List of blues standards

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Color photo of Barak Obama singing into a microphone with B.B. King and other musicians and guests.
"Sweet Home Chicago" performed at the White House with Barack Obama joining B.B. King on the chorus

Blues standards are blues songs that have attained a high level of recognition due to having been widely performed and recorded.[1] They represent the best known and most interpreted blues songs that are seen as standing the test of time.[2] Blues standards come from different eras and styles, such as ragtime-vaudeville, Delta and other early acoustic styles, and urban blues from Chicago and the West Coast.[3]

Many blues songs were developed in American folk music traditions and individual songwriters are sometimes unidentified.[1] Blues historian Gerard Herzhaft noted:

In the case of very old blues songs, there is the constant recourse to oral tradition that conveyed the tune and even the song itself while at the same time evolving for several decades. This was long before the first recording. The fact that such blues are attributed to Charlie Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Blind Blake often means that they were the first to record them.[1]

Compounding the problem is that, in the earlier days, many blues songs were not copyrighted.[1] Later, the rights were claimed by those who recorded a subsequent version or were managers or record company owners.[1][a]

Nearly one half of the blues standards listed were first recorded in the pre-World War II acoustic blues era, before music publications tracked the sales of blues records.[7] However, many popular renditions, as reflected in the record charts, are more modern versions featuring electric instruments. For example, Robert Johnson and Tampa Red, who were the first to record the most blues standards on the list at four each, performed them as solo or duo acoustic performances. However, B.B. King and Muddy Waters, with the most standards on the charts at five each,[8] used electric blues-ensemble arrangements.

Music journalist Richie Unterberger commented on the adaptability of blues: "From its inception, the blues has always responded to developments in popular music as a whole: the use of guitar and piano in American folk and gospel, the percussive rhythms of jazz, the lyrics of Tin Pan Alley, and the widespread use of amplification and electric instruments all helped shape the evolution of the blues."[9] Blues standards that appeared on the main charts[b] in the 1960s and 1970s often had been recorded by rhythm and blues, soul, and rock musicians.[10] Each song listed has been identified by five or more music writers as a blues standard. Spellings and titles may differ; the most common are used.

List[edit]

List of blues standards
Title First recorded by Year Charting single(s) by[b] Refs
"Ain't Nobody's Business" Anna Meyers with the Original Memphis Five 1922
[11]
"All Your Love (I Miss Loving)" Otis Rush 1958 [12]
"Baby, Please Don't Go" Big Joe Williams 1935
[13]
"Baby What You Want Me to Do" Jimmy Reed 1960
[14]
"Blues with a Feeling" Rabon Tarrant 1947 Little Walter (1953) [15]
"Boom Boom" John Lee Hooker 1962 [16]
"Born Under a Bad Sign" Albert King 1967
[17]
"Caldonia" Louis Jordan 1945 [18]
"Catfish Blues" Robert Petway 1941 Muddy Waters (1951 as "Still a Fool") [19]
"Crosscut Saw" Tommy McClennan 1941 Albert King (1967) [20]
"Crossroads" Robert Johnson 1936 Cream (1969) [21]
"Don't You Lie to Me" Tampa Red 1940 [22]
"Driftin' Blues" Johnny Moore's Three Blazers 1945 [23]
"Dust My Broom" Robert Johnson 1936 Elmore James (1952) [24]
"Every Day I Have the Blues" Pinetop Sparks 1935
[25]
"Farther Up the Road" Bobby Bland 1957 Bobby Bland (1957) [26]
"Five Long Years" Eddie Boyd 1952
[27]
"Forty-Four" Roosevelt Sykes 1929 [28]
"Goin' Down Slow" St. Louis Jimmy Oden 1941 Bobby Bland (1974) [29]
"Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" Sonny Boy Williamson I 1937 Smokey Hogg (1950 as "Little School Girl") [30]
"Got My Mojo Working" Muddy Waters 1956 Jimmy Smith (1966) [31]
"Help Me" Sonny Boy Williamson II 1963 Sonny Boy Williamson II (1963) [32]
"Hide Away" Freddie King 1961
[33]
"Hoochie Coochie Man" Muddy Waters 1954
[34]
"How Long Blues" Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell 1928 [35]
"I Can't Quit You Baby" Otis Rush 1956 Otis Rush (1956) [36]
"I'm a Man" Bo Diddley 1955
[37]
"I'm Ready" Muddy Waters 1954 Muddy Waters (1954) [38]
"It Hurts Me Too" Tampa Red 1940
[39]
"Kansas City" Little Willie Littlefield 1952 [40]
"Key to the Highway" Charlie Segar 1940 Little Walter (1958) [41]
"Killing Floor" Howlin' Wolf 1964 [42]
"Little Red Rooster" Howlin' Wolf 1961 [43]
"Mean Old World" T-Bone Walker 1942 Little Walter (1953) [44]
"My Babe" Little Walter 1955
[45]
"Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" Bessie Smith 1929
[46]
"Reconsider Baby" Lowell Fulson 1954 Lowell Fulson (1954) [47]
"Rock Me Baby" Lil' Son Jackson 1950 B.B. King (1964) [48]
"Rollin' and Tumblin'" Hambone Willie Newbern 1929
[49]
"See See Rider" Ma Rainey 1924
[50]
"Sitting on Top of the World" Mississippi Sheiks 1930 [51]
"The Sky Is Crying" Elmore James 1960 Elmore James (1960) [52]
"Spoonful" Howlin' Wolf 1960 Etta James & Harvey Fuqua (1961) [53]
"Stormy Monday" T-Bone Walker 1948
[54]
"Sugar Mama" Tampa Red 1934 [55]
"Sweet Home Chicago" Robert Johnson 1936 Junior Parker (1958) [56]
"Sweet Little Angel" Lucille Bogan 1930 B.B. King (1956) [57]
"That's All Right" Jimmy Rogers 1950 [58]
"The Things That I Used to Do" Guitar Slim 1953
[59]
"The Thrill Is Gone" Roy Hawkins 1951
[60]
"Trouble in Mind" Bertha "Chippie" Hill 1926 [61]
"Walkin' Blues" Robert Johnson[c] 1936 Muddy Waters (1948 as "I Feel Like Going Home") [64]
"Worried Life Blues" Big Maceo 1941
[65]
"You've Got to Love Her with a Feeling" Tampa Red 1938 Freddie King (1961) [66]
A dash ( — ) denotes a song that did not appear on a record chart.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ For example, "Crosscut Saw" is usually attributed to Tommy McClennan, whose 1941 recording was the first to be released (Tony Hollins recorded a version three months earlier that was unissued until 1992, has also been mentioned).[4] However, in 1964, R. G. Ford, a Memphis, Tennessee, attorney, filed for the copyright in his own name after a group he represented recorded the tune.[5] Ford is listed as the songwriter on records by Albert King (who popularized the song in 1967) and most subsequent releases. Some commentators, who may be unfamiliar with the song's origins, have referred to "Crosscut Saw" as "the R. G. Ford song".[6]
  2. ^ a b The singles charts on which the standards appear are: Billboard's Race/R&B/Soul/Black and Hot 100 singles charts; Australian singles charts; Canadian RPM singles charts; and UK Singles Charts. The individual citations are included in the "Refs" column entries.
  3. ^ A "test disc" of "Walking Blues", recorded by Son House for Paramount Records in 1930, was not discovered until 1989:[62] "[Robert] Johnson must have learned the lyrics from House's live performances ... Johnson straightened out House's somewhat idiosyncratic musical accompaniment, and in the process created a song that would, by and by, become a blues standard."[63]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Herzhaft 1992, p. 435.
  2. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 73.
  3. ^ Herzhaft 1992, pp. 436, 440, 442.
  4. ^ O'Neal & van Singel 2002, p. 208
  5. ^ Olsson 1970, p. 112
  6. ^ Pendragon, Jana. "Corey Stevens & Texas Flood: Blue Drops of Rain – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  7. ^ Whitburn 1988, p. 14.
  8. ^ Whitburn 1988, pp. 239, 435.
  9. ^ Unterberger 1996, p. 381.
  10. ^ Whitburn 1988, pp. 59, 60, 101, 158, 295, 391, 453; "Them – Singles". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved April 26, 2015; "Cream: Chart history – The Hot 100". Billboard.com. Retrieved February 9, 2017; Russo & Hinman 2001, p. 45; "Rolling Stones – Singles". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved December 27, 2013; Russo 1994, p. 21; Billboard 1969, p. 96; Billboard 1966, p. 24
  11. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Erlewine 2003, p. 71; Hal Leonard 2013, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 436; Oliver 1968, p. 16; Talevski 2010, p. 728; Whitburn 1988, p. 465; "H20 featuring Billie – Singles". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  12. ^ Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 436; Huxley 1995, eBook; Obrecht 2000, p. 9; Sammon 2015, eBook
  13. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Eagle & LeBlanc 2013, p. 111; Erlewine 2003, p. 712; Guralnick 1982, p. 1965; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 437; Komara 2005, p. 39; Milward 2013, p. 64; Perone 2019, p. 176; Whitburn 1988, p. 469; Whitburn 2008, p. 438; "Them – Singles". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved April 26, 2015.; Walker 2011, p. 148
  14. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Friedland 2004, p. 80; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 437; Sing Out 1993, p. 81; Whitburn 1988, p. 469
  15. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 440; McMullen, Steve. "Steve Hackett: Blues With a Feeling – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved January 11, 2018.; Sokolow 2014, eBook; Whitburn 1988, p. 472
  16. ^ Amicone 2001, p. YE-29; Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Blues Revue 2005, p. 82; Edmondson 2013, p. 564; Morris 2001, p. 70; Whitburn 1988, p. 473; Billboard 1964, p. 26
  17. ^ Evans & Kingsbury 2009, p. 210; Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Murray 1991, p. 141; Perone 2019, p. 22; Santelli 2001, p. 107; Stang 1998, p. 4; Whitburn 1988, p. 473; "RPM 100". RPM. Vol. 12, no. 15. November 29, 1969. p. 7. ISSN 0315-5994.
  18. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 441; Leggett, Steve. "Various Artists: Blues Story [Shout! Factory] – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved January 27, 2018.; Marcus 2011, p. 65; Whitburn 1988, p. 474
  19. ^ Cummings-Yeates 2014, p. 32; Danchin 2001, p. 275; Herzhaft 1992, p. 441; Moseley 1996, p. 83; Moskowitz 2010, p. 114; Southern 1997, p. 509; Whitburn 1988, p. 553
  20. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Goldberg 1969, p. 32; Herzhaft 1992, p. 443; Komara 2005, p. 568; Murray 1991, p. 141; Whitburn 1988, p. 479
  21. ^ Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 443; Pellegrino 2012, p. 73; Santelli 2001, p. 107; Verna 1995, p. 152; "Cream: Chart history – The Hot 100". Billboard.com. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  22. ^ Encyclopaedia Universalis 2019, eBook; Guralnick 1982, p. 66; Herzhaft 1992, p. 445; Larkin 2013, p. 334; Rusch 1977, p. 22
  23. ^ Evans 2005, p. 104; Evans & Kingsbury 2009, p. 210; Farley 2011, p. 137; Herzhaft 1992, p. 445; Perone 2019, p. 33; Whitburn 1988, p. 485
  24. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Komara 2005, p. 21; Herzhaft 1992, p. 446; Milward 2013, p. xiii; Palmer 1981, p. 128; Pegg 2013, p. 164; Southern 1997, p. 509; Talevski 2010, p. 719; Unterberger & Hicks 1999, p. 196; Whitburn 1988, p. 485
  25. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Driggs & Haddix 2006, p. 224; Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 447; Rothwell 2001, p. 158; Southern 1997, p. 509; Whitburn 1988, p. 487
  26. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Big City Blues 1999, p. 55; Erlewine 2001, p. 218; Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Oklahoma Today 1999, p. 48; Whitburn 1988, p. 488
  27. ^ Blues Foundation 2011; Erlewine 2003, p. 64; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 448; Komara 2005, pp. 1014–1015; Larkin 2013, p. lx; Wyman & Havers 2001, p. 300; Whitburn 1988, p. 489
  28. ^ Evans 1982, p. 340; Herzhaft 1992, p. 448; Living Blues 1983, p. 12; Segrest & Hoffman 2004, eBook; Southern 1997, p. 509
  29. ^ Blues Foundation 2002; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 449; Journal of American Folklore 1973, p. 423; Komara 2005, p. 732; Rees & Crampton 1999, p. 105; Whitburn 1988, p. 494
  30. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Erlewine 2002, p. 482; Evans 2005, p. 197; Field 2000, p. 166; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 449; Komara 2005, p. 670; Palmer 1981, p. 145; Perone 2019, p. 178; Skinner Sawyers 1991, p. 295; Whitburn 1988, p. 523
  31. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Ford, Jr. 1979, p. 63; GPI 2007, p. 7; Herzhaft 1992, p. 449; O'Neal 1984; Southern 1997, p. 509; Whitburn 1988, p. 495
  32. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 450; Living Blues 1991, p. 52; Unterberger & Hicks 1999, p. 249; Whitburn 1988, p. 498
  33. ^ DeCurtis, Henke & George-Warren 1992, p. 398; Emerson 2004, p. 39; Erlewine 2003, p. 304; Herzhaft 1992, p. 451; Smith 2013, p. 46; Whitburn 1988, p. 499; Whitburn 2008, p. 451
  34. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Erlewine 2003, p. 214; Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 452; Milward 2013, p. 14; Southern 1997, p. 509; Talevski 2010, pp. 134–135; Whitburn 1988, p. 511
  35. ^ Danchin 2005, p. 62; Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 453; Hoffmann 2005, p. 62; Southern 1997, p. 509; Talevski 2010, p. 72
  36. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Erlewine 2001, p. 520; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 453; Hoffmann 2005, p. 62; Whitburn 1988, p. 502
  37. ^ Ford, Jr. 1979, p. 63; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 454; Murphy 2008, p. 72; Shapiro, Heatley & Mayer 2009, p. 53; Whitburn 1988, pp. 509, 529; Russo & Hinman 2001, p. 45
  38. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Erlewine 2003, p. 421; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 454; Hoffmann 2005, p. 62; Whitburn 1988, p. 511
  39. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Encyclopaedia Universalis 2019, eBook; Guralnick 1982, p. 1905; Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 455; Journal of American Folklore 1978, p. 742; Larkin 2013, p. 1932; Obrecht 2000, p. 4; Whitburn 1988, p. 515
  40. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Goldberg 1969, p. 12; Hal Leonard 2013, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 456; Marsh 1999, p. 125; Whitburn 1988, p. 518; "Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 71, no. 20. May 18, 1959. p. 41. ISSN 0006-2510.; "Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 76, no. 1. January 4, 1964. p. 18. ISSN 0006-2510.
  41. ^ Blues Foundation 2010; Blues Revue 2005, p. 186; Erlewine 2003, p. 214; Hal Leonard 2013, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 457; Komara 2005, p. 563; Living Blues 1991, p. 78; Whitburn 1988, p. 519
  42. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Devi 2012, p. xv; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 457; Komara 2005, p. 472; Moskowitz 2010, p. 112; Perone 2019, p. 22; Shapiro, Heatley & Mayer 2009, p. 53; Talevski 1998, p. 180
  43. ^ Erlewine 2001, p. 520; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 467; Hoffmann 2005, p. 62; Komara 2005, p. 21; Perone 2019, p. 41; Rees & Crampton 1999; Talevski 2010, pp. 134–135; Whitburn 1988, p. 523; "Rolling Stones – Singles". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  44. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 461; Komara 2005, pp. 1014–1015; Pegg 2013, p. 164; Whitburn 1988, p. 529
  45. ^ Erlewine 2003, p. 421; Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Hay 2005, p. 75; Herzhaft 1992, p. 463; Talevski 2010, pp. 134–135; Whitburn 1988, p. 532; Whitburn 2008, p. 466
  46. ^ Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 464; Morris 2003, p. 5; Rodriguez 2010, p. 164; Sandage 2009, p. 268; Whitburn 1988, p. 535
  47. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Farley 2011, p. 127; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 467; O'Neal 1993; Whitburn 1988, p. 543
  48. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, pp. 467–468; Komara 2005, p. 21; Murray 1991, p. 145; Whitburn 1988, p. 544
  49. ^ Eagle & LeBlanc 2013, p. 240; Erlewine 2001, p. 531; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 468; Komara 2005, p. 722; Palmer 1981, p. 128; Santelli 2001, p. 107; Southern 1997, p. 509; Russo 1994, p. 21; Billboard 1969, p. 96
  50. ^ Danchin 2005, p. 62; Edmondson 2013, p. 938; Hal Leonard 2013, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 469; Hoffmann 2005, p. 280; Komara 2005, p. 190; Marsh 1999, p. 168; Oliver 1968, p. 16; Perone 2019, p. 130; Talevski 1998, p. 62; Wyman & Havers 2001, p. 290; Whitburn 1988, pp. 474, 546; Billboard 1966, p. 24
  51. ^ Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 470; Oliver 2001, pp. 186–187; Palmer 1981, p. 110; Whiteis 2013, p. 86
  52. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 471; Perone 2019, pp. 81–82; Talevski 1998, p. 191; Wynne 2007, p. 140; Whitburn 1988, p. 549
  53. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Blues Revue 2005, p. 186; Erlewine 2001, p. 520; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 471–472; Perone 2019, p. 41; Santelli 2001, p. 107; Whitburn 1988, p. 552
  54. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Evans 2005, p. 104; Ford, Jr. 1979, p. 63; Hal Leonard 2013, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 472–473; Murray 1991, p. 145; Southern 1997, p. 509; Stang 1998, p. 2; Talevski 2010, p. 390; Whitburn 1988, pp. 474, 554
  55. ^ Encyclopaedia Universalis 2019, eBook; Evans 1982, p. 197; Herzhaft 1992, p. 473; Perone 2019, p. 179; Field 2000, p. 166; Moseley 1996, p. 83; Skinner Sawyers 1991, p. 295
  56. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Devi 2012, p. 141; Hal Leonard 2005, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 473; Milward 2013, p. xiii; Whitburn 1988, p. 556
  57. ^ Barlow 1983, p. 326; Encyclopaedia Universalis 2019, eBook; Guralnick 1982, p. 1905; Herzhaft 1992, p. 473; Living Blues 1996, p. 92; Obrecht 2000, p. 4; Whitburn 1988, p. 556
  58. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Blues Foundation 2016; Darwen 1989, p. 1; Malvinni 2013, p. 8; Nadel 1988, p. 166; Palmer 1981, p. 181; Perone 2019, p. 84
  59. ^ Arnett Ervin 1999, p. 184; Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Eagle & LeBlanc 2013, p. 98; Herzhaft 1992, pp. 474–475; Journal of American Folklore 1973, p. 423; Malvinni 2013, p. 8; Perone 2019, p. 57; Rothwell 2001, p. 110; Tracy 1999, p. 449; Whitburn 1988, p. 560
  60. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Big City Blues 2001, p. 48; Herzhaft 1992, p. 475; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Wiley 1993, p. 275; Wynne 2009, p. 96; Whitburn 1988, p. 561
  61. ^ Driggs & Haddix 2006, p. 220; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 476; Morris 2003, p. 5; Oliver 2001, p. 205; Perone 2019, p. 56; Riesman 2011, p. 212; Whitburn 1988, p. 563
  62. ^ Beaumont 2011, pp. 70–72.
  63. ^ Beaumont 2011, p. 91.
  64. ^ Barrett & Garcia 2010, p. 74; Beaumont 2011, p. 91; Hal Leonard 1996, Song list; Herzhaft 1992, p. 477; Parrish 2001, p. 13; Whitburn 1988, p. 504
  65. ^ Erlewine 2003, p. 398; Guralnick 1982, p. 1906; Komara 2005, p. 305; Riesman 2011, p. 142; Rothwell 2001, p. 89; Whitburn 1988, pp. 560, 573
  66. ^ Guralnick 1982, p. 1905; Herzhaft 1992, p. 459; Larkin 2013, p. 1932; Journal of American Folklore 1978, p. 742; Obrecht 2000, p. 4; "Freddy King: Chart History – Hot 100". Billboard.com. Retrieved May 6, 2019.

Bibliography[edit]