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Billy Boy Arnold

Billy Boy Arnold

"...everybody at one time has had the blues, whether you're black, white, or whatever."

Billy Boy Arnold (born William Arnold, 16 September 1935, Chicago, Illinois) is a leading American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter. Born in Chicago, he began playing harmonica as a child, and in 1948 received informal lessons from his near neighbour John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, shortly before his death. Arnold made his recording debut in 1952 with Hello Stranger on the small Cool label, the record company giving him the nickname "Billy Boy". In the early 1950s he joined forces with street musician Ellas McDaniel. He played harmonica on (and claimed to help write) his first hit single Bo Diddley on Chess Records in 1955, as well as Bo Diddley’s other early hits. Arnold signed a solo recording contract with Vee-Jay Records, recording the originals of I Wish You Would and I Ain’t Got You. Both were later covered by The Yardbirds, and I Wish You Would was also recorded by David Bowie on his 1973 album, Pin Ups. In the late 1950s Arnold continued to play in Chicago clubs, and in 1963 he recorded an LP, More Blues From The South Side, for the Prestige label, but as playing opportunities dried up he pursued a parallel career as a bus driver and, later, parole officer. By the 1970s Arnold had begun playing festivals, touring Europe, and recording again. In 1993 he released the album Back Where I Belong on Alligator Records, followed by Eldorado Cadillac (1995) and Boogie ’n’ Shuffle (2001). (quoted from

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