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Willie Dixon

Willie Dixon, one of 14 children, was born on 1 July 1915 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. After stints as a gospel singer and boxer, he settled in Chicago where he met Phil and Leonard Chess and began a long association with their seminal record label.

At Chess, he was A&R man, musical director, bassist, producer and arranger for the likes of Bo Diddley, Muddy WatersHowlin’ Wolf and Chuck Berry.

The burly bass player played on most of the classic Chess sessions of the 50s, and also wrote countless classic songs, including Little Red RoosterI Just Want To Make Love To YouSpoonfulI’m your Hoochie Coochie Man and Back Door Man.

His compositions were covered by The Rolling StonesElvis PresleyJimi HendrixCreamJeff Beck and The Doors.

In 1985, more than 15 years after they scored their only Top Ten hit with Whole Lotta LoveLed Zeppelin were sued by Dixon who claimed the song was a remake of his own composition, You Need Love.

Dixon died of heart failure in a Burbank, California, hospital on 29 January 1992, aged 76.