The Rolling Stones Jam With Their Idol, Muddy Waters (1981)

It’s hard to over­es­ti­mate how much Mud­dy Waters, the blues leg­end meant to the Rolling Stones. Dur­ing their very ear­ly days, the band mem­bers land­ed a gig and had to give an offi­cial name (they did­n’t have one yet). Think­ing quick­ly, they looked at The Best of Mud­dy Waters album sit­ting on the floor of their flat, and they zeroed in on the first track, “Rollin’ Stone.” It was just a small leap then to the Rolling Stones.

And in case you doubt the influ­ence of Mud­dy Waters, let’s head to the open­ing pages of Kei­th Richards’ new biog­ra­phy, Life. Talk­ing about the band’s trip to the Unit­ed States, Richards writes:

I think some of us had died and gone to heav­en, because a year before we were plug­ging Lon­don clubs, and we’re doing all right, but actu­al­ly in the next year, we’re some­where we thought we would nev­er be. We were in Mis­sis­sip­pi. We’d been play­ing this music, and it had all been very respect­ful, but then we were actu­al­ly there sniff­ing it. You want to be a blues play­er, the next minute you fuck­ing well are and you’re stuck right amongst them, and there’s Mud­dy Waters stand­ing next to you. It hap­pens so fast you real­ly can’t reg­is­ter all of the impres­sions that are com­ing at you… It’s one thing to play a Mud­dy Waters song. It’s anoth­er thing to play with him.

And so with­out fur­ther ado, we give you Mud­dy Waters and the Rolling Stones play­ing “Baby Please Don’t Go” togeth­er at Bud­dy Guy’s Checker­board Lounge in 1981. The full show is avail­able on DVD/CD.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mud­dy Waters on The Blues and Gospel Train

The Leg­end of Blues­man Robert John­son Ani­mat­ed

Loudon Wain­wright III Sings “The Krug­man Blues”

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.