Chicago Pays Tribute To Muddy Waters With Mural, Formal Dedication

CHICAGO (CBS) — The nine-story-tall Muddy Waters mural in the Loop was formally dedicated Thursday, accompanied by – what else? The blues.

The mural has actually been up on the building at State and Washington for a year.

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Muddy Waters mural at State and Washington. (WBBM/Steve Miller)

But the City of Chicago and the Chicago Loop Alliance held Thursday a special performance and dedication ceremony for the Muddy Waters mural and to kick off the Chicago Blues Festival, happening June 9-11 in Millennium Park.

The special performance featured the Muddy Waters Legacy Band featuring Muddy’s sons Mud and Big Bill Morganfield and former band members, John Primer, Rick Kreher, Studebaker John, Edward McDaniel, Donny Nichilo and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith.

Muddy Waters’ family was at this dedication.

His great-granddaughter Chandra Cooper grew up in the same house where Muddy Waters lived in Westmont. She was 13 when he died.

“Just knowing that this mural is going to be here forever, it’s going to be a landmark,” Cooper said. “He loved Chicago. He loved the people of Chicago. And the fact that he’s being honored today means the world to us. That his legacy lives on in the city that he loved so much.”

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Muddy Waters’ attorney, Jay B. Ross remembered the Blues legend. (WBBM/Steve Miller)

Also at the dedication was 75-year-old Jay B. Ross, who was Muddy Waters’ attorney.

“I was just a kid. And he picked me out of nowhere and he made me into an entertainment lawyer. And now I have clients all over the world. And it all started with him.”

The nine-story-tall mural was created by street artist, Eduardo Kobra and his team. The mural was completed last May.

Kobra and the Muddy Waters Foundation will be hosting a pop-up shop selling merchandise inspired by the mural at the Virgin Hotel, 203 N. Wabash Avenue. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the Muddy Waters Foundation.

Additionally, the artist has created a limited edition of 100 prints of the Muddy mural in a print sized version.

Muddy Waters, whose real name was McKinley Morganfield, died in 1983 at the age of 70. Waters was said to be the artist who electrified the Chicago blues. He arrived in Chicago as part of the “great migration” of African Americans from the southern United States to Chicago in the late 1930s and 40s. Waters then transformed the Delta blues into the Chicago sound that has influenced generations of musicians.

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