Music

The Best Blues Artists of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated December 13, 2019 112.2k votes 19.9k voters 1.2M views 225 items

List Rules Best artists of the blues genre--a style that originated in African-American communities in the Deep South of the U.S.

Whether you like Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, or that bluesy broad Etta James, there's now denying they're all some of the most famous blues musicians of all time. This list of blues singers, ranks the best blues music artists, singers, and musicians, and has been voted on and ranked by blues fans worldwide. Add your own list or vote on the top blues artist in history here. These best blues singers are known for their great voices and music that will stand the test of time, and for spearheading legendary tracks with their good blues bands.

Note that this ranking is for blues artists only - no best blues/blues rock bands here. Many of the greatest bluesmen, old blues singers, and female blues artists are sadly no longer with us, but their legacies live on, often in rock artists who sold millions more records with versions of classic blues songs written by these great blues legends.

Who are the greatest blues artists? These are best blues musicians the world has to offer, from the Mississippi Delta to the streets of Chicago, Detroit, and even London. Make sure to vote for the blues greats you consider to be the top blues artists of all time.

list ordered by
1
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Blues-rock, Soul blues & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Let the Good Times Roll, Live at the Regal, Ladies and Gentleman... Mr. B.B. King, How Blue Can You Get?, Electric Blues, + more

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The Best B.B. King Albums of All Time #43 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #58 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

2
Muddy Waters is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Blues-rock, Chicago blues & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Anthology, Super Blues, Fathers and Sons, The Father of Chicago Blues, Muddy 'Mississippi' Waters Live, + more

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The Best Muddy Waters Albums of All Time #234 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #14 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

3
Robert Johnson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Rock music, Blues & Country blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: King of the Delta Blues Singers, The Complete Recordings, King of the Delta Blues, Old School Blues, Robert Johnson: Delta Blues Legend, + more

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Robert Johnson Is An Early Member Of The 27 Club, And His Death May Be Due To A Deal With The Devil #322 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on Members of The 27 Club

4
John Lee Hooker is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Americana, Electric blues & Talking blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: I'll Play the Blues for You, Live at the Fox Venice Theatre, Collection, John Lee Hooker - 20 Reflective Recordings, The Vee-Jay Years, + more

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#151 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #35 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #47 of 638 The Greatest Lead Guitarists Of All Time

5
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Instrumental rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Couldn't Stand the Weather, In Step, Texas Flood, The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, The Sky Is Crying, + more

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The Best Stevie Ray Vaughan Songs of All Time #82 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #3 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

6
Howlin' Wolf is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Chicago blues, Electric blues & Blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions, The Genuine Article, Howlin' Wolf, Collection, The Very Best of Howlin' Wolf, + more

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#565 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #81 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #411 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

7
Albert King is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Soul blues, Electric blues & Rhythm and blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: I'll Play the Blues for You, In Session, Thursday Night in San Francisco, I Wanna Get Funky, Blues at Sunrise: Live at Montreux, + more

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The Best Albert King Albums of All Time #593 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #47 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

8
Buddy Guy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Chicago blues, Electric blues & Blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Damn Right, I've Got the Blues, A Man & the Blues, Sweet Tea, Bring 'Em In, + more

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The Best Buddy Guy Albums of All Time #1,031 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #21 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

9
Lightnin' Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Electric blues and Country blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Very Best of Lightnin' Hopkins, Mojo Hand, Texas Blues Giant, The Gold Star Sessions, Volume 2, + more

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#130 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #424 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #293 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

10
Elmore James is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Rhythm and blues and Blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: King of the Slide Guitar: The Complete Trumpet, Chief & Fire Sessions, The Classic Early Recordings, King of the Slide Guitar, One Way Out, + more

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#142 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #273 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #412 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

11
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Experimental rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: First Rays of the New Rising Sun, Band of Gypsys, Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection, Live at the Fillmore East, Live at Woodstock, + more

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Wild Stories From The Guitar-Shredding Life Of Jimi Hendrix #6 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on Members of The 27 Club

12
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Rock music, Rhythm and blues & Rock and roll; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: At Last!, Tell Mama, I'd Rather Go Blind, The Right Time, 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Etta James, + more

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The Best Etta James Albums of All Time #91 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #60 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

13
Freddie King is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: I Love the Woman / Hide Away, Getting Ready..., Live at the Electric Ballroom, 1974, King of the Blues, + more

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The Best Freddie King Albums of All Time #74 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #234 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

14
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Soul blues, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Birth of Soul, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, The Spirit of Christmas, Ray Charles at Newport, Genius Loves Company, + more

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The Best Ray Charles Albums of All Time #18 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #15 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

15
T-Bone Walker is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Jump blues, Chicago blues & Texas blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Good Feelin', Charly Blues Masterworks, Volume 14: T. Bone Shuffle, The Blues Collection 16: Stormy Monday Blues, The Hustle Is On, + more

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#1,149 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #94 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #110 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

16
Son House is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Blues, Country blues & Delta blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Delta Blues, The Legendary 1941/42 Recordings in Chronological Sequence, Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Son House, The Original Delta Blues, "Live" at Gaslight Cafe, + more

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#179 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #899 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #501 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

17
Sonny Boy Williamson II ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Harmonica blues, Gospel music & Blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: One Way Out, Don’t Send Me No Flowers, His Best, The Best Of, Down and Out Blues, + more

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#1,148 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #297 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #236 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

18
Willie Dixon is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Jump blues, Chicago blues & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: I Am the Blues, Jazz in Paris: Aux Trois Mailletz, I Am the Blues: The Willie Dixon Story, Walking the Blues / Crazy for My Baby, Willie's Blues, + more

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The Best Willie Dixon Albums of All Time #325 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #215 of 265 Rank the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

19
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Torch song, Ballad & Swing music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Lady in Satin, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport, The Best of Billie Holiday, Billie Holiday Sings, Lady Sings the Blues, + more

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The Unprecedented Rise And Tragic Death Of Billie Holiday #61 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #53 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

20
Little Walter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Chicago blues, Rock music & Rhythm and blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Boss Blues Harmonica, Confessin' the Blues, Super Blues, The Chess Years 1952-1963, Rock Bottom, + more

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21
Mississippi John Hurt is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Folk music, Country & Blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Today!, I'm Satisfied, Last Sessions, Ain't Nobody's Business, The Immortal Mississippi John Hurt, + more

More Mississippi John Hurt 

#172 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #248 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time #484 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

22
Blind Lemon Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume 1: 1925–1926, Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume 4: 1929, Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, + more

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#795 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #443 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #2,283 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time

23
Blind Willie Johnson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Gospel music and Blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Sweeter as the Years Go By, The Soul of a Man, Praise God I'm Satisfied, The Complete Blind Willie Johnson, Dark Was the Night – Cold Was the Ground / It's Nobody's Fault but Mine, + more

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#266 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time #922 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #407 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

24
Johnny Winter is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Electric blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Best of Johnny Winter, Anthology, Livin' in the Blues, Hey, Where's Your Brother?, + more

More Johnny Winter 

The Best Johnny Winter Albums of All Time #557 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #40 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

25
Huddie William Ledbetter... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Blues Artists of All Time
Genre: Folk music, Folk & Country; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Nothing but the Blues: You Do Me Any Old Way, Where Did You Sleep Last Night: Lead Belly Legacy, Volume 1, Complete Blues: The Definitive Leadbelly, The Rough Guide to Blues Legends: Leadbelly, + more

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#932 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #385 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #395 of 815 These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time