McKinley was born on April 4th, 1913… or 1914… or maybe 1915. Depends on what your source is: 1913 on his marriage certificate, musician’s union card, and his Social Security card application. 1914 according to the 1920 census list. 1915 if you refer to a 1955 interview in the Chicago Defender and his tombstone. McKinley claimed he was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. But he may actually have been born in nearby Jug’s Corner. His mother died shortly after his birth. His grandmother, Della Grant, not only raised him, but gave him his lifelong nickname, “Muddy”. Waters was tacked on years later after young Muddy began playing his harmonica in public as a teen-ager.
Muddy Waters moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1943, where he changed the sound and the music not only of the Chicago Blues Scene, but world-wide. He is credited with influencing rock-and-roll, jazz, country&western, r&b, and hip-hop.
Muddy was awarded 6 Grammys, 5 Blues Music Awards, has 4 songs listed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and was featured on a 29 cent US Postage Stamp in 1994.
Muddy passed away in his sleep on April 30, 1983 at his home in Westmont, Illinois. He is buried in Westvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.