Charley, or Charlie Patton died in 1934 aged just 42 in his home state of Mississippi, but his importance to the evolution of Delta blues, and thus 20th Century popular music as a whole, is incalculable.
The most influential blues musician in history? Almost certainly. Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson were just a few that he inspired.
Decades before rock ‘n’ roll, Patton would regularly play the guitar behind his head or back during raucous live performances.
Listen: Charley Patton - Rattlesnake Blues
“Robert Johnson was copying too - he directly copied Skip James, Son House, Blind Boy Fuller, Charley Patton - what's original is how he packaged the songs not what he actually played, most of which was other people's music. If you take into account the ‘of all time’ bit of the question, then it has to be Charley Patton for me. He's the motherlode from which everything subsequent springs.” (Thanks, Lewy)