Otis Rush, the architect of West Side Sound, has died from complications from his stroke at age 84.
Rush was a pioneer of the Chicago blues scene.
His family made the announcement at otisrush.com.
Masaki Rush, wife of Otis Rush announced that on September 29, 2018 Mr. Rush, one of the most influential Chicago blues artists of all time passed away due to complications from a stroke which he initially suffered in 2003.
Known as a key architect of the Chicago “West Side Sound’ Rush exemplified the modernized minor key urban blues style with his slashing, amplified jazz-influenced guitar playing, high-strained passionate vocals and backing by a full horn section. Rush’s first recording in 1956 on Cobra Records ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ reached #6 on the Billboard R&B Charts and catapulted him to international acclaim. He went on to record a catalog of music that contains many songs that are now considered blues classics.
The family requests privacy at this difficult time and will announce more details at a future date. Cards and condolences may be sent to the Rush family to the address below.
c/o Bates Meyer, Inc.
PO Box 2821
Big Bear Lake,
California USA 92315
Otis Rush was a major influence on Eric Clapton and Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green. Stevie Ray Vaughan named his band Double Trouble after a Rush song. Duane Allman also credited him as a major influence.
Rush’s first single in 1956 was ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’. The Rolling Stones covered the song with Eric Clapton on their recent ‘Blue & Lonesome’ album.
Led Zeppelin also covered the track on their debut album in 1969.
Rush performed constantly until 1975 when he withdrew from live performance and recording. He stayed low for 10 years, making his comeback in 1985. His 1998 album ‘Any Place I’m Going’ earned him his first ever Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. It was also the last studio album he recorded.
The last Otis Rush appearance was at the Chicago Blues Festival in 2016.