Samuel Maghett was born on Valentines Day 1937 on a farm in central Mississippi, where he learned to play the guitar by stretching strings tied to nails driven into a wall. His family moved to Chicago in 1950, where Sam got his first guitar.
He began singing at the insistence of another Chicago blues friend, Shakey Jake. He had a soft, smoky voice and an almost offhand delivery as a vocalist. His guitar work was more sinewy, insinuating, more jazz-like, less pyrotechnic than most of his blues contemporaries.
Like Wes Montgomery, Sam never used a pick, and this added to his individual sound.
Sam began recording at the age of 20 and recorded singles for many little-known labels like Cobra, Chief, Crash and Delmark.
Magic Sam died of a heart attack in December 1969 at his Chicago home. He was just 32.
At the time of his death, he had been talking with bassist-producer Duck Dunn about recording for Stax in Memphis.