Some, such as Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, Eric Claption and Chuck Berry, owe Willie Dixon a chunk of nearly every dime they ever made, and an earful of nearly every ovation they ever received.
If there'd been no Willie Dixon, Chess Records wouldn't have been as mighty a force as it was in shaping the great post-war explosion, and in helping to build the foundation of rock 'n' roll. And a lot of Led Zepplin fans would still have their hearing.
Willie Dixon is the man who changed the style of the blues. As a songwriter and producer, the man was a genius. If you wanted a hit song, you went to Willie Dixon. Played it like he said play it, and sing it like he said sing it, and you damn near always had a hit.
We heard Cream's strut-and-shout cover of "Spoonful" but it was written for Howlin' Wolf, who had a blues hit with it in 1960, "Little Red Rooster" was perfect for the Rolling Stones, but it was another Dixon song written for Howlin' Wolf, who recorded it in 1961. Led Zeppelin performed monster covers of "You Need Love" and "You Shook Me", but Dixon had written them for Muddy Waters, who recorded them in 1962.
Willie Dixon taught bass players how to rock 'n' roll. Listen to him on Chuck Berry's Chess recordings of "Rock and Roll Music" and "Reelin' and Rockin". He took big band music and Mississippi blues and melded them into something new, opening the door for Motown and others to walk in and take it even further.
"The blues are the roots and the other musics are the fruits, it's better keeping the roots alive because it mean better fruits from now on. The blues will always be, because the blues are the roots of all American music. As long as American music survives, so will the blues." -Willie Dixon
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