Otis Rush, 1934-2018
Blues legends are born every now and then, and grace the airwaves and our ears with melodic, mournful and soulful sounds; with a guitar, a harmonica and even a violin. One such guitar legend is Otis Rush. Rush died on Saturday, September 29th due to complications from a stroke he suffered in 2003. He was 84.
His guitar and vocal stylings influenced guitar legends such as Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimmy Page. Born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, Rush moved to Chicago in the late 1940s and made a name for himself headlining in clubs on the South side and West side.
One of Rush’s hit songs, “I Can’t Quit You, Baby,” written by fellow blues great Willie Dixon, reached number six on the Billboard R&B chart in 1956. In 1984, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame. In 1999, Rush won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Recording for “Any Place I’m Going.” Though that LP would be his last full-length studio effort, Rush contributed to various tribute albums and remained a regular live performer until health issues forced him off the road. Rush continued to tour and play throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s. After his stroke in 2003, he never took the stage again.
Rush leaves behind his wife Masaki Rush, eight children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, according to a family statement.