Whether or not they actually know it, every guitarist who has ever used distortion and feedback, or who has augmented an extended solo with showy tricks like playing a guitar behind their head or with their teeth, or bent a note nearly to the string's breaking point, is aping the decades-old innovations of Buddy Guy.
But even though his live performances had an enormous impact on early blues-rockers such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and especially Jimi Hendrix, Guy was mostly relegated to the role of a session player at the beginning of his career at Chess Records. Owner Leonard Chess famously dismissed Guy's amped-up solo recordings as "motherfucking noise," and didn't realize his mistake until years later when imitators like Cream and the Experience started selling millions of records. Even as a session player, though, Guy had an undeniable impact on his recordings with greats such as Muddy Waters and Junior Wells.
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Now 71 years old, Guy has long since surpassed sideman status. Many of his recent recordings, like 2005's collabo-filled Bring 'Em In, suffer from the same overproduced, note-perfect professionalism that makes most contemporary blues albums utterly boring. But in live performances, he remains a badass guitarist and showman—and he can still make some motherfucking noise.