Vicksburg in Warren County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Willie Dixon, often called “the poet laureate of the blues,” was born in Vicksburg on July 1, 1915. As a songwriter, producer, arranger, and bass player, Dixon shaped the sound of Chicago blues in the 1950s and '60s with songs such as “Seventh Son,” “Little Red Rooster,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “My Babe,” and “Wang Dang Doodle." Dixon traced many of his works back to poems and songs he heard or wrote as a youth in Vicksburg.
Willie Dixon, born at 1631 Crawford Street, about ¾ mile east of this site, defined the blues as “the facts of life.” Dixon developed his ear for language and music in Vicksburg by listening to his mother Daisy’s poetry, singing spirituals at Spring Hill Baptist Church, and savoring the blues of pianist Little Brother Montgomery. He learned harmony singing from Theo Phelps, leader of the Union Jubilee Singers, and sang with the quintet on a weekly WQBC radio program broadcast from the Vicksburg Hotel in the 1930s. Dixon also brokered his songs to other WQBC performers. As a teenager, he often left
Dixon recorded with the Big Three Trio and other combos before securing a production job with Chess Records in the early 1950s. He emerged as the studio mastermind behind the classic Chicago blues of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Koko Taylor, and many others. Dixon played string bass on numerous sessions, including the first hits by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. He also produced the debut releases of Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, and Magic Sam on the Cobra and Artistic labels.
Dixon’s impact reached far beyond the African American blues market. He played a key role in promoting and booking blues in Europe in the 1960s, and covers of his songs by the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and others sold millions of copies. He subsequently toured and recorded several albums with his band, the Chicago Blues All Stars. His achievements earned him induction into both the Rock and Roll and Blues Halls of Fame.
In 1981, Dixon established the Blues Heaven Foundation to assist blues musicians and sponsor blues education
Vicksburg honored its native son by renaming this street Willie Dixon Way in 2002.
Erected 2007 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 14.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail series list. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1668.
Location. 32° 20.888′ N, 90° 52.998′ W. Marker is in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in Warren County. Marker is at the intersection of South Street and Willie Dixon Way, on the right when traveling east on South Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 640 South Street, Vicksburg, MS 39180, Vicksburg MS 39180, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Frank Crump, Jr. (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sky Parlor Hill (about 400 feet away); Missing Angels (about 500 feet away); Mercantile Explosion (about 500 feet 1953 Tornado Memorial (about 500 feet away); U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Headquarters (about 700 feet away); C. S. Vaiden (Mississippi) Battery; (about 800 feet away); The Blue Room (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Vicksburg.
Also see . . .
1. Mississippi Blues Trail: Willie Dixon. (Submitted on October 27, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
2. Flickr: Famed musician and prolific song writer Willie Dixon was born in Vicksburg in 1915 RiverWalk. (Submitted on October 27, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
3. Vicksburg Riverfront Murals: Willie Dixon. (Submitted on October 27, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
4. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Willie Dixon 1994 Induction Ceremony. (Submitted on October 27, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
5. Willie Dixon: The Man Behind Chess. (Submitted on October 27, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
6. YouTube: Willie Dixon. (Submitted on October 27, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
7. Find a Grave: Willie James Dixon. Buried at Burr Oak Cemetery, Alsip (Cook County), Illinois (Submitted on November 3, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 30, 2017. It was originally submitted on October 27, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This page has been viewed 832 times since then and 116 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 27, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 3, 4. submitted on November 3, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.