Why do you consider these people/bands to be blues bands?
2008-02-09 18:58:19 UTC
Don't get me wrong, these are great musicians. However, they don't belong in the blues category.

Led Zepplin
The Doors
The Rolling Stones
Jimi Hendrix
ZZ Top

Borderline Blues/rock
Eric Clapton
Allman Brothers

Again, understand that I am not knocking any of these folks. They are all great musicians.

I am really interested in WHY you consider these people in the blues category.

The face of blues and it's public perception is always changing. I am interested in why.

I am tired of people who book Blues Festivals who water down the line-up with 1960s and 1970s rock icons--great musicians, not blues.

To me, this is all about truth in advertising.

Please give me your reasons. If you need to call me a Blues Nazi first, feel free--get it out of your system. Then, give me some REASONS.

Thanks in Advance.
21 answers:
2008-02-09 19:32:38 UTC
wow, I have to completely agree with you...those bands aren't blues bands at all. The only reason I can think of as to why anyone would label them blues is this: people aren't comfortable putting those guys in the oldies section (which they are ready for due to how long they have been around) so it sounds much "hipper" to label them as blues. To me it is just baby boomers denying the gray hairs and impending AARP memberships and trying to stay hip.
Paul Hxyz
2008-02-13 07:50:23 UTC
I don't consider any of these bands to be "blues bands" - at least, not exclusively. I consider ALL of them to ROCK musicians that also played a lot of blues. The blues is a whole lot bigger than what a single individual (i.e., you) defines it to be. Here's my rundown:

Led Zeppelin: the HEAVIEST blues ever - still a rock band (example: "Kashmir" - definitely NOT blues).

The Doors - NOT a blues band, but played some blues ("Roadhouse").

The Rolling Stones - Rock'n'Roll mate - a lot of blues influences though that are obvious.

Jimi Hendrix - a category unto himself (at the time) the very first of the psychedelic blues rockers to hit the big time (thus the "blues from Mars" saying about his music). A blues musician yes, but in a whole new direction (at least, at the time), and definitely a ROCK guitarist.

Cream - Rock band that also played some blues.

AC/DC - I don't consider these guys to be blues at all, but they do some blues-based things, like "Show Business".

ZZ Top - Texas Boogie!!! YEE HAW!!! Definitely influenced by the blues (undeniably), but beyond "regular" blues... Texas Boogie Blues, if you will, heavily influenced by John Lee Hooker, etc.

Eric Clapton - blues and a whole lot more, but not JUST the blues.

Allman Brothers - the original Southern Rockers - influenced by the blues but came up with their own style.

SRV - blues and beyond.

I don't think you are a "Blues Nazi" - I think you have strong personal opinions about what you consider to be the blues, and that is perfectly fine.
2008-02-12 12:50:08 UTC
I have to agree with conchobor2. The blues has evolved in many directions over the years, so that there are many types of blues, just as rock has evolved. In my opinion, to say that SRV, for example, is not blues, is like saying the Rolling Stones, or even Nickelback, are not rock because they aren't playing the music the way is was when in was born in the 1950s. I can't say that I would call all of those bands blues, but certainly some of them. Early ZZ Top was definitely Texas blues, but they changed their focus with commercial success (and there's nothing wrong with that).
2008-02-13 12:57:56 UTC
There's really a genre that started in the 60s when the white boys discovered the blues called "blues rock." It's not exactly defined, sometimes it's more rock than blues and vice versa. I would say that all these groups and individuals are "blues influenced," e.g., Led Zep & Clapton (with John Mayall, Cream & solo when he plays blues) by Robert Johnson & Willie Dixon, among others. Like you, SRV is one of my favs and I frankly don't care what category he's in or isn't, he was simply a great player who developed his own distinctive style & sound, albeit heavily influenced by Albert King as well as Jimi Hendrix & others.

Many early Stones' pieces were R & B covers (e.g "Hitchhike," "Can I Get a Witness," "Walking the Dog," "Under the Boardwalk," etc., by artists as diverse as Marvin Gaye, Rufus Thomas & the Drifters) as well as blues ("I'm a King Bee," Little Red Rooster," "I Just Wanna Make Love to You," etc. by the likes of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon & others). And of course their rock was greatly influenced by Chuck Berry.

Hendrix was his own style, a great psychedelic rocker if you will, but he could do straight blues, such as the well known "Red House."

The Doors were a rock band that could sound bluesy (e.g., "Back Door Man," "Roadhouse Blues") and remain a fav of mine.

The Allman Bros were much in the vein of SRV, in that they are a strong combo of rock & blues. I like their stuff, but not as much as SRV.

I'm just glad that as a kid in the 60s I became aware of the blues thru the likes of the Stones, the Animals, & the Yarbirds from the "rock side" and more directly by early white straight blues purveyors like the great Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Charlie Musselwhite, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers & John Hammond Jr.

As for AC/DC, I'm just not a fan & therefore am somewhat negatively biased, so I won't comment further. As for ZZ Top, I suppose they are blues influenced, and I like them for what they are - kind of a glorified, very one-dimensional bar band.

Finally, gotta put in a word for one of my favs who doesn't get enough cred, the great Alvin Lee of Ten Years After. He's primarily a rocker but he was/is more than just fast - he can play the blues as well as jazz influenced stuff. One of the great live albums of all time is TYA's "Undead."
2008-02-09 23:35:31 UTC
I don't consider them blues. A partial explanation might be found in Sweet Pea's answer, which says that "the early Stones were blues based and influenced by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. ..which was the blues" No offense intended, but neither Chuck or Bo are blues musicians, they are two of the originators of rock & roll. People's opinions vary as much as music does. Z.Z. Top are direct descendants of John Lee Hooker's boogie sound. Led Zeppelin may not be purely blues, but the fact that they recorded LOTS of pure blues is undeniable. The same could be said about Hendrix, Clapton, Cream, etc. Where do we draw the line? I absolutely consider Paul Butterfield to be not only a blue musician, but one of the greatest harp players ever, yet he did lots of other things as well. On the other side of the coin, true blues musicians such as Muddy, B.B., John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, etc cut tracks that have, at best, a marginal tie to blues. Personally, I think categorization is useful to an extent-I have 12,000 records and if they weren't sorted by genre, I'd spend all my time trying to find albums, rather than listening to them. On the other hand, I never limit myself to anything written in stone.
2008-02-13 14:38:04 UTC
I think what is, is that the classic rock sound doesn't have a genre to fit into anymore in popular music. Folks like these above do play blues songs with rock edges with Clapton and SRV and Hendrix (when he wanted to) boiled it down to the real blues once in awhile.

However, blues-rock is finding a prominence at these festivals you speak of because the middle-class, white crowd who loved the musics of these bands in their hey-day doesn't know where to go anymore. Country isn't country, it's rock with roots instruments and over-gelled pop.

Blues has more players from the late 60s and early 70s who want to do Albert King and B.B. King and Freddie King and kick it up a notch because they don't think it can hold a crowd captivated for long enough.

Blues, for the most part, has become watered down in certain circles to cater to tastes that sell records. Or blues is being mixed with other genres like jazz, folk, country, zydeco, etc. for a different sound to again, cater to tastes to sell records. No one wants to hear a straight ahead shuffle in the vein of Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Son House, Muddy Waters, etc. because that's the old stuff, it's stale and out of date. It's all complete crap reasons, but that's the reason I get.

I'm a harmonica player and vocalist and can't find a job in a band because I was told the songs that I write and want to cover are old and it's "not the blues people want to hear." I'm only 24 and it's turning me into one of these nazi purists of which you speak.
2008-02-09 22:16:47 UTC
I agree and disagree with you..if that makes any sense. Rolling Stones are rock...really there greatest blues influence was Muddy Waters and they did do some music with him..they also named their group after his song...but they are rock. Doors to me do not fit in the blues...only song I can even think of that has a blues influence, would be soul kitchen. Zepplin was never called a blues band that I know of..and I have been listening to them since their 1st album...but they have done some great blues songs..redone them and they also happen to be Muddy Waters...even Whole Lotta Love was a Muddy song...but in no way should they be listed as a blues band...when they started they were really considered to be quite on the heavy rock side and very controversial...they had no radio air play until Stairway to heaven. AC/DC in no way is blues just good rock...yes they are able also to play some blues...but always have been rockers. Never really was a cream fan...and never would think of them as blues. ZZ Top seem to enjoy trying to imitate the blues..they love to throw in that John Lee Hooker sound..but not! Now where I disagree with you is 1st Eric...he started with the blues..he went to rock for the money...but has found his way back...and without a doubt Eric can wail on that guitar! I see the Allman Brothers as a southern rock band not blues..I do love their music.though. Now how you can call SRV...Borderline blues...OMG...Have you really listened to all his music...and have you ever gotten to see him when he was alive...he was the his way and he was great!

My fav. blues players are I will only list a few..

Buddy Guy...Albert King...John Lee Hooker...Muddy Waters...Howlin Wolf...Johnny Winters...Koko Taylor...Lonnie Brooks...oh just way to many to the way great Q!
2008-02-10 06:28:58 UTC
I wouldn't really call them Blues bands,however many of them had great blues tunes,either covered or original tracks like...the Stones doing "Red Rooster"....Zepplin's "Since I've been love'in you" ...AC/DC's "Ride On"... and the Allman Brothers' "Statesboro Blues" to name a few.....

Page and Clapton were greatly influenced by the blues of the late fifties and early sixties, and many like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray and Clapton played with or worked some of the greats.
2008-02-09 20:20:19 UTC
I 100% agree with you, all of those artists are great.. but none really fit in the blues category. Led Zeppelin and The Doors had many influences from the blues ... so they Incorporated some blues in their music.. but it was mostly rock.

The early Rolling Stones was very much blues *based*. Their influences were Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.. which was the blues. They drifted out of that a couple years later when Brian Jones died.

Jimi Hendrix was also inspired by many blues.. and did incorporate blues into his music.. but he was definitely rock and roll..

Cream, I would say was a mix of psychedelic/rock/and some .. some blues. They also mixed a little element of blues in there.

AC/DC and ZZ Top are great.. but not blues.

Eric Clapton had two things goin' for him.. He had his blues AND rock.. Two things he did great.
2008-02-10 23:25:40 UTC
Of the ones you list they all do blue songs and have always said they were influenced by the old blues artists. Eric Clapton has done many ROBERT JOHNSON songs and even has one album, CROSSROAD by Robert Johnson is featured. The Rolling Stones started doing blues covers...Its All Over Now, Little Red Rooster, etc.....The Doors ROAD HOUSE BLUES....Led Zep ripped off lyrics from many blues artists in alot of their first LPs....CREAM is British Blues for sure....the key is they all do or have done BLUE SONGS but are not necessarily BLUES BANDS OR ARTISTS.
2008-02-11 10:57:25 UTC
I goodly dose of their material are blues.

Thus, they play the blues. So I would call them blues musicians.

I would certainly not mention them in the same breath as "real" bluesmen like B.B. King, T-Bone Walker, and a whole long list that Martin Couch would approve of ...

But heck, I consider Jimmie Rodgers a bluesman too (in that he played a goodly amount of blues in his material)

Josh White, Blind Blake, Robert Johnson, Bobby Blue Bland, Big Bill Broonzey ... they all were blues musicians that played quite a number of tunes that were not blues ....

There is just no 'black and white' answer to catagorizing music.
2008-02-09 23:28:10 UTC
Those names, like the Allmans, are booked to up the gate take and fund the festival.

The Rolling Stones recorded their first album at Chess studios in Chicago, playing nothing but blues songs. As the other poster said, it was Brian's expulsion and death that led them down other paths.

All of the names you mentioned dabbled in blues early in their careers. Eric Clapton was a Blues Nazi himself as a young man- he left the Yardbirds for John Mayall because of the Yardbirds hit "For Your Love".

SRV has a cult following as scary as suicide bombers, so I don't even bother discussing him. You'd think he invented blues to read their posts.

Jimi Hendrix began as a blues guitarist in support of many well known artists and was even in Little Richard's band for a while before he changed his style. His music is firmly rooted in the blues, as are all of the artists you mentioned.

The Allmans did covers of many songs by blues greats before Duane's death.

But, what Jim Morrison did when he tried to sing blues was criminal. He should have stuck to whatever it is that made him some sort of blubbery god.

Addendum: As usual, Martin makes a good point. Chuck Berry freely admits he turned the country music he heard as a child into rock, because where he lived, there was no blues radio to be heard (or maybe his parents were country fans, as are many African Americans in the Deep South where I live.)

The Stones spent the mid-sixties turning Willie Dixon licks sideways or upside down, using reverb, to create all of those angry rock songs like "Have You Seen Your Mother" and "19th Nervous Breakdown". If you listen carefully, later on, "Gimme Shelter" was a cleverly disguised remake of a Chuck Berry intro.
Michael R
2008-02-13 16:32:06 UTC
I'm going to start with your first group of bands listed.Led Zeppelin covered more than a few blues songs but they aren't a blues band.They were one of the 1970's rock icons.The Doors?Roadhouse Blues?That's Lonnie Mack on guitar having to take Robbie Krieger to the woodshed.The Stones were certainly influenced by Muddy Waters(there is a widely distributed bootleg of Muddy with Mick and Keith playing together at The Checkerboard Lounge).But they aren't really blues.More like the early Chuck Berry rock stuff than straight blues(and by the way,Chuck released a very under appreciated blues album -Live At The Fillmore with the Steve Miller Band.And although Chuck fused country with the rock music of the day wasn't he really playing some 12 bar blues?I thought so.).And their first album was NOT recorded in Chicago at Chess Studios.They did record quite a bit of 12x5 there,but that wasn't their first album.Revisionist history should be so kind.Hendrix was influenced by many different styles of music and blues was one of them.He recorded some excellent blues and blues based songs,but he was more than a blues guitarist.Much more.AC/DC is all rock even though they have a few blues based songs in their catalog.The early ZZ Top was certainly very much in the blues.But Eliminator and their mid 80's stuff,they certainly ventured away from the blues.Look up their early stuff,I think you'd have to agree.

Now as to your second group.The Allman Brothers first.They would be considered the pioneers of what is referred to as Southern Rock.But the Live At The Fillmore East is certainly very much a blues album(s).They have enough musicianship and street cred to be a blues group when they want to be.Stevie Ray Vaughan is truly a blues guitarist.He played with blues greats like B.B and Albert King,Buddy Guy.He covered songs from artists like Elmore James and Guitar Slim.If B.B King and Buddy Guy(who are still alive)think that Stevie Ray Vaughan was a blues player-who are you to disagree?Eric Clapton is a blues player.You don't have to like it,but you know it's true.From The London Howlin Wolf Sessions to his adulation of Robert Johnson -he plays the blues.In Buddy Guy's boxset there is a clip of Eric jamming with Buddy Guy back in the 60's.They are still tight today.Just because he releases some albums that aren't blues doesn't mean he isn't a blues artist.You listen to Electric Mud?That doesn't exactly qualify as straight blues and you gonna tell me that Muddy Waters wasn't a blues artist?

As far as festivals go-here in Chicago the headliner this year is B.B.King.The Blues Festival here isn't a watered down lineup of 60's and 70's rock icons and never has been.I'm really sorry for you that the festivals in your area suck but don't put all them all in the same basket of junk that you don't like.

What makes me an expert?Nothing and I'm not one.I don't have the largest record collection in the world and I'm not really a purist like some.That's their thing and God love them for it.But I'm old enough to have my AARP membership at the ready.I'm old enough to have seen Muddy Waters playing in clubs.I saw Muddy play with Johnny Winter,James Cotton and Eric Clapton.I've seen Eric play with Buddy Guy at Buddy's club here.Hell,I saw Wille Dixon playing a few years before he passed.One of my prized possessions is a postcard I received from the late Luther Allison 30 some years ago.

I'm not a Nazi;but I've seen more than my share of the "classic"greats and I have a pretty good idea as to what the blues are.We may disagree once in a while - but that's what makes for interesting discussion like this.And that's why they sell so many different types of music,isn't it?
Sarah G
2008-02-10 10:30:43 UTC
Alot of the bands you listed were and are heavily influenced by true early blues artists, and have written and recorded true blues on their albums. I agree that these bands should not be addressed as 'blues bands/artists', but the music industry is constantly trying to get the public to label music artists as a marketing gimmick.
2008-02-10 12:24:28 UTC
If you are referring to "Pure" blues then you are quite correct - most of these bands/performers play some blues & some Rock and Roll. Out of all of them I would say Eric Clapton, Led Zep & Allman Bros. are nearest to "Blues" I don't consider AC/DC or ZZ Top to be blues performers AT ALL.(can't think of one track of theirs which resembles blues - and with these 2 bands, think of one track, you've thought of them all!)
2008-02-10 19:41:59 UTC
I agree with you - went to a so-called 'blues festival in antioch last year and left early; not sure what it was other than disappointing. A little Zydeco, a little Latin, and a big yawn.
2008-02-09 21:53:41 UTC
I agree with you......these days there is so much crossing over....that dividing lines are disappearing......and while every artist or band can quite successfully step out from their usual banner from time to does not mean that is where they fit.

To me some of the best blues artists......are follows

Chris Rea

601 Blues

Barbara Blue

James Carr

Bonnie Raitt

Alvin Lee

Ian Seigal

Long John Baldry

Jo Ann Kelly

The list goes on and on and some may disagree with me on my picks..............especially what with genres such as rock/blues/ and so on it is becoming harder to define.
2008-02-09 19:39:15 UTC
I have to agree. I'm a fan of Chicago Blues and the bands you mention are good they should not be confused with blues.
2008-02-09 21:43:23 UTC
I myself do not consider any of those bluse bands or singers. Maybe they got their ideas & were inspired by the blues greats. It beats the h--- out of me!
2008-02-10 04:13:44 UTC
Rock came with the Beatles. I'd say they invented Rock when they ignored the boos and catcalls in Hamburg, and continued playing exactly what they wanted until it became more widely accepted. Compared to whatever came before them, they sounded ridiculous, almost a joke,but someone of John Lennon's character didn't seem to care, he even did things like wear toilet seats around his neck to eventually win the harsh audiences over....

But, all the artists you've mentionned, and many more, were inspired as youngsters by the Beatles, and tried to get into Rock. So, Rock, riding the wave of the Beatles, by the late '60's, was saturated with too many good bands. Artists coming after them had to look into genres other than Rock in which to excel, in order to earn a better slice of the pie.

That is why, I think Jim Morrison and Eric Clapton, both tried very hard to get into Blues, when in fact, both did better in Rock. Remember. Clapton left the Yardbirds and joined John Mayall's Blues Breakers even before Cream. He's always played a little of both.

CCR. coming along, too, at about that time, would have become little more than a garage band, compared to the Beatles, had they not looked for their unique style- a Blues known as Louisiana Bayou Blues. Very few big names continue in it, nowadays, except Tony Joe White

The Allman Brothers were clever enough, too, in realizing, they had embarked onto the Rock Scene much too late, In fact, they had already had flopped, (twice), as a Rock Band in the mid-to late 60's, with the "Allman Joys", and also, "Hourglass", so when they reformed got into, "anything but Rock", and originally told everyone that The Allman Brother's Band was a "Jazz Band".

In fact, I think the Allman Brothers might have been one of the the first "Bands", too, because, in the '60's I think the catchword at the time was "Rock Group". Rock wasn't, "band", music, but "ensemble",or, "group" music. They were trying to bury the old Glenn Miller style big "band"/orchestra overrated dance band thing of the older generation.

Robert Plant was always a Blues singer, even before Led Zeppelin. And the Stones, of course loved Blues, and their first two Albums, and B sides of later Albums even are very very Bluesy..
2008-02-13 14:50:48 UTC
I agree!

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