Famous Blues Guitarists … My top picks from 1960s to 1980s

If you are searching for some Famous Blues Guitarists to check out, you have come to the right place. Whether you like the Chicago blues, delta blues, Texas blues, Mississippi blues, jazz blues or rock blues here are some of the best to check out.

The 3 kings

Let’s start with the 3 most famous kings. Albert King, B.B. King and Freddie King.

1. Riley B King, also known as B.B. King, one of, if not, the most known and most famous blues legends ever. B.B. Kings name is recognized by many generations due to how long him and his music has been around. He has made a mark in the History of the Blues and has many numerous albums that you can hear him playing his guitars that he named ” Lucille “.

Probably the most noted song that people known B.B. King for best is his version of the song ” The Thrill Is Gone “, originally written by Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell. The original version was mostly saxophone and piano so when B.B. King played the song on guitar with the emotion he put in to it and the driving bass line combined with his singing style it became his signature song.

2, Albert Nelson, also known as Albert King was another blues legend. His 2nd album is the one that he is most recognized by. The title song Born Under A Bad sign is a well-known song that has been redone by many musicians. Albert King influenced many guitarists with his tasteful style licks and bends.

3. The third King that was real famous is Freddie King. You can hear his rock blues style on close to a dozen albums that he recorded during his short life span. Freddie has recorded with a handful of other musicians of which are still well-known today

Albert King, B.B. King and Freddie King have all been inducted in to the hall of fame.

If you want to take a crash course in blues guitar, start listening to the albums recorded by these 3 Kings and learning what you can by ear. The more you work on them the more you will develop your ear for the style of blues playing.

Robert Johnson

Most everyone now has heard about the story of Robert Johnson, how he wasn’t that good of a guitarist when he first started hanging around the clubs other blues players at the time played. Robert than disappeared for about 6 months and came back able to play the guitar great. People claim he went to a set of crossroads and sold his soul to the Devil in order to play that good so fast.

Robert Johnson has been inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A couple of his biggest songs are: ” I believe I’ll dust my broom “.” Crossroad Blues “, ” Sweet Home Chicago ” and ” Hellhound on my trail “. Robert Johnsons’ music has had an influence on quite a few well-known rock musicians.

5 Favorite 70s & 80s Blues Guitarists

In no particular order (somewhat chronological) here is a list of my 5 favorite blues guitarist who’s solo albums began being recorded in the 70s & 80s. All of these guitarists are worth the time to check out.

Robben Ford

Robben Ford combined Blues, Jazz and Rock for his style. He played guitar in a handful of different bands and has appeared on recordings of several artists. He has some good guitar instruction books and videos out that are worth checking out.

Robben Ford has also made music for a couple of movies soundtracks. Check out his first solo album, ” discovering the blues live “. It has a variety of blues on it ( slow blues, rock blues and jazzy blues )

Gary Moore

Gary Moore is a blues / rock guitarist who has also played in metal bands. A couple of his songs that are pretty well-known that you should check out are ” still got the blues “, ” the loner ” and ” walking by myself ” If you are a guitarist that likes good guitar solos check out his ” white knuckles ” guitar solo.

Robin Trower

Robin Trower is a great blues / rock player that has some psychedelic sounding music and uses the wah wah pedal quite a bit ( Bridge of sighs ). ( I can’t wait much longer) He has so many songs that I like (too rolling stoned, day of the eagle are a couple) that I am just going to recommend albums of his to check out.

  • Twice removed from yesterday
  • Bridge of sighs
  • For Earth Below
  • Victims of the fury

Robert Cray

Robert Cray is a guitarist that mixes blues with rock, jazz, soul and gospel for his sound. Coming out strong on his ” Strong Persuader ” album was the album that got me in to his music. That’s an album I recommend of his to check out, the song ” smoking gun ” is probably his biggest song with it’s 50s classic rock rhythm and blues licks it is a memorable song.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

I wasn’t in to the blues when I first heard Stevie Ray Vaughan music. The first time I heard his music, I saw him on a replay of his Austin city limits show, while I was staying the weekend at a casino, in a hotel room. At the time, I didn’t known it was a replay nor did I known he was no longer with us and didn’t find out until a couple years after I started listening to him.

Even though his ” In step ” album is my favorite album by him, all of his albums are good and worth checking out. His live footage is also recommended checking out.

Other noteworthy blues guitarists

You can’t have a famous blues guitar player article without including all the greats and well-known guitarists that influenced many blues and rock guitarists after them. Here I will list a lot of them and let you pick any song or album you want to check out.

In no particular order:

  • Elmore James
  • Howlin’ wolf
  • Eric Clapton
  • Buddy Guy
  • T Bone Walker
  • Otis Rush
  • Johnny Winter
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Son House
  • Clarence ” gatemouth ” Brown
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson
  • Blind Willie Johson
  • Hound Dog Taylor
  • Charlie Patton
  • Muddy Waters


part 2 1990s – current 



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