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The Blues Hall of Fame announces 2022 inductees

FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2006, file photo, musician Bo Diddley performs at B.B. Kings Blues Club in New York. Mississippi is on track to honor the blues and rock legend who sang about being a "road running man." A state House passed a bill Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, designating a stretch of Interstate 55 as the Bo Diddley Memorial Highway, near his birthplace outside McComb, Miss. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, File)
Jeff Christensen/AP
FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2006, file photo, musician Bo Diddley performs at B.B. Kings Blues Club in New York. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, File)

Since its inception in 1980, The Blues Foundation has inducted new members annually into the Blues Hall of Fame for their historical contributions, impact, and overall influence on the Blues.

The twelve 2022 honorees of The Blues Foundation's Blues Hall of Fame encompass over 70 years of music, from the 1920s through the 1990s.

The Blues Hall of Fame's five categories — Performers, Non-Performing Individuals, Classics of Blues Literature, Classics of Blues Recording (Single), and Classics of Blues Recording (Album) — demonstrate how the blues intersects with a wide variety of American music styles: soul, blues, R&B, and rock' n' roll.

The new Blues Hall of Fame performers aren't just exceptional musicians, they are also educators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and activists.

Lucille Bogan recorded some of the most memorable songs of the pre-World War II era, from 1923-1935. Her songs were covered by B.B. King, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Jimmy Rogers, Memphis Minnie, and others, but she became more well known for the controversial themes her music embodied.

Little Willie John was a soul, blues, and rock 'n' roll star whose meteoric rise and tragic fall ended when at age 30 he died in prison. Labeled as a "singer's singer" by B.B. King, this blues and ballad vocalist extraordinaire had his first national hit while still a teenager.

Johnnie Taylor spent his early years as a solo performer singing gospel, although his first recording was as a member of the doo-wop group, The Five Echoes. While signed to Stax Records from 1966-1974, he recorded his breakthrough single "Who's Making Love." His next biggest hit came with the 1976 platinum-selling "Disco Lady." Later, Taylor took his gospel-influenced blues, soul, and funk to the Malaco label, where he found a new home for his music until the end.

Johnnie Taylor - Still Called The Blues

While he never met Elvis Presley, Otis Blackwell is best known for writing Presley's hits, "Don't Be Cruel," "All Shook Up," and "Return To Sender." He's also credited as writing "Breathless" and "Great Balls of Fire" for Jerry Lee Lewis as well as the Little Willie John/Peggy Lee hit, "Fever." He recorded for RCA Victor, the Jay-Dee label, and others but generally avoided the limelight, finding his niche in songwriting.

Mary Katherine Aldin spent the past 60 years behind the scenes in the blues and folk music worlds, as a voice on the radio and as compiler or annotator of blues and folk reissue albums for Rhino, Vanguard, MCA/Chess, Columbia, and other labels. She was nominated for a Grammy Award for her liner notes for The Chess Box by Muddy Waters. Aldin also served in various editorial positions at Living Blues, Blues & Rhythm and other music magazines. She was inducted into the Folk DJ Hall of Fame in 2018 and is still broadcasting for KPFK's "Roots Music & Beyond."

Bo Diddley’s "Bo Diddley" is 2022’s Classic of Blues Recording: Album, which compiled 12 of his groundbreaking singles.

Bo Diddley "Bo Diddley" on The Ed Sullivan Show

There are five Classic of Blues Recording: Singles receiving Hall of Fame induction:

  • Sonny Boy Williamson II’s 1951 single “Eyesight to the Blind,” the first release by the master harmonica player and singer.
  • Bobby “Blue” Bland’s 1957 hit “Farther Up the Road.”
  • Roy Brown’s 1947 “Good Rocking Tonight.”
  • B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby” from 1964.
  • “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” released in 1950 by the Baby Face Leroy Trio.

Entering the Blues Hall of Fame as a Classic of Blues Literature is "Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast," written by British author Bruce Bastin and hailed as an essential work of blues scholarship.

Due to the global shutdown in 2020 that forced The Blues Foundation to cancel in-person fundraisers, the celebration of the 2020 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees will take place along with the 2022 ceremony. The 2020 Honorees include Billy Branch, Eddie Boyd, Syl Johnson, Bettye LaVette, George “Harmonica” Smith, Victoria Spivey, Ralph Peer, and more.

The Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at the Halloran Centre in Memphis, TN.
Find more information and tickets here.

Information about the Washington Blues Society's 2022 Best of the Blues Awards is here. Ballots are available to members and voting is open until April 12.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.