McKinley Morganfield - a.k.a. Muddy Waters - is born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi.
Muddy Waters sells a horse to buy his first guitar, a Stella acoustic ordered from a catalog for $2.50.
While on a field trip through the South, folklorists Alan Lomax and John Work record Muddy Waters (then in his mid-twenties) for the Library of Congress. He would return to record him some more in July 1942.
Muddy Waters takes the train from Clarksdale, Mississippi, to Chicago, Illinois, where he’ll seek fame and fortune as a blues musician.
Muddy Waters cuts his first sides after his move to Chicago. Recorded for the Columbia label, they remain unreleased until 1971.
Muddy Waters and Sunnyland Slim record together at Waters’ first session for Aristocrat Records. “Gypsy Woman” is the first record released under Waters’ name.
Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied” is released. Striking a chord with transplanted Southerners, it sells out in Chicago and becomes Waters’ breakthrough.
“Rollin’ Stone,” credited to “Muddy Waters & his guitar,” becomes one of the first releases on Chess Records, formed after brothers Leonard and Phil Chess buy out their partner at Aristocrat Records.
Muddy Waters assembles the world’s greatest blues band, having added harmonica player Little Walter, second guitarist Jimmy Rogers and pianist Otis Spann.
Muddy Waters scores one of his biggest hits when “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” hits #3 on Billboard’s R&B chart. This memorable year will also yield “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “I’m Ready,” “Mannish Boy” and “Trouble No More.”
“Mannish Boy,” Muddy Waters’ signature song, is released. It will reach #5 on the R&B chart.
The Best of Muddy Waters, a collection of singles, becomes the bluesman’s first long-player. It would be re-released in 1969 as Sail On.
“Close to You,” by Muddy Waters, enters the R&B chart, where it will peak at #9. It is the last of Waters’ string of sixteen charting singles.
Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill is released on Chess Records. On it, Waters plays songs associated with acoustic bluesman Big Bill Broonzy, who died the previous year.
Muddy Waters closes the Newport Folk Festival with a historic set that is preserved on the classic album Muddy Waters at Newport 1960.
Muddy Waters receives his first Grammy Award (“Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording”) for the album They Call Me Muddy Waters.
The London Muddy Waters Sessions, on which Waters is joined by some of Britain’s hottest blues musicians, is released.
Muddy Waters’ final release for Chess Records, The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album, is released shortly before the label ceases operations.
Muddy Waters performs “Mannish Boy,” backed by The Band and Paul Butterfield, at The Band’s farewell concert, The Last Waltz. Waters is introduced to a new generation of fans when film documentary of the event hits movie theaters.
Hard Again, by Muddy Waters, is released. It is the first of four albums on which fellow bluesman Johnny Winter is involved, and it will win Waters his fourth Grammy.
Muddy Waters performs for President Jimmy Carter and his staff at the White House.
Muddy Waters wins the sixth and last Grammy Award of his career, for Muddy “Mississippi” Waters Live, released the previous year.
Having been diagnosed with lung cancer the previous year, Muddy Waters dies in his sleep of a heart attack.
Muddy Waters is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 2nd annual induction dinner. Paul Butterfield is his presenter.
The Complete Plantation Recordings of Muddy Waters, comprising field recordings made in 1941 and 1942, is released on MCA Records.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors’ Muddy Waters’ legacy with a month-long tribute and celebration.