Muddy Waters - Rollin' Stone - 1950

Muddy Waters and "Rollin' Stone"

Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield, was an American blues musician widely considered one of the fathers of modern Chicago blues. His song "Rollin' Stone" released in 1950, is one of his most famous works, influencing generations of musicians and even giving the legendary rock band The Rolling Stones their name.

Early Life and Career

Born on April 4, 1913, in Mississippi, Muddy Waters grew up in the heart of the Delta blues. He was first recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941. After moving to Chicago in the late 1940s, he became a prominent figure in the city's burgeoning blues scene.

"Rollin' Stone"

"Rollin' Stone" is a classic blues song that showcases Waters' mastery of the electric blues style. The song's lyrics speak to the theme of wandering and restlessness, a common motif in blues music. It's characterized by its steady rhythm and Waters' powerful, emotive voice.

Legacy and Influence

Muddy Waters' influence extends far beyond "Rollin' Stone". He inspired countless musicians, including the Rolling Stones, who named themselves after this song. His impact on rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and blues music is immeasurable.

For more information, check out the MOOCit on Muddy Waters and "Rollin' Stone".

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "Rollin' Stone" by Muddy Waters released? (1950) (!1948) (!1952) (!1945)

Which genre does "Rollin' Stone" belong to? (Blues) (!Rock and Roll) (!Jazz) (!Country)

What instrument is prominently featured in "Rollin' Stone"? (Electric Guitar) (!Piano) (!Harmonica) (!Saxophone)

What is a central theme of the song "Rollin' Stone"? (Wandering and Restlessness) (!Love and Heartbreak) (!Social Injustice) (!Joy and Celebration)

How did "Rollin' Stone" influence the Rolling Stones? (It inspired their band name) (!It was their debut song) (!They covered it on their first album) (!Muddy Waters wrote it for them)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What is Muddy Waters' real name? (McKinley Morganfield) (!Chester Burnett) (!Robert Johnson) (!John Lee Hooker)

Where was Muddy Waters born? (Mississippi) (!Louisiana) (!Tennessee) (!Arkansas)

What style of music is Muddy Waters most associated with? (Chicago Blues) (!Delta Blues) (!Electric Blues) (!Country Blues)

In what decade did Muddy Waters move to Chicago? (1940s) (!1930s) (!1950s) (!1960s)

Who first recorded Muddy Waters for the Library of Congress? (Alan Lomax) (!John Hammond) (!Sam Phillips) (!Ralph Peer)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

In "Rollin' Stone", what does the singer compare himself to? (A Rollin' Stone) (!A Broken Heart) (!A Wandering Soul) (!A Lonely Night)

What is the mood conveyed by the lyrics of "Rollin' Stone"? (Melancholic and Reflective) (!Joyful and Uplifting) (!Angry and Rebellious) (!Romantic and Loving)

Which of the following lines is a lyric from "Rollin' Stone"? ("Well, I wish I was a catfish") (!"The sky is crying") (!"I'm a king bee buzzing around your hive") (!"The thrill is gone")

How does the song "Rollin' Stone" conclude lyrically? (With a sense of ongoing wandering) (!With a resolution of finding home) (!With a reunion with a loved one) (!With a celebration of freedom)

What recurring blues theme is evident in "Rollin' Stone"? (Loneliness and Rootlessness) (!Redemption and Salvation) (!Economic Hardship) (!Love and Betrayal)


Create a memory game with matching pairs for this topic. Insert suitable texts (at least 5 pairs) using exactly the following format, write only the text and leave no characters out, do not transform anything into a table, etc.

Muddy Waters McKinley Morganfield
"Rollin' Stone" Release Year 1950
Main Instrument in "Rollin' Stone" Electric Guitar
Muddy Waters' Birthplace Mississippi
Influenced Band Name The Rolling Stones

Open Tasks


  1. Research Muddy Waters: Explore more about Muddy Waters' early life and career. How did his upbringing influence his music?
  2. Draw a Blues Scene: Create a drawing or painting inspired by the song "Rollin' Stone". Try to capture the mood of the song in your artwork.
  3. Explore Blues Music: Listen to other blues artists from the same era as Muddy Waters. Notice any similarities and differences in style.


  1. Write a Blues Song: Write your own blues song, inspired by the themes and style of "Rollin' Stone".
  2. Music Genre Comparison: Compare the blues style of Muddy Waters with another genre, such as rock or jazz. How does the emotional expression differ?
  3. Interview a Musician: Interview a local blues musician. Ask about their influences and thoughts on Muddy Waters and "Rollin' Stone".


  1. Analyze Blues Lyrics: Analyze the lyrics of "Rollin' Stone" in-depth. Discuss the themes of wandering and restlessness in the context of post-war America.
  2. Study the Blues Scale: Learn about the blues scale and try playing it on an instrument. How does it contribute to the mood of a blues song?
  3. Explore Blues History: Research the history of blues music, focusing on its origins, evolution, and cultural impact.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss Muddy Waters' Influence: Discuss how Muddy Waters influenced both the blues genre and other music genres. What makes his style unique?
  2. Blues as Cultural Expression: Explain how blues music reflects the social and cultural conditions of its time. Use "Rollin' Stone" as an example.
  3. Compare Lyrics: Compare the lyrics of "Rollin' Stone" to a modern blues or rock song. What has changed and what has remained constant in the themes?

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