(May 28, 1910 – March 16, 1975)
They call it Stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad. If you know what he’s talking about, you got the blues of T-Bone Walker.
Aaron Thibeaux Walker. A legendary Texas guitar-slinger born on this day in 1910. If it weren’t for him, the jump blues, the electric blues, hell music as we know it just wouldn’t be the same. B.B. King said he wouldn’t have picked up a guitar if it weren’t for T-Bone. He was one of the very first guitarists to go electric. All the way back in 1934. He was the first to demonstrate the power of single-string solos. And those crazy tricks you see Jimi Hendrix do? The splits? Playin’ with his teeth? Behind his head? All that was lifted from the stage antics of T-Bone Walker. He seemed to come by all that showmanship pretty easy. But how’d all that blues get in his blood? And how’d he get that crazy name?
Aaron Thibeaux “T-Bone” Walker was born May 28, 1910 in Linden, Texas. Both his biological parents were musicians, as well as his stepfather, who taught him to play all manner of string instruments as well as the piano.
With a mother and stepfather in the Dallas String Band, T-Bone started playing professionally at a young age. By 15, he’d made a career out of his musicianship, and had been taken under the wing of Blind Lemon Jefferson. For some time T-Bone travelled the country as Blind Lemon’s guide-boy, leading him to gigs and picking up guitar-slinging tips along the way.
T-Bone made his recording debut in 1929. In the ten years that followed, T-Bone developed a revolutionary style that would shock the world and galvanize a new movement in guitar playing. By 1942, T-Bone was a whole new man playing a whole new kind of music. T-Bone can be credited with the tricks and showmanship that influenced the Hendrix generation.
Most of his recording would be done in the years that followed, with the bulk of his celebrated recordings made between 1946-1948. By the 60’s demand had slowed down, but T-Bone continued to cut critically acclaimed records.
T-Bone died in 1974. He is buried in Inglewood Cemetery in Inglewood, California.