Paul Butterfield

Genres: Blues Pop / Rock
Tags: blues harmonica blues chicago blues harmonica blues rock Powered by AudioScrobbler
Decades: 1990s 2000s
Links: allmusic discogs image VIAF wikidata wikipedia


17 December 1942, Chicago, Illinois, USA, d. 3 May 1987, Hollywood, California, USA. As a catalyst, Butterfield helped to shape the development of blues music played by white musicians in the same way that John Mayall and Cyril Davies did in the UK. Butterfield had the advantage of performing with Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and his mentor Little Walter. He sang, composed and led a series of seminal bands throughout the 60s, but it was his earthy Chicago-style harmonica playing that gained him attention. He was arguably the first white man to play blues with the intensity and emotion of the great black blues harmonica players. Mike Bloomfield, Mark Naftalin, Elvin Bishop, David Sanborn and Nick Gravenites were some of the outstanding musicians that passed through his bands. His now infamous performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival gave him the distinction of being the man who supported Bob Dylan’s musical heresy by going electric.

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