Billy Boy Arnold Biography
16 September 1935, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Arnold first played blues harmonica with Bo Diddleys group in 1950 and became a well-known figure in Chicago blues throughout the following two decades. Among those he accompanied were Johnny Shines and Otis Rush. With a serviceable singing voice and a harmonica style influenced by John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson, Arnold recorded as a solo artist for local labels Cool (Hello Stranger, 1952) and Vee Jay Records. In 1958 he led a group that included Mighty Joe Young and recorded for Mighty H. However, none of Arnolds records were as successful as the mid-50s hits of Bo Diddley such as Pretty Thing and Hey Bo Diddley, to which he contributed the keening harp phrases. The most renowned of Arnolds own tracks is I Wish You Would (Vee Jay), which was adopted by UK R&B group the Yardbirds in the 60s. During the mid-60s blues boom, he cut an album for Prestige/Bluesville, recorded with pianist Johnny Jones (a 1963 session that remained unreleased for 17 years), and there was also a later album for Vogue. Not forgotten by European blues enthusiasts, Arnold toured there in 1975 as part of the Blues Legends package, recording albums for Peter Shertsers UK-based Red Lightnin. He made a more prominent comeback in the early 90s, recording some excellent tracks for Alligator Records. He has continued recording regularly in the new millennium.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.