Edward Riley Boyd[1][nb 1] (November 25, 1914 – July 13, 1994)[3] was an American blues pianist, singer and songwriter, best known for his recordings in the early 1950s, including the number one R&B chart hit "Five Long Years".

Eddie Boyd
Eddie Boyd (1968).jpg
Boyd in 1968
Background information
Birth nameEdward Riley Boyd
Born(1914-11-25)November 25, 1914
Shelby or near Stovall, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedJuly 13, 1994(1994-07-13) (aged 79)
Helsinki, Finland
GenresBlues
Occupation(s)Singer, musician, songwriter
InstrumentsPiano
Years active1930s–1990s
LabelsJOB, Chess

Life and careerEdit

Boyd was born either on Stovall's Plantation, near Clarksdale, Mississippi,[4] or on Frank Moore's Plantation, near Stovall, Mississippi.[2] He learned to play the guitar and the piano. His piano playing was influenced by the styles of Roosevelt Sykes and Leroy Carr.[3]

Boyd moved to the Beale Street district of Memphis, Tennessee, in 1936, where he played with his group, the Dixie Rhythm Boys. He then joined the Great Migration of African Americans north to the factories of Chicago in 1941.[4] He recorded for Bluebird Records, accompanying such musicians as Sonny Boy Williamson, Jazz Gillum, Muddy Waters, and Tampa Red, before making his first recordings under his own name, in 1947.[3]

He decided to produce his own recordings, and took two demos to Joe Brown at J.O.B. Records, who agreed to re-record the tracks. In May 1952 he recorded "Five Long Years", which became a huge hit, topping the Billboard R&B chart for seven weeks late in the year.[1] He signed with Parrot Records, which then sold his contract to Chess Records. Boyd had two further hits for Chess in 1953, "24 Hours" and "Third Degree" (co-written by Willie Dixon), both of which reached number three on the R&B chart.[4][1]

He went on to record for a series of smaller labels in the 1950s, but an automobile accident in 1957 in which he was injured put his career on hold for a while.[3] Boyd toured Europe with Buddy Guy's band in 1965 as part of the American Folk Blues Festival.[4] He later toured and recorded with Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

Unhappy with the racial discrimination faced in the United States, Boyd moved to Belgium,[3] where he recorded with the Dutch band Cuby and the Blizzards. He moved again, in 1970, to Helsinki, Finland,[4] where he continued to perform and recorded ten blues records, the first being Praise to Helsinki (1970). He married his wife, Leila, in 1977.

Boyd died in 1994 in Helsinki. A few months later, Eric Clapton's chart-topping blues album From the Cradle, which includes interpretations of Boyd's "Five Long Years" and "Third Degree", was released.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Eddie Boyd among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[5]

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

  • Five Long Years (Fontana, 1966)
  • Eddie Boyd and His Blues Band Featuring Peter Green (Decca, 1967)
  • 7936 South Rhodes (Blue Horizon, 1968)
  • Praise to Helsinki (Love Records, 1970)
  • The Legacy of the Blues, vol. 10 (Sonet, 1974)
  • Brotherhood (Finnish Blues Society, 1975)
  • My Lady (Lobo, 1978)
  • Soulful (Magic Angel, 1980)
  • A Sad Day (Paris, 1980)
  • Lover's Playground (Stockholm, 1984)

Live albumEdit

CompilationsEdit

  • Vacation from the Blues (Jefferson, 1976)
  • Rattin' and Runnin' Around (Crown Prince, 1981)
  • No More of This Third Degree (Teldec, 1982)
  • The Best of Eddie Boyd (P-Vine, 1984)
  • Third Degree (Orbis/Charly, 1993)
  • The Complete Recordings, vols. 1 and 2 (EPM, 2001, 2004)
  • Eddie Boyd in Finland (Blue North, 2005)
  • The Blues Is Here to Stay (Jasmine, 2013)
  • Vacation from the Blues (Mojo, 2015)

Charting singlesEdit

Guest appearancesEdit

With Magic Sam

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc give his birth name as Will Joe Boyd Jr.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–1995. Record Research. pp. 41–42.
  2. ^ a b Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. p. 192. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  3. ^ a b c d e Dahl, Bill. Eddie Boyd: Biography. AllMusic. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. pp. 94–95. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  5. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.