Otis Rush dead at 84

music news 01/10/2018

Chicago blues guitarist, Otis Rush, has passed away from complications from a stroke he suffered back in 2003. 

His wife, Masaki, announced the unfortunate news via his website. 

A statement on the website read, "Known as a key architect of the Chicago ‘West Side Sound’ Rush exemplified the modernized minor key urban blues style with his slashing, amplified jazz-influenced guitar playing, high-strained passionate vocals and backing by a full horn section."

Born in Mississippi, Rush taught himself how to play the guitar upside down at 8-years-old because he was left-handed, placing the low E string at the bottom with the high E strip at the top. When he moved to Chicago in 1949, Rush was inspired by Muddy Waters' concert and pursued music full-time.

The website also states, "Rush’s first recording in 1956 on Cobra Records ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ reached Number on the Billboard R&B Charts and catapulted him to international acclaim. He went on to record a catalogue of music that contains many songs that are now considered blues classics.” "I Can't Quit You Baby" was famously covered by Led Zeppelin on their debut album in 1969. Another classic tune is "Double Trouble" that was later covered by Eric Clapton and inspired Stevie Ray Vaughn's band name.

Rush's final album, "Any Place I'm Going", also won him the Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy in 1999. Unfortunately Rush suffered a stroke in 2003 that ended his career earlier than expected. In 2016, he made a rare appearance with his family at Chicago Blues Festival to celebrate Otis Rush Day but was unable to perform.

Rush was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1984 and placed at number 53 on "Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists" list.

See what people are saying about Rush's death: