Quest Story: Buddy Guy’s Chicago Blues Quest

Born in 1936, Buddy Guy grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As a teenager he discovered his quest – playing the blues guitar. When he was 21 years old, he left Louisiana to seek his fortune in Chicago, where such legends as Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and Little Walter were at the peak of their powers. Almost painfully shy and self-critical, his money ran out. He didn’t have any gigs and he started thinking about heading back home. His luck changed when he was invited to audition at the famous 708 club, where Muddy Waters heard him.

“I was going on my third day without eating in Chicago, trying to borrow a dime to call my mom to get back to Louisiana. And Muddy Waters bought me a salami sandwich and put me in the back of his 1958 Chevy station wagon. He said, ‘You’re hungry, and I know it.’ And talking to Muddy Waters, I wasn’t hungry anymore; I was full just for him to say, ‘Hey.’ I was so overjoyed about it, my stomach wasn’t cramping anymore. I told him that, and Muddy said, ‘Get in the car.”

He competed in guitar battles, where he emulated the showmanship of his childhood hero Guitar Slim. “I just walked out there with this 150-foot cord, and it was snowing, and I just went straight on out the door. The next day the news media was there, wanting to know who I was.” His performance at a competition in 1958 battling with guitar legends Magic Sam and Otis Rush earned him his first recording contract.

Buddy Guy’s fiery, exuberant and at times anarchic guitar playing and singing has entertained audiences around the world, from his early days backing up Muddy Waters and playing with the great harmonica player Junior Wells, to his highly successful solo career. His club, Buddy Guy’s Legends, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in ‘Sweet Home Chicago.’

Learn more:

Play the Blues – Learn to play the blues harmonica in just two hours! Each team member will receive their own harmonica, a copy of Blues Harmonica for Beginners book and play-a-long CD. Within minutes you will be playing a real blues song together. The grand finale features your team as the stars performing an original blues song that you have created together!

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