Earl King - Blues Guitarist, vocalist (1934 - 2003)
Earl King, a native of New Orleans, was a flamboyant performer, singing with bluesy ease and playing guitar solos that curled and sliced across the rolling New Orleans beat. He recorded hundreds of songs that were rooted in both the 12-bar blues and New Orleans lore, with lyrics that could tell wry, compressed stories or come up with wild-eyed imagery. While Earl King performed widely, his songs also traveled by way of other musicians: Jimi Hendrix, who recorded King's ''Come On'' as ''Let the Good Times Roll,'' the Meters, who recorded ''Trick Bag,'' and Professor Longhair, who played piano and had the performer credit on the original 1964 version of King's ''Big Chief,'' although it featured King's vocals and whistling. The Professor Longhair recording and remakes of ''Big Chief'' by performers including Allen Toussaint and Dr. John are still heard every year at Mardi Gras time.