Om Little Walter
Before Little Walter, the harmonica was just an instrument for accompaniment on the back porch. Little Walter changed the instrument's role by hooking it up to a microphone and plugging into an amplifier. His tone was thick and fierce, covered in rich distortion and with enough balls to send guitarists and sax players scurrying to the back of the stage. His many recordings with Muddy Waters are some of the best the blues has to offer, not to mention his excellent collaborations with Jimmy Rogers and Otis Rush. In the 1950s he topped the R&B charts numerous times with instrumentals such as "Juke" and scowling Chicago blues like "You Better Watch Yourself." Unfortunately, his personality was as fiery as his playing; shortly after a tour with the Rolling Stones in the late '60s, he died in a street brawl.