Johnny Winter shares the 10 albums that changed his life

In the years since he signed a historic record deal with Columbia in 1969, Johnny Winter has crafted music that influenced generations of artists.

Johnny Winter photo by Paul Natkin

Johnny Winter. Publicity photo by Paul Natkin.

A torch-bearer for the blues, Winter’s artistic canon offers a clear link between British blues-rock and American Southern rock styles. This guitar slinger is also a man of relatively few words — as evidenced by his to-the-point accounting of the albums that changed his life — who prefers to let his music do most of the talking. So whose music blows Johnny Winter away?

Muddy Waters The Best of Muddy Waters1. Muddy Waters, The Best of Muddy Waters
It was the first album of his, and it had all of his early stuff on it. He played good slide on it.

Robert Johnson King of the Delta Blues2. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues
Robert was the best Delta blues guitar player ever. That record has great stuff on it.

Bobby Blue Bland Two Steps From The Blues3. Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Two Steps From The Blues
Bobby sings his ass off on it. It has great arrangements on it, and the band played great. Everybody had that record when I was a teenager. Even the white kids liked it.

Little Walter The Best of Little Walter4. Little Walter, The Best of Little Walter
Little Walter was the best harp player that has ever been or will be. I learned a lot of his harp licks on the guitar.

Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced?5. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?
I couldn’t believe how good he was. That record really knocked me out.

B.B. King Singing The Blues6. B.B. King, Singing The Blues
He played a lot of his early stuff on it. That was the first album I ever bought. He sang and played great.

7. Jimmy Reed, I’m Jimmy Reed Jimmy Reed I'm Jimmy Reed
He doesn’t play good or sing good, but it has a lot of feeling. No virtuosity in that record, but it was still cool.

Johnny Winter eponymous album8. Johnny Winter, Johnny Winter
It was the first time I got to play what I really wanted to on a record. I was really happy with the way it ended up. It has some nice stuff on it.
James Brown Live At The Apollo
9. James Brown, Live At The Apollo
He sang great. He did all of his hits on that one.

Muddy Waters At Newport10. Muddy Waters, Live at Newport 1960
The whole album influenced me; mostly the singing. He always sang great.

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