The birth of blues in Mississippi is part of its rich cultural heritage and long history of producing some of the world’s most talented musicians. From country to soul, R&B to rock, and even rap, Mississippi has raised outstanding singers, songwriters, and even multi-instrumentalists that continue to inspire new generations of artists.
Let’s take a closer look at the 20 famous musicians from Mississippi, exploring their contributions to music and their huge influence on the industry:
- 1. Elvis Presley
- 2. Charley Pride
- 3. Bo Diddley
- 4. LeAnn Rimes
- 5. B.B. King
- 6. Conway Twitty
- 7. Muddy Waters
- 8. Howlin’ Wolf
- 9. Mississippi John Hurt
- 10. John Lee Hooker
- 11. Hayley Williams
- 12. Sam Cooke
- 13. Jimmy Rogers
- 14. Son House
- 15. Rufus Thomas
- 16. Big K.R.I.T.
- 17. Alexander O’Neal
- 18. Marty Stuart
- 19. Matt Barlow
- 20. Delaney Bramlett
1. Elvis Presley
Known as the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley rose to fame in the 1950s with his unique blend of country, blues, and rock music. His distinctive voice and energetic performances made him a cultural icon and a pioneer of rock and roll music.
Throughout his career, he recorded over 700 songs and had numerous chart-topping hits, including “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Suspicious Minds.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and continues to be celebrated as one of the most influential musicians of all time.
2. Charley Pride
Charley Pride is a country music legend known for his smooth baritone voice and traditional country sound. He was the first African American to achieve major success in country music, with multiple Grammy awards to his name.
Some of his most famous songs include “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” and “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me).”
3. Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley was a pioneering figure in rock and roll music. He was known for his distinctive “shave and a haircut, two bits” beat, which became a hallmark of rock and roll music. He recorded numerous hits throughout the 1950s and 1960s, including “Bo Diddley,” “I’m a Man,” and “Who Do You Love.”
In addition to his music career, he was also an accomplished guitarist and songwriter, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
4. LeAnn Rimes
LeAnn Rimes is a country music singer-songwriter and actress. She rose to fame as a teenager with her hit version of Bill Mack’s “Blue,” which earned her a Grammy award.
She has since recorded numerous chart-topping hits, including “How Do I Live,” “Can’t Fight the Moonlight,” and “One Way Ticket (Because I Can).” Besides her work in music, she has also appeared in various movies and TV programs.
5. B.B. King
B.B. King was a blues musician known for his soulful guitar playing and distinctive voice. He recorded numerous hits throughout his career, including “The Thrill Is Gone,” “Every Day I Have the Blues,” and “Sweet Little Angel.” He has won 15 Grammy Awards and other recognitions, being the best in his craft.
6. Conway Twitty
Conway Twitty was a country and rockabilly music singer famed for his smooth voice and romantic ballads. He recorded numerous hits throughout his career, including “Hello Darlin’,” “Tight Fittin’ Jeans,” “Linda On My Mind,” and “It’s Only Make Believe.”
He was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and holds a record for the most number one singles on the country music charts, with 40 in total.
7. Muddy Waters
A blues legend who helped shape the sound of modern blues music, Muddy Waters was a singer-songwriter and musician.
He recorded numerous hits throughout his career, including “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I’m Ready,” “Mannish Boy,” and “Rollin’ Stone.” He was a major influence on many musicians, including the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.
8. Howlin’ Wolf
Howlin’ Wolf, born Chester Arthur Burnett, was a blues singer known for his powerful voice and charismatic stage presence.
He recorded numerous hits throughout his career, including “Smokestack Lightnin’,” “Spoonful,” and “Killing Floor.” His music spans multiple genres, such as psychedelic rock, rock and roll, and blues.
9. Mississippi John Hurt
Mississippi John Hurt was a blues singer and guitarist known for his gentle voice and intricate fingerpicking style.
His versions of “Spike Driver Blues” and “Frankie” were popular among listeners. He recorded several albums and performed at festivals and concerts.
10. John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was a blues singer-songwriter and guitarist famed for his raw, powerful voice and driving guitar riffs. He recorded numerous hits throughout his career, including “Boom Boom,” “Dimples,” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.”
He has won four Grammy Awards and has been inducted in multiple halls of fame for his work as a musician.
11. Hayley Williams
Best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Paramore, Hayley Williams is a singer-songwriter and musician. She has released six studio albums with Paramore, including the hit singles “Only Exception,” “Misery Business,” “Still Into You,” and “Ain’t It Fun.”
She has also collaborated with other artists, such as Zedd, B.O.B. and Chvrches. She has won several awards for her music, including a Grammy Award and is still popular in the alternative pop-punk scene.
12. Sam Cooke
The man behind the hit song “Wonderful World,” Sam Cooke was a soul and R&B singer known for his smooth voice and gospel-influenced style. He recorded numerous hits throughout his career, including “You Send Me,” “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and “Twistin’ the Night Away.”
He was a major influence on many musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his iconic contribution to soul music.
13. Jimmy Rogers
Jimmy Rogers was a blues musician and singer who played with Muddy Waters and other blues legends. He recorded numerous hits throughout his career, including “That’s All Right,” “Walking By Myself,” and “Chicago Bound.” he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
14. Son House
Son House was a Delta blues singer and guitarist known for his intense, raw style. He recorded several songs in the 1930s, including “Preachin’ the Blues” and “Death Letter.” He performed at festivals and concerts and he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
15. Rufus Thomas
Rufus Thomas was a singer, comedian, and DJ who was a pioneer of Southern soul music. He recorded numerous hits throughout his career, including “Do the Funky Chicken,” “Walking the Dog,” and “Push and Pull.”
He was a major influence on many musicians, including Otis Redding. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and also had a successful career as a radio personality and hosted various shows.
16. Big K.R.I.T.
Big K.R.I.T. is a rapper and producer known for his Southern hip-hop style. He has released several critically acclaimed albums and mixtapes, including “K.R.I.T. Iz Here” and “4eva Is a Mighty Long Time.”
He has collaborated with numerous artists, including Bun B and Ludacris. He has performed in various concert tours as a co-headliner, along with other rappers such as Smoke DZA and Curren$y.
17. Alexander O’Neal
Alexander O’Neal is an R&B singer-songwriter and music arranger. He has released several albums throughout his career, including “Hearsay” and “All True Man,” and he has had numerous hits, including “If You Were Here Tonight” and “Fake.” He has collaborated with several artists and bands, including Mamma Freedom.
18. Marty Stuart
Marty Stuart is a country music singer, songwriter, and musician. He has released several albums throughout his career, including “Hillbilly Rock” and “The Pilgrim,” and he has had numerous hits, including “Tempted” and “This One’s Gonna Hurt You.”
He has also worked as a session musician and producer for other artists, including Johnny Cash and Travis Tritt. He has won five Grammy Awards because of his country and bluegrass music.
19. Matt Barlow
Matt Barlow is a heavy metal singer known for his powerful vocals. He was the lead singer for the band Iced Earth and he has also recorded with the bands Pyramaze and Ashes of Ares.
He has been praised for his dynamic and emotional performances and is considered one of the best heavy metal vocalists of his generation. Some of the albums that he took part in are “Ancestral Energy,” and “Burnt Offerings.”
20. Delaney Bramlett
Delaney Bramlett was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist known for his work in the 1960s and 1970s with his wife Bonnie Bramlett.
Together, they formed the band Delaney & Bonnie and Friends and recorded several albums, including “Accept No Substitute” and “Motel Shot.” They also collaborated with other artists, including Eric Clapton and George Harrison.
Mississippi is home to some of the all-time greatest musicians who have made a huge impact on the music industry. From blues to rock and roll, Mississippi has a rich musical history and a legacy that has helped bring people together and overcome racial barriers.
So, if you want to find some of the most influential musicians in history, then look no further than the talented artists who hail from this state.
LeAnn Rimes Featured Image (Top-Right) by: PRSA-NY, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
B.B. King Featured Image (Bottom-Left) by: Tom Beetz, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hayley Williams Featured Image (Bottom-Right) by: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons