January 29th in African American History – William James “Willie” Dixon

William James "Willie" DixonJanuary 29, 1992 William James “Willie” Dixon, blues vocalist, songwriter, and record producer, died.

Dixon was born July 1, 1915 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. As a teenager, he began adapting the poems that he wrote into songs and selling them to local music groups. In 1936, he moved to Chicago and helped form the Five Breezes. From 1948 through the early 1960s, he worked at Chess Records as a producer, talent scout, session musician, and staff songwriter.

Dixon is mainly remembered as a songwriter, having written blues songs such as “Hoochie Coochie Man” (1954), “Back Door Man” (1961), “Little Red Rooster” (1961), and “Bring It On Home” (1963). In 1964, The Rolling Stones reached #1 on the U. K. singles chart with their cover of Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster.” In his later years, Dixon became an ambassador of the blues helping to found the Blues Heaven Foundation, which works to preserve the blues’ legacy and to secure copyrights and royalties for blues musicians.

Dixon was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and in 1989 he won a Grammy Award for his album “Hidden Charms.” Dixon was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

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