The Best of Instrumental Music: Blues

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for some great instrumental blues music? Check out our list of the best blues tracks around. From classic electric guitar licks to contemporary piano pieces, there’s something for everyone.

What is the blues?

The blues is a style of music that originated in the United States in the early 1900s. It is characterized by a 12-bar chord progression, a call-and-response format, and lyrics that often deal with personal, social, or political issues. The blues has influenced many other genres of music, including rock, jazz, and country.

The history of the blues

The blues is a genre of music that originated in the African-American community in the United States around the end of the 19th century. The term “blues” refers to the feeling of sadness and despair that is often associated with the music. The first blues recordings were made in the 1920s, and the genre quickly gained popularity among both black and white audiences.

Where did the blues come from?

The blues is a genre of music that has its roots in African American culture. The genre developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is characterized by a backbeat, blue notes, and often sexually explicit lyrics. The blue note is a musical note that is lowered in pitch, giving the music a sadder sound.

The first recorded use of the term “blue” in reference to music was in 1865, when musician and composer Phil Winsor published a song called “The Blue Danube.” The term “blues” first appeared in print in 1912, when W. C. Handy published his famous song “The Memphis Blues.”

The origins of the blues are not well-documented, but it is most likely that the genre developed out of the work songs and spirituals of enslaved African Americans. These songs were often improvisational and used elements of call and response. This type of musical structure would go on to influence many other genres, including jazz.

As the blues developed, it began to be performed by professional musicians in bars and brothels. The first recorded blues song was “Crazy Blues,” by Mamie Smith, which was released in 1920. This song was so popular that it helped to launch the career of one of the most important early blues singers, Bessie Smith.

In the 1930s, the blues began to be influenced by gospel music and country music. This can be heard in the work of artists like Robert Johnson and Son House. In the 1940s and 1950s, electric guitars became more common in blues bands, giving the genre a more energetic sound. This era saw the rise of artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

The blues has been an important influence on many other genres of music, including rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, and hip hop. Many of today’s most popular musicians have been inspired by the blues, including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The blues in the early 20th century

The blues has been a part of American musical culture since the early 1900s. It is a style of music that is largely based on African-American folk music, and it has been influenced by both European and African musical traditions. The blues has had a significant impact on many other genres of music, including jazz, rock and roll, and country.

The blues first emerged as a distinct musical genre in the early 1900s, in the Mississippi Delta region of the United States. This region was home to a large population of African Americans who had been brought to the area as slaves. The blues developed from the music that these slaves and their descendants created.

The term “blues” refers to both the feeling of sadness and melancholy that is often associated with the music, as well as to the style of music itself. The blues typically features simple chord progressions, often just three chords, and a repetitive structure. The lyrics often deal with personal emotions such as love, loss, and hardship.

The blues became popular among non-African Americans in the 1920s, when it was adopted by white musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. In the 1930s and 1940s, the popularity of the blues continued to grow, with artists such as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf becoming household names. In the 1950s, electric guitars and amplification were added to the blues sound by artists such as BB King and Willie Dixon. This helped to create a new genre of music known as rock and roll.

The blues in the mid-20th century

The blues has been a part of American popular music since the early 20th century. It originated in the Deep South of the United States, and its roots can be traced back to the West African countries of Senegal, Gambia, Mali, and Guinea.

The blues first gained popularity in the urban North, particularly in Chicago and New York City. In the 1920s and 1930s, musicians such as Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington helped to bring the blues to a wider audience.

In the 1940s and 1950s, a new generation of blues musicians, including Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, and John Lee Hooker, developed a more electrified sound that would soon be adopted by rock & roll musicians such as Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. In the 1960s and 1970s, artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin popularized the blues-rock sound.

Today, the blues can be heard in many different forms. It continues to influence both popular music and traditional folk music around the world.

The blues in the late 20th century

In the late 20th century, the term “the blues” was used as a catch-all for everything from traditional folk songs to R&B. In the 1960s, British Invasion bands like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin popularized the blues with a new generation of fans. In the 1970s, artists like Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney incorporated elements of the blues into their own music. Today, the blues is as popular as ever, with respected musicians like Bonnie Raitt and John Mayer carrying on the tradition.

The best of blues

The best blues albums

1. The Best of Muddy Waters – Muddy Waters
2. The Best of Howlin’ Wolf – Howlin’ Wolf
3. The Best of B.B. King – B.B. King
4. The Best of Albert King – Albert King
5. The Best of T-Bone Walker – T-Bone Walker
6. The Best of John Lee Hooker – John Lee Hooker
7. The Best of Guitar Slim – Guitar Slim
8. The Best of Slim Harpo – Slim Harpo
9. The Best of Lightnin’ Hopkins – Lightnin’ Hopkins

The best blues songs

Whether you’re a fan of the blues or not, there’s no denying that the genre has produced some of the best songs ever written. From heart-wrenching ballads to upbeat anthems, the best blues songs are timeless classics that have stood the test of time.

Here are just a few of the best blues songs of all time:

-“Sweet Home Chicago” by Robert Johnson
-“Crossroads” by Cream
-“The Blues Is Alright” by B.B. King
-“Born Under a Bad Sign” by Albert King
-“Stormy Monday” by T-Bone Walker
-“I Can’t Quit You Baby” by Willie Dixon
– “Going Down Slow” by Howlin Wolf

The best blues artists

The best blues artists of all time have been creating and performing music for decades. They have each helped to shape the genre in their own way and continue to influence modern blues artists. Here are just a few of the best blues artists of all time.

B.B. King
B.B. King is one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time. He is known for his signature style of playing, which combines elements of both jazz and blues. He has recorded over 50 albums and has received numerous awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters is another hugely influential blues artist. He was one of the first to bring the sound of delta blues to Chicago in the 1940s, helping to launch a new era in blues music. He is also credited with helping to develop the sound of electric blues.

Howlin’ Wolf
Howlin’ Wolf was another important figure in the development of electric blues. He was known for his powerful voice and unique style of singing, which he used to great effect on songs like “Smokestack Lightning” and “Spoonful”.

John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was a prolific recording artist, who released over 100 albums during his career. He was known for his distinctive guitar playing style, which incorporated elements of both country and blues music. His best-known songs include “Boom Boom” and “I’m John Lee Hooker”.

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