Forget Rock and Roll; the Blues Will Never Die

I think that most everyone already knows that Rock and Roll music is deeply tied to the blues; and I’ve always been partial to blues music.  I love the emotion that is often conveyed through both the lyrics, and the music – typically driven by the guitar.  I have mentioned before that some of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite bands (Led Zeppelin) were their blues songs and covers.  In fact many of the early rock acts of the British Invasion, were deeply inspired by the blues, and though it may seem hard to believe (based on the music they’re known for), but Pink Floyd’s name is a mash-up of two early blues artists, Pink Anderson (1900-1973) and Floyd Council (1911-1976), because they were heavily influenced by, and were a blues act, prior to their success.  Some of those early bluesmen and their music continue to influence and inspire today, damn near 100 years after they were first heard/recorded.  I believe that is what can be called staying power.  As an example are some songs (Well two actually – maybe three) by early bluesman Huddie William Ledbetter, more commonly known as Lead Belly (1888 – 1949), and their modern cover versions, and mash-ups:

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night” (*Original* Version circa 1940’s):

“My Girl (Where Did you Sleep Last Night)” (Nirvana Cover):

“Black Girl (Where Did You Sleep Last Night)” (Ben Gesserit Remix):

And just because I kind of like this version – “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” (Lead Belly cover, on the piano):

“Black Betty” (Original Version, circa 1933-39):

“Black Betty” (Ram Jam (1977), cover version):

“Woah Black Betty 2012” (DJ Sliink, version):

“Black Betty” (Monophonique, remix version):

“Black Betty” (Laurie Kaye, acoustic cover version):

And that is just two songs from Lead Belly, there are countless other songs by a number of other bluesmen that have been covered by various other artists, and will more than likely be covered by many more artists.


*”Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” is believed to be a song dating back to the 1870’s, Lead Belly is believed to be the first to record it in the 1940’s.

Oh, I said there might be three songs, so I guess I better deliver. Below is Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” followed by Led Zeppelin’s version: