Blues is a musical genre that was born in the Mississippi Delta region in the late 1800s. It has influenced countless musicians and musical styles worldwide. From gospel to rock and roll, blues has impacted the lives of many artists and musicians. Many of the great bands of modern music have gotten their inspiration from blues.
During the early years of blues, most of the musicians were African American. They would perform at juke joints, where black people would dance at night. There were also traveling medical shows and theaters where the band members would play for audiences. In some cases, these musicians played with magicians, or they would work as part of a musical company.
During the 1950s, blues began to make an impact on popular music. By this time, many of the songs were being re-recorded. This helped them find new audiences. These artists changed lyrics, used samples, and even used drum machines. Electronic dance music has incorporated blues’ rhythm into its productions.
The music of the blues is very simple, yet it is very expressive. It incorporates work, laments, and triumph. Blues musicians usually sing about their personal struggles. Some songs are about sexual themes, too. Even religious songs are included in the repertoire of blues artists.
Some of the first Blues songs were written by Robert Johnson. He wrote the song Cross Road Blues. Other writers include Charley Patton, who included religious songs in his repertoire. Several of the earliest rock and roll songs were also Blues songs.
During the early 1900s, the Blues scale and format was established. These songs had a twelve bar structure. The vocal part consisted of four bars repeated, with the first line being answered by the third line. Another song that featured this structure was “Sitting on Top of the World” by Walter Vinson.
Blues was initially played by Southern Black men. However, after the Civil War, more and more former slaves began working on farms in the South. During this time, the Great Migration took place. When the migrants arrived in the new cities, some of them stayed and continued to work, while others moved on.
In the 1920s, acoustic Blues became popular with white audiences. Blues musicians would usually travel to Memphis, Tennessee to play. They also performed in tent shows and with magicians and comedians.
In the early 1960s, Blues music took on a life of its own. Some of the biggest bands of that era were influenced by Blues, including The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd.
The Blues form and scale is still a prevalent part of modern Jazz and Rhythm and Blues. This style of music is characterized by a call and response format, with flattened ‘blue notes’.
In the 1980s, the film The Blues Brothers starred John Lee Hooker and Charlie Musselwhite. Aside from the blues, these two actors injected other elements into the movie, including rock and roll. The movie was a big hit and it spawned a successful tour.