Chicago blues legend Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater died of heart failure earlier today at age 83. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released the following statement on Clearwater’s passing: “Chicago lost one of our legendary blues musicians, innovators and ambassadors to the world. Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater leaves behind a legacy that includes 17 albums, countless shows and a lifetime of songs that gave a voice to the soul of the city he loved. Our thoughts are with Eddy’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
“The Chief” visited WGN Radio twice in the past few years. In January, 2016, Dave Hoekstra visited with Clearwater, who played a few tunes and talked about developing his sound, his early days cutting his teeth with the likes of Muddy Waters and Magic Sam, getting the “Chief” nickname, and his 81st birthday party at Space in Evanston.
Then, in January 2018, Clearwater visited with Justin Kaufmann to talk about his amazing life in blues music, growing up in Mississippi and learning how to play guitar, why he decided to move to Chicago to pursue his career, what he remembers about playing all the blues clubs on the South and West Sides of Chicago in the ’50’s and ’60’s, who gave him the courage to get on stage, what makes the Chicago blues sound stand out, how he continues to push himself as a musician, why he is credited with bringing Chicago blues from the South and West Sides to the North Side and the suburbs, the transition he made from being a club regular to an artist known around the world, what blues music means for him today and where he sees blues music going in the future.