Educational Facts


  • Blues is a musical genre as well as a musical form.

  • The term “blues” refers to a style of music that was originally associated with depressing themes and sounds: we experience “the blues” when we’re down.
  • Blues, though, has evolved to address different issues and feelings, adopting a more general goal of “driving the blues away” with music.


  • Around the 1860s, African-Americans in the Deep South of the United States developed the blues, which had its roots in spirituals and labour songs.

  • Work songs and field hollers, ragtime, church music, minstrel shows, and the folk and popular music of the white population were all influences.
  • African women, starting with Mamie Smith, recorded the first blues songs in the 1920s. In 1920, her performance of American pianist Perry Bradford’s “Crazy Blues” was so well received that the General Phonograph Company’s OKeh label began releasing records under the moniker “Original Race Recordings.” At Black-owned newspapers, only African People received the advertising.


  • Early blues typically had a loose narrative structure and frequently discussed issues in African American society.
  • In addition to enhancing the trance-like rhythm and call-and-response, blues shuffles and walking bass combine to create a repeated effect known as a groove.

  • Throughout the first decade of the twentieth century, the blues started to become a part of popular music. Memphis, which hosted musicians like Memphis Minnie and W.C. Handy (who honored the city in his song “Memphis Blues”), was an early center for the musical genre.
  • In honor of yet another blues-thriving metropolis, Handy wrote “St. Louis Blues”.

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