Lonnie Books, the legendary blues musician, has died at the age of 83. The Hall of Fame guitarist started his career in Texas, but died in his “adopted” hometown of Chicago on Saturday. The singer’s song “Sweet Home Chicago” sheds light on his love for the city.
Brooks, born in 1933 in Louisiana, started his career as Guitar Junior in the 50s in Port Arthur, Texas. Brooks didn’t rise to fame until he decided to move out of Port Arthur and head to Chicago to start his career. Chicago is the place where he changed his name to Lonnie Brooks and left his life as Guitar Junior behind him.
“Sweet Home Chicago” became an instant hit in 1980 and featured Robert Johnson.
Brooks became a blues legend in his own right, playing throughout clubs and venues in Chicago. His precision on the guitar can be heard on labels, such as Vee-Jay Records, Alligator Records and Chess Records, all Chicago labels.
The guitarist’s popularity in Chicago led to him touring with legends, including Buddy Guy, BB King and Koko Taylor.
Brooks’ achievements and contributions to the blues genre hit its pinnacle in 2010 when he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis.
The musician often pondered his legacy and even appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1993, stating that while he will be on the totem pole, he will come in on the last spot behind icons, such as Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy and several others.
Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Mayor, gave a statement on Sunday stating that Brooks was a “Chicago blues legend with a towering talent and soulful style that won him legions of fans across the country and around the world.”
The news of his passing was posted first to Wayne Baker Brooks’ Facebook page. Wayne is Lonnie’s son.