The blues is a chair. Not a design for a chair, or a better chair…it is the first chair. It is a chair for sitting on, not chairs for looking at or being appreciated. You sit on that music.
-John Lennon, 1970
As Lennon so wonderfully explained, the black American blues music of Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf and others formed the foundation on which sat British rock music of the early sixties. It was easy to point out the differences between the jubilant, harmony-rich pop of the Beatles, the dual guitar attack of the Stones, and the angst-filled drone of The Animals and Van Morrison’s Them, but they all shared the same source of inspiration.
In this week’s installment of Guitar George, we find two old bluesmen literally and figuratively sitting on “the chair” that John Lennon described. One of these old bluesmen was a skinny, starving teenager when he first taught himself to play this song in a tiny apartment in London with his pals Brian and Mick.