member Tim Staffell on vocals and bass guitar and soon to become “Queen” drummer Roger Taylor. […]

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Joe Perry

Joe Perry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxXI2BPRzaA Joe Perry was born Anthony Joseph Perry in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on the 10th of September, 1950. Joe is of Portuguese descent on his Father’s side and Italian descent on his Mother’s side. Joe cites “The Beatles” as his earliest musical influences and recalls their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” as a powerful event in the development of his musical ambitions. […]

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Ace Frehley

Ace Frehley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK9W5_6l2K4 Ace Frehley was born Paul Daniel Frehley in The Bronx, New York City, New York, on the 27th of April 1951. Ace came from a musical family, his Mother and Father were both pianists, his brother and sister both play piano and guitar, his brother Charles is an accomplished classical guitarist. In 1964 Ace received an electric guitar for Christmas and began to practice obsessively. Ace cites guitar heroes such as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Albert Lee and B.B. King as prominent figures in the development of his guitar playing ability as well as bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin. […]

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Michael Schenker

Michael Schenker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwe7ZEJ8QrY Michael Schenker was born Michael Willy Schenker in Sarstedt, West Germany, on the 10th of January 1955. Michael Schenker began learning the guitar at a young age playing his older brother Ruldoph’s Gibson Flying V. Rudolph would go to work for the day and during his absence Michael would play his guitar. As soon as Ruldolph began to hear Michael’s accurate transcriptions of melodies and licks from records he began paying Michael to transcribe songs and solos for him while he was at work. […]

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Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads Randy Rhoads was born Randall William Rhoads in Santa Monica, California, on the 6th of December, 1956. Randy’s parents where both music teachers. Following the departure of her Husband, Randy’s Mother Delores open a music school in North Hollywood called “Musonia”. In place of a home audio system the Rhoad’s family made their own music, by the age of 7 Randy was studying classic and folk guitar at his Mothers musical school, he soon developed a keen interest in electric guitar playing and began taking guitar lessons with an electric guitar tutor at Musionia called Scotty Shelly. […]

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Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_lwocmL9dQ Eddie Van Halen was born Edward Lodewijk van Halen in Nijmegen, Netherlands, on the 26th of January. 1955. Eddie grew up in the Netherlands with his Mother, Father and younger brother Alex. Eddie’s Father was an accomplished musician who played the piano, saxophone and clarinet. Eddie’s received his name “Lodewijk” as tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven. In 1962 Eddie moved to the United States to live with his family in Pasedena, California. As children, Eddie and his younger brother Alex learned the piano, taking classic lessons with Stasys “Stanley” Kalvaitis. […]

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Slash https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcIM_PL8BAA Slash was born Saul Hudson in Hampstead, London, on the 23rd of July, 1965. His Mother was an African American costume designer who designed onstage outfits for David Bowie, and his father was a white English artist who designed album covers for musicians like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. His Mother left the family to pursue her career shortly after Slash was born leaving Slash to be raised by his Father. When Slash was 5 years old he and his father moved to Los Angeles, California to live with his Mother. Slash earned his nickname from Seymour Cassel because he always seemed to be in a hurry. […]

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