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Died On This Date (May 24, 1963) Elmore James / Blues Great

Posted by themusicsover on May 24, 2010

Elmore James
January 27, 1918 – May 24, 1963

Elmore James was and is the undisputed King Of The Slide Guitar. James began making music on a one-string instrument at the age of twelve and by his mid teens, he was playing local dances and juke joints until he went off to fight in World War II. He was part of the US Navy and was there for the invasion of Guam against the Japanese. After the war, James returned to Mississippi only to learn that he had a serious heart condition. He settled in with his adopted brother and began working in his radio repair shop. It was there that James began to tinker with his amps to create a unique sound that could only be called raw and distorted. So ahead of his time, that sound wouldn’t hit the mainstream until rock musicians made it their own in the ’60s. As the ’50s dawned, James began recording sides for Trumpet Records, first as a side man and then front and center after the surprise R&B hit of his “Dust My Broom.”  James made a go at the road, but his poor health brought him back home where he worked a bit as a disc jockey and radio repairman while he continued to make records. He suffered two heart attacks during this period, but the third one on May 24, 1963 proved to be fatal. Elmore James died at the age of age of 45, very young by blues standards.

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