Eddie Boyd

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For other people named Edward Boyd, see Edward Boyd (disambiguation).
Eddie Boyd
Eddie Boyd (1968).jpg
Eddie Boyd in 1968
Background information
Birth name Edward Riley Boyd
Born (1914-11-25)November 25, 1914
Shelby or near Stovall, Mississippi, United States
Died July 13, 1994(1994-07-13) (aged 79)
Helsinki, Finland
Genres Blues
Occupation(s) Singer, musician, songwriter
Instruments Piano
Years active 1930s–1990s

Edward Riley "Eddie" Boyd[1][nb 1] (November 25, 1914 – July 13, 1994)[3] was an American blues pianist, singer and songwriter, best known for his recordings in the early 1950s including the number one R&B chart hit "Five Long Years".

Life and career[edit]

He was born either on Stovall's Plantation, near Clarksdale, Mississippi,[4] or on Frank Moore's Plantation, near Stovall, Mississippi.[2] He learned guitar and piano, on which he was influenced by the styles of Roosevelt Sykes and Leroy Carr.[3]

Boyd moved to the Beale Street district of Memphis, Tennessee, in 1936, where he played with his group, the Dixie Rhythm Boys. He then joined the great migration north to the factories of Chicago in 1941.[4] He recorded for Bluebird Records, accompanying such musicians as Sonny Boy Williamson, Jazz Gillum, Muddy Waters, and Tampa Red, before making his first recordings under his own name in 1947.[3][5]

He decided to produce his own recordings, and took two demos to Joe Brown at J.O.B. Records, who agreed to re-record the tracks. In May 1952 he recorded "Five Long Years", which became a huge hit,[5] topping the Billboard R&B chart for seven weeks towards the end of the year.[1] He signed to the Parrot label, who then sold his contract to Chess. Boyd had two further hits on Chess in 1953, "24 Hours", and "Third Degree" (co-written by Willie Dixon), which both reached number 3 on the R&B chart.[4][1]

He went on to record for a series of smaller labels in the 1950s, but an automobile accident in 1957 affected his career.[3] Boyd toured Europe with Buddy Guy's band in 1965 as part of the American Folk Blues Festival.[4] He later toured and recorded with Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

Tired of the racial discrimination he experienced in the United States, he moved to Belgium,[3] where he recorded with the Dutch band Cuby and the Blizzards. He moved again, in 1970, to Helsinki, Finland,[4] where he continued to perform and recorded ten blues records, the first being Praise to Helsinki (1970). He married his wife, Leila, in 1977.

Boyd died in 1994 in Helsinki, just a few months before Eric Clapton released the chart-topping blues album From the Cradle, which includes Boyd's "Five Long Years" and "Third Degree".


Studio albums[edit]

  • Five Long Years (Fontana, 1966)
  • Eddie Boyd and His Blues Band Featuring Peter Green (Decca, 1967)
  • 7936 South Rhodes (Blue Horizon, 1968)
  • Praise to Helsinki (Love Records, 1970)
  • The Legacy of the Blues, vol. 10 (Sonet, 1974)
  • Brotherhood (Finnish Blues Society, 1975)
  • My Lady (Lobo, 1978)
  • Soulful (Magic Angel, 1980)
  • A Sad Day (Paris, 1980)
  • Lover's Playground (Stockholm, 1984)

Live album[edit]

  • Eddie Boyd Live (Storyville, 1976)


  • Vacation from the Blues (Jefferson, 1976)
  • Rattin' and Runnin' Around (Crown Prince, 1981)
  • No More of This Third Degree (Teldec, 1982)
  • The Best of Eddie Boyd (P-Vine, 1984)
  • Third Degree (Orbis/Charly, 1993)
  • The Complete Recordings, vols. 1 and 2 (EPM, 2001, 2004)
  • Eddie Boyd in Finland (Blue North, 2005)
  • The Blues Is Here to Stay (Jasmine, 2013)
  • Vacation from the Blues (Mojo, 2015)


  • "Five Long Years", Blues Masters, vol. 2: Postwar Chicago (Rhino)
  • "24 Hours", The Best of Chess Blues, vol. 1 (Chess/MCA)
    • live version on American Folk Blues Festival '65 (L&R/Bellaphon)
  • "Third Degree", A Tribute to Willie Dixon: 1915–1992 (Chess)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc give his birth name as Will Joe Boyd Jr.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 41-42. 
  2. ^ a b Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 192. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Allmusic biography by Bill Dahl. Retrieved 13 October 2016
  4. ^ a b c d e Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. pp. 94–95. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  5. ^ a b Robert L. Campbell et al., "The JOB Label". Retrieved 13 October 2016

External links[edit]