The City of Chicago will dedicate a ten-story mural to late blues icon Muddy Waters June 8th as part of the Chicago Blues Festival, The Associated Press reports. The mural is painted on the side of the building at 17 North State Street, at the corner of State and Washington Streets.
The Muddy Waters Legacy band will perform a free concert during the ceremony, which begins at noon. The outfit features Waters’ former bandmate, Rick Kreher, and sons guitarist Big Bill Morganfield and singer Mud Morganfield,
Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra designed the mural, which was painted last year as part of Columbia College and the Wabash Arts Corridor’s Big Walls Project. Kobra is known for his massive and dazzling murals, including numerous musicians such as Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. in Miami, Bob Dylan in Minneapolis and David Bowie in Jersey City.
The Waters mural replaced Kay Rosen’s “Go Do Good” mural, which debuted in 2011. While the mural was being painted, one of the owners of 17 N. State St., Anne Voshel, said that the Waters mural would stay up “as long as it looks good” during an interview with DNA Info’s Chicago-focused blog, the Block Club.
Waters was born in Mississippi and learned how to play guitar and harmonica as a teenager. He moved to Chicago in 1943, where he worked various odd jobs while playing clubs and cutting records. After several unsuccessful singles, he scored his first hits at the end of the Forties for Chess Records, including “Rollin’ Stone” and “I Can’t Be Satisfied.” Over the next decade, Waters would help define the gritty Chicago blues sound that would inspire rock and roll.
“We can’t even imagine music today without Muddy’s contributions coming out of the Chicago blues scene,” said Mark Kelly, who led the Big Walls project for Columbia College, “He’s a cultural hero and maybe someone who should be better honored and remembered, and what an incredible opportunity to put Muddy Waters up front and center in the middle of Chicago.”