Memphis Slim (September 3, 1915 – February 24, 1988) was an American blues pianist, singer, and composer. He led a series of bands that, reflecting the popular appeal of jump blues, included saxophones, bass, drums, and piano. A song he first cut in 1947, "Every Day I Have the Blues", has become a blues standard, recorded by many other artists. He made over 500 recordings. Slim first appeared outside the United States in 1960, touring with Willie Dixon, with whom he returned to Europe in 1962 as a featured artist in the first of the series of American Folk Festival concerts organized by Dixon and promoter Willie Dixon that brought many notable blues artists to Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. The duo released several albums together on Folkways Records, including, Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon at the Village Gate with Pete Seeger, in 1962. That same year, he moved permanently to Paris and his engaging personality and well-honed presentation of playing, singing, and storytelling about the blues secured his position as the most prominent blues artist for nearly three decades. He appeared on television in numerous European countries, acted in several French films and wrote the score for another, and performed regularly in Paris, throughout Europe, and on return visits to the United States. In the last years of his life, he teamed up with respected jazz drummer George Collier. The two toured Europe together and became friends. After Collier died in August 1987, Slim appeared in public very little.
Two years before his death, Slim was named a Commander in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of France. In addition, the U.S. Senate honored Slim with the title of Ambassador-at-Large of Good Will.
Memphis Slim died on February 24, 1988, of renal failure in Paris, France, at the age of 72. He is buried at Galilee Memorial Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1989, he was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
|Birth name||John Len Chatman|
|Born||September 3, 1915|
|Origin||Memphis, Tennessee, United States|
|Died||February 24, 1988 (aged 72)|
|Years active||1930s – 1980s|