Bettye LaVette, Eddie Boyd Among 2020 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees (EXCLUSIVE)

Records by Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King and Ruth Brown will be inducted as well during the May ceremony in Memphis.

The Blues Foundation has set 14 musicians, recordings and behind-the-scenes figures to be honored at part of its 41st class of inductees into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2020. As might be expected, the kudos are heavy on the classic blues era, but also include figures as alive and well as Bettye LaVette, the 73-year-old powerhouse singer who’s actually achieved a career plateau in the last 15 years.

Other contemporary musicians named to be being honored next May in Memphis include Syl Johnson, a Chicago funk-and-soul performer who rose to fame in the ’60s and ’70s (and remains a favorite of hip-hop samplers today), and harmonica player (and fellow Chicagoan) Billy Branch, who has found a second career as a renowned arts educator in recent years.

Among those who’ve passed on who are being inducted are pianist Eddie Boyd, who recorded for Chess in the ’50s and had a thriving career later in Europe before his death in 1994; Victoria Spivey, who had a 40-year recording career before dying in 1976 that included working with everyone from Louis Armstrong to Bob Dylan; and blues harp legend George “Harmonica” Smith, who died in 1983 and was famous for working with Muddy Waters in the ’50s as well as his own solo records.

Ralph Peer, a producer who is a familiar figure to Nashville historians, but whose work in recording blues musicians was vital in the 1920s, is being inducted in the individual (business, media and academic) category.

Several recordings are being named to the Blues Hall of Fame, with “Howlin’ Wolf: The Chess Box” getting the singular album honor, plus five singles: Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s “That’s All Right (Mama)” (famously covered by a fledgling Elvis Presley), Bertha “Chippie” Hill’s 1926 version of “Trouble in Mind”; Willie Brown’s 1930 “Future Blues” (revived in recent years by performers like Langhorne Slim); B.B. King’s breakout 1951 No. 1 R&B hit “3 O’Clock Blues”; and Ruth Brown’s still oft-revived 1953 R&B smash “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean.”

2020 Blues Hall of Fame inductees

Getting the honor for classic of blues literature is “Earl Hooker, Blues Master,” a 2001 biography of the guitarist (a 2016 inductee himself) by French writer Sebastian Danchin.

The induction ceremony will take place May 6, 2020 at the Halloran Centre at the Orpheum, the esteemed former movie palace in Memphis. Tickets for the Hall of Fame event as well as the annual Blues Music Awards go on sale Jan. 7.

More Music

  • Anne Litt of KCRW

    KCRW Names Anne Litt Program Director of Music (EXCLUSIVE)

    Influential Los Angeles-area NPR affiliate KCRW has filled one of the positions left vacant with the exit of music director/”Morning Becomes Eclectic” host Jason Bentley last September by naming longtime on-air personality Anne Litt to the newly created position of program director of music. The job title may be different, but this puts Litt in [...]

  • Lil Nas X and BTSVariety Hitmakers

    Lil Nas X and BTS to Team Up for Grammy Performance

    Was Lil Nas X the pop culture phenomenon of 2019, or was it BTS? Either way, the Grammys have it covered — and within a single number. The Recording Academy and CBS officially confirmed Thursday that the rapper and the K-pop group will perform together on the awards telecast Jan. 26. It’s not the first [...]

  • Deborah Dugan

    Ousted Grammy Chief Talks Corruption Claims in TV Interviews (Watch)

    Little relevant new information was unveiled in ousted Grammy CEO Deborah Dugan’s appearances on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning” on Thursday. The executive, who was placed on administrative leave last Thursday after the organization made a strongly worded but vague claim of “misconduct” against her former assistant (who was also the assistant [...]

  • Deborah Dugan

    How Deborah Dugan Sealed Her Fate at the Recording Academy

    Deborah Dugan’s ouster from the top job at the Recording Academy, just ten days before the Grammy Awards, was a shock to nearly everyone not directly involved in the decision. But according to multiple sources and the bombshell complaint her attorneys filed on Tuesday, she and the Academy establishment were working at cross purposes almost [...]

  • Amazon Music

    Amazon Music Tops 55 Million Users, Still Playing Catch-Up to Spotify and Apple

    Amazon is famously reluctant to release specific numbers about its users, so it’s notable that the e-retailing giant announced that it has surpassed 55 million customers worldwide for Amazon Music. The company didn’t reveal how many of those users are on its various pricing tiers, but said subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited grew by more [...]

  • Any Given Wednesday With Bill Simmons

    HBO Teaming With Bill Simmons on Music Docuseries

    Bill Simmons’ The Ringer is continuing to expand its relationship with HBO. The company, which already produced the “Andre The Giant” doc at the cabler, is teaming with HBO on a six-part docuseries about the world of music. The project is slated to air on the network in 2021 and will center on pivotal moments [...]

  • Joey Kramer Aerosmith

    Aerosmith Drummer Joey Kramer Will Not Be Allowed to Play at MusiCares, Court Rules

    Drummer Joey Kramer, a founding member of Aerosmith who’s been with the band for five decades, will not be joining his groupmates onstage at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala on Friday, Jan. 24, a Massachusetts court ruled today (Jan. 22). Kramer sued the band — comprised of Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content