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Fuller Up:The Dead Musicians Directory
 
Amos Blackmore
Junior Wells
January 15, 1998
Age 63
 
lymphoma
OBITUARY
BIOGRAPHY
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 Blues Icon  Dead
 
   
 
News Flash: Blues Great Junior Wells Dead At 63
 
by Chris Nelson
 
                                Chicago legend joined Muddy Waters' band when he was just 18.

                                Blues-harmonica legend Junior Wells, famed for his tireless touringschedule and
                                work with artists such as Buddy Guy and the Rolling Stones, died Thursday in a
                                Chicago hospital after struggling for several months with lymphatic cancer. He
                                was 63.

                                Mr. Wells had been under doctors' care for lymphoma last
                                September when he went into cardiac arrest and
                                subsequently fell into a coma.

                                The harp player, whose financial generosity was
                                well-known throughout the blues community, was heard
                                most recently on the Rolling Stones tribute album Paint It
                                Blue, for which he recorded a smoldering version of "(I
                                Can't Get No) Satisfaction." Mr. Wells also has a role in
                                the soon-to-be-released film "Blues Brothers 2000." In
                                addition, his latest album, Live At Buddy Guy's Legends,
                                was recently nominated for a Grammy award in the Best
                                Traditional Blues Album category.

                                "He had such a power in him, such emotive presence,
                                that even listening to him on a record you could almost
                                see him," harmonica player Sugar Blue told the
                                Associated Press.

                                Mr. Wells was born Amos Blackmore in 1934, in
                                Memphis, Tenn. As a child, he played harp in Memphis,
                                learning the instrument from Junior Parker before his
                                family headed to the electric blues Mecca of Chicago.

                                An oft-repeated tale about Mr. Wells says that, as a young
                                boy, he saw a $2 harmonica in a store. Since he only had
                                $1.50 to his name, he laid his money on the counter,
                                grabbed the harp and ran. Mr. Wells was soon nabbed by
                                police, but after a judge heard Mr. Wells play, the judge is
                                said to have handed the shop owner the 50-cent balance
                                and told Mr. Wells to be on his way.

                                By age 18, Mr. Wells had joined the band of blues great
                                Muddy Waters, with whom he recorded his first solo hit,
                                the classic "Hoodoo Man." With later songs such as
                                "Messin' With the Kid" and "Little By Little," Mr. Wells
                                de-emphasized his harp and concentrated instead on his
                                sensual vocals.

                                For more than 30 years, Mr. Wells played on and off with
                                guitarist Buddy Guy. Together the pair released more than
                                a half-dozen albums, including the Buddy Guy and Junior
                                Walker Play the Blues, which featured guest Eric
                                Clapton. The bluesmen maintained a fruitful relationship,
                                and Wells' Live At Buddy Guy's Legends was recorded at
                                his friend's Chicago nightclub.

                                Prior to that, Mr. Wells' previous album, Come On In This
                                House, received a 1996 Grammy nomination for Best
                                Traditional Blues Album.

                                Mr. Wells has long been cited by non-blues musicians
                                such as Carlos Santana and Van Morrison as an
                                important influence. During the 1970s, both Mr. Wells and
                                Guy were invited by the Rolling Stones to open several
                                tour dates for the superstar rock-band. More recently, a
                                sample of Mr. Wells' harp-playing from the song "Snatch It
                                Back And Hold It" was used prominently in the song
                                "Mama's Always On Stage" on Arrested Development's
                                1992 multi-platinum debut, 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days In The Life Of....

 
Copyright © 1997 Addicted To Noise. All rights reserved.

 Junior Wells Biography
 
 

JUNIOR WELLS
December 9, 1934 - January 15, 1998
 
 
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