WILLIE "BIG EYES" SMITH
 


Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, played drums with the incomparable Muddy Waters for fifteen years. His traditional "shuffle" style has been regarded as the heart and soul of the Chicago blues sound, with Willie laying the beat behind many of the blues classics. Willie was born in Helena, Arkansas in 1936. At the age of 17 he ventured to Chicago where he saw his first Muddy Waters performance. Willie was hooked on the blues and the attraction to the music persuaded him to stay in Chicago. In 1957 Muddy Waters asked Willie to join the band. After performing with Waters, Smith established his own niche within the tradition of the Delta Blues Sound by co-founding the Legendary Blues Band with Pinetop Perkins, Louis Meyers, Calvin Jones, and Jerry Portnoy. The group won six Grammy awards, recorded four critically acclaimed albums on the Ichiban label, backed up Buddy Guy, Howlin' Wolf and Junior Wells, toured with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. They also played behind Muddy for the soundtrack of the movie "The Last Waltz." Their best known appearance was in the movie "The Blues Brothers," where they played street musicians backing John Lee Hooker.

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