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Center of the Blues Universe
Guitar icon Johnny Winter's emergence on the national music scene in 1969 created a sensation among Rock and Blues audiences. The first of his many hit albums for Columbia Records featured the song "Leland, Mississippi Blues," which paid tribute to his roots here. Winter's grandfather and father, a former mayor of Leland, operated a cotton business, J. D. Winter & Son, at this site. Winter was born in Texas in 1944 but spent parts of his childhood in Leland.
Little Jr. Parker sang in gospel groups as a child, and played on the various blues circuits beginning in his teenage years. His biggest influence as a harmonica player was Sonny Boy Williamson, with whom he worked before moving on to work for Howlin' Wolf in 1949. In 1950, he was a member of Memphis's ad hoc group, the Beale Streeters, with Bobby 'Blue' Bland and B.B. King. Ike Turner signed him to Modern Records label where he came to the attention of Sam Phillips. He had a string of hits before his death on Nov. 18, 1971, at age 39, during surgery for a brain tumor.
Little Milton Campbell, one of the world's leading performers of Blues and Soul music for several decades, was born on the George Bowles plantation about two miles southwest of this site on September 7, 1933. Acclaimed as both a singer and guitarist, Campbell was a longtime crowd favorite at Mississippi festivals and nightclubs. His hits included "We're Gonna Make It," "The Blues is Alright," and "That's What Love Will Make You Do." He died in Memphis on August 4, 2005.
Memphis Minnie, one of the best female blues singer of all times, was among twenty performers inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980.
The marker pays tribute to the American Blues Network, which has taken Mississippi and the rest of the nation by storm. This is the first blues trail marker to reach the Gulf Coast, an area that once frequently traveled as the chittlin’ circuit.
Honors musicians Gus Cannon, Robert Wilkins and Jim Jackson. Gus Cannon, born in Red Banks, MS, wrote "Walk Right In." Robert Wilkins and Jim Jackson are Hernando natives.
Vicksburg is home to five blues trails markers: The Blue Room, Highway 61 South, Marcus Bottom, The Red Tops and Willie Dixon.
c. 1889. The center includes a fully restored historic 1889 Grand Opera House theater. Throughout the year musical performances and theater presentations offer world-class entertainment. This famous structure seats approximately 950, offers a 200-seat studio theater, and consists of 30,000 square feet of meeting space, including a large exhibit hall, break out rooms and board rooms, all equipped with teleconferencing capabilities and built-in technical features to create the optimal meeting environment. Be sure to visit the MSU Riley Center website to see a list of year round performances and top name entertainment.
"Muddy Waters" Blues Trail Marker was placed in Clarksdale, MS designating the site of Muddy Waters' cabin to commemorate his importance to the music industry, especially the blues. His birth name was McKinley Morganfield. He was a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and bandleader. He received six Grammy awards, five Blues Music Awards, and was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1994 the U. S. Postal Service put his photo on the 29 cent stamp.
Nelson Street in Greenville was the equivalent of Beale Street in Memphis in the mid-1900s.
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