2 min readLegendary Chicago ‘West Side Sound’ Blues Man Otis Rush Passes Away

Legendary Chicago blues guitarist Otis Rush, whose passionate, jazz-tinged music influenced artists from Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton to the rock band Led Zeppelin, died Saturday, September 29, 2018, at the age of 84, his longtime manager said. He is survived by his wife Masaki Rush, eight children and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren

He was a key architect of the Chicago “West Side Sound” in the 1950s and 1960s, which modernized traditional blues to introduce more of a jazzy, amplified sound. Rush succumbed to complications from a stroke he suffered in 2003, manager Rick Bates said.

His contributions to the Blues, and the influence he had on Rock, has and will echo through the years. He has recorded a catalog of music that contains many songs that are now considered blues classics, and influenced many Rock artists that followed. He was placed at Number 53 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists.

Rush was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1935 and began teaching himself the guitar at age eight. He moved to Chicago in 1949 and was inspired to pursue music full time after seeing Muddy Waters live. Catapulted to international fame in 1956, Rush released his first, and most successful single, “I Can’t Quit You Baby.” Along with its chart success, Led Zeppelin famously covered the cut on their 1969 debut album.

Otis Rush I Can't Quit You Baby


Rush recorded with a revolving cast of musicians that included Ike Turner, Big Walter Horton, Little Walter and Little Brother Montgomery. His output also featured classic cuts such as “My Love Will Never Die,” “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)” (later covered by John Mayall) and “Double Trouble” (Stevie Ray Vaughan later named his band after that track). His direct influence continued on to many Rock artists including John Mayall, Mike Bloomfield, Led Zeppelin,  Peter Green and Eric Clapton, among countless others.

Otis Rush - My Love Will Never Die


Rush won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Recording in 1999 for “Any Place I’m Going,” and he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984. The Jazz Foundation of America honored Rush with a Lifetime Achievement Award on April 20, 2018 “for a lifetime of genius and leaving an indelible mark in the world of blues and the universal language of music.”


Otis Rush - Any Place I'm Going



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