Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Williamsons in:
 • Blairs Chapel CME Cemetery
 • Madison County
 • Tennessee
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson
Birth: Mar. 30, 1914
Madison County
Tennessee, USA
Death: Jun. 1, 1948
Cook County
Illinois, USA

John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson was the first great blues hamonoicist. Not to be confused with Aleck Ford Miller, who assumed the name "Sonny Boy Williamson" to promote the sponser of his radio program in Helena, AR. Easily the most important harmonica player of the pre war era, John Lee Williamson single-handedly made the harmonica a worthy lead instrument for blues bands and opened the door for many players such as Little Walter, Billy Boy Arnold and Junior Wells. A harp virtuoso in his teens, hence the nickname, Sonny Boy learned his licks from Hamie Nixon and Noah Lewis. His call and response style of alternating vocal passages with a powerful harmonica blast would be adopted by virtually every harmonica player that followed. His career began to blossom when he moved to Chicago in 1934, and began playing with Robert Nighthawk, Big Joe Williams, Tampa Red and Big Bill Broonzy. From 1937 to 1947, Sonny Boy recorded over 120 sides for RCA, which included such classics as "Decoration Blues," "Whiskey Headed Blues," "Tell Me Baby," "Bring Me Another Half a Pint," "Sugar Mama," and "Hoodoo Hoodoo"(aka Hoodoo Man). His "Good Morning Little School Girl" could possibly be the most covered blues song in history. Unfortunately Sonny Boy would not live to reap the rewards of his accomplishments. On the morning of June 1, 1948 while returning home after playing the Plantation Club on Chicago's south side, he was mugged and brutally beaten. As he lay dying on the street he uttered the immortal words "Lord, have mercy on me," which would become a staple in blues lyrics.  (bio by: Jim Adams) 
Blairs Chapel CME Cemetery
Madison County
Tennessee, USA
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Jim Adams
Record added: Feb 17, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8395191
John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson
Added by: Anthony S
John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson
Added by: Lorenzo Brieba
John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson
Added by: Tim Batross
There is 1 more photo not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- J Spencer
 Added: Oct. 16, 2016

- Fluttergirl
 Added: Oct. 9, 2016

- Cindy
 Added: Jun. 1, 2016
There are 123 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.0 after 41 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service