Earl “King” Johnson IV: February 7, 1934
A songwriter, guitarist, and singer most noted for his work in the blues scene. He got interested in music starting when he was a young boy in church, surrounded by gospel music. Once he realized he wanted to pursue music as a career, a friend suggested he turn to blues music to make more money.
Being born and growing up in New Orleans, King became a prominent musician in the New Orleans blues scene which was a mixture of jazz and Caribbean music. He was also known as a great blues composer, writing songs that were covered by Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Professor Longhair, and the Meters.
King Curtis: February 7, 1934
An immensely talented saxophone player who appeared in various albums and with many musicians. He was superbly skilled at soprano, alto, and tenor sax, known for “distinct riffs and solos.” He studied and collaborated with Avant Garde sax master Ornette Coleman while in high school.
He switched to more rock music as a session musician in the 50s. He appeared on albums with Buddy Holly, Aretha Franklin, and many others.
King tragically died at age 37 when he was violently stabbed by a drug dealer, prohibiting King from entering his apartment building. King is buried in the same location as Count Basie and sax legend John Coltrane.
Eddie “Guitar” Burns: February 8, 1928
A musician born in Mississippi who was one of many to migrate north in order to thrive in a career of music. Instead of going to Chicago, Eddie Burns went to Detroit, Michigan which became known as the other area blues musicians moved to and is very similar to the Chicago sound.
There aren’t too many well-known Detroit Blues musicians and it is said that Burns is only surpassed by the well-known Detroit musician John Lee Hooker. Burns’ career spanned almost 7 decades, playing up to when he died in 2012 at 84 years old due to heart failure.