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Top 10 Muddy Waters Songs

Blues has been one of the most influential, if not the most influential, genres in relation to modern music. From Hip-Hop to Pop, you can almost certainly trace their roots back to the Blues. 

And, when it comes to influential artists of the genre, they don’t come much bigger than Muddy Waters. He was a huge player in terms of shaping Delta and Chicago Blues. And, consequently, also most of the music we hear today.

Choosing just the top 10 Muddy Waters songs for a playlist is, therefore, not easy, but I have done my best. Let’s get started and look at the first of my top Muddy Waters songs...

Top 10 Muddy Waters Songs

Top 10 Muddy Waters Songs

Country Blues

It only seems right to start at the very beginning. In this case, that is in 1941 with Muddy Waters’ first recording, “Country Blues.” The song was recorded by Alan Lomax and was only made available as a 78. “I Be’s Troubled” was on the B-side.

It is a wonderful piece of Delta Blues that is strong but simultaneously laid-back. His voice is sublime, and when he hits the high notes, it is an absolute joy. The impact of this recording and song cannot be underestimated. A real piece of music history.

I Just Can’t Be Satisfied

It also seemed right to follow up his debut single release with his first charting single. “I Just Can’t Be Satisfied” was released in 1948 with Aristocrat Records. Surprisingly, it was only his third single, meaning that Muddy had not done much recording over seven years. It got to #11 in the US and marked the first of many future hits.

The song was a clear departure from his debut single. The classic Delta Blues sound of “County Blues” was replaced with the distinctive style of the Chicago Blues. Muddy Waters moved to Chicago in 1943. And, by the time “I Just Can’t Be Satisfied” came out, Muddy had gone electric and had the typical distorted and heavier sound synonymous with Chicago at the time.

Louisiana Blues

Muddy Waters had to wait for another nine singles and another two years, until 1950, before he finally made it to the Top 10. “Louisiana Blues” got to #10 in the US, and what a record to do it with.

The song deals with the longing to return to the deep south. It’s something that would certainly have struck a chord with many of his fans who had been forced to relocate from the South due to purely economic reasons.

The guitar playing is soulful and so sad it could make you cry. However, when accompanied by Little Walter’s harmonica playing and Muddy’s rich vocals, it makes even the strongest of men feel emotional. This is as close to perfect as you will ever get in terms of Blues writing and performance. No wonder Eric Clapton loved him so much.

Rollin’ Stone

This was released in 1950 and a couple of singles before “Louisiana Blues.” If you have any doubts about just how influential Muddy Water was, then this song should dispel any doubts. Rolling Stone magazine and The Rolling Stones British Rock group all took inspiration from the song.

If that wasn’t enough, Jimi Hendrix was also a huge fan of Muddy Waters and his music. More specifically, if you listen to his song carefully, you can undoubtedly hear elements of “Voodoo Child” in the main riff and bends of the song.

Got My Mojo Working

Released in 1960, this is one of Muddy Waters’ most iconic songs. It was written by Preston Foster in 1956, but Muddy altered the lyrics to include references to Louisiana and the deep south. Muddy also changed the musical arrangement to give it a much more forceful and driving rhythm. 

The sound is a big departure from his earliest songs which were predominantly acoustic guitar and Delta Blues arrangements. The style of this song is most probably what bands coming up through the 60s took inspiration from.

This pulsating high-tempo song became stable in just about every bar with live music in the early 60s. Even today, and over 60 years later, any Blues bar you visit is likely to play this at some point. A brilliant song and a brilliant reworking of it by a legend of a man.

Rollin’ and Tumbling

This is a classic and is one of the most covered songs in Blues. It was written by Willie Newbern in 1929 and has been covered by just about everyone you can think of. This list of great artists includes Eric Clapton, Govt. Mule, Jeff Beck, Bob Dylan, and Fleetwood Mac. 

However, perhaps most famously, it was covered by the legendary Robert Johnson in 1936. Strangely though, for whatever reason, that recording never came to light until 25 years later when it was finally released on Johnson’s first compilation album. Muddy Waters put his spin on it and released his cover in 1950. 

You Need Love

This has a fascinating history and possibly has the most interesting backstory of all the Top 10 muddy Waters songs on the list. It was originally written by Willie Dixon in 1962, and initially, Earl Hooker laid down the guitar part, along with backing musicians. Muddy Waters then picked up the song and overdubbed his vocals.

The song has been covered by other artists, but it was also used in part by Led Zeppelin in their recording of “Whole Lotta Love” in 1969. Intentionally or otherwise, it is obvious that they used the aspect of “You Need Love.”

The similarity, though, was never spotted until 16 years later, in 1985, when Willie Dixon’s daughter listened to Led Zeppelin’s song. She instantly recognized her father’s work. And, since Led Zeppelin had never credited Willie Dixon with the song, they rightly sued.

Frankly, Led Zeppelin didn’t have a leg to stand on… 

And the case was eventually settled out of court. As a result, on top of some nice extra royalty payments, all future releases of “Whole Lotta Love” were co-credited with Willie Dixon as the writer. It still didn’t stop Robert Plant from moaning about the outcome, though!

Mannish Boy

The song was first recorded and released in 1955 and made it to #5 in the US. Since its initial release, Muddy Waters has made several different recordings. The first instance, “Mannish Boy,” came about as the result of Bo Diddley’s 1954 release of “I’m a Man.” 

This was a close version of Muddy’s 1954 release, “Hoochie Coochie Man.” His response was to write a riposte which he did with Bo Diddley’s help, so there was obviously no animosity whatsoever. The pair also solicited the help of Mel London in the writing process.

It’s a great answer song written with humor and good intentions by all concerned. Modern musicians take note!

Trouble No More

This was written solely by Muddy Waters and was released between 1955 and 1956. It went to #7 in the US, and the original recording featured his good buddy Willie Dixon on bass.

It is a popular Muddy Waters song and has been covered by a range of artists. Most famously by The Allman Brothers Band. They are possibly better known for this song and first brought out a version in 1969 before eventually releasing a 50th-anniversary edition in 2020. Whoever sings it, there is no doubt that it is a great song.

Hoochie Coochie Man” 

This, together with “Got My Mojo Working,” is one of Muddy Waters’ most well-known songs. In terms of chart position, it got to #3 on its release in 1954, which was its higher-ever chart position.

It is my favorite of all Muddy Waters’ songs. And, like many of Muddy Waters’ biggest hits, it was written by Willie Dixon. It’s another much-covered song, with The Allman Brothers Band getting in on the act. Along with Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, to name but a few.

It is a beautiful, laid-back piece of music, and it is easy to see where modern bluesmen like Joe Bonamassa have drawn inspiration. The song begins with five notes that are so familiar that you can immediately name the tune. It also features a fantastic solo at around the halfway mark. A fantastic song to round up my top Muddy Waters songs playlist.

Want More Blues And Rock Music?

Well, then check out our thought on the Top Joe Walsh Songs, the Top Nathaniel Rateliff Songs, the Top James Gang Songs, the Best Michael McDonald Songs Of All Time, and the Best Grateful Dead Songs of All Time for more incredible song selections.

Top 10 Muddy Waters Songs – Final Thoughts 

That has been a lot of fun and a great excuse to listen to some Buddy Waters songs. Not that I need it. I have done my best to include some of the classic tracks in my list of Muddy Waters’ Top 10 songs. However, I am aware that many of you would probably have chosen to include a few alternatives.

If you think I have made any glaring omissions, please let me know in the comment below, and let me know why. It would be great to hear from you and possibly learn the errors of my ways.

Until next time, happy listening.

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