SAM LAY nous a quittés RIP











Sam Lay (born March 20, 1935, Birmingham, Alabama) is an American drummer and vocalist who has been performing since the late 1950s.[1][2][3][4] He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Life and career[edit]

Lay began his career in 1957, as the drummer for the Original Thunderbirds. He soon after became the drummer for the harmonica player Little Walter.[1]

In the early 1960s, Lay began recording and performing with prominent blues musicians, including Willie DixonHowlin’ WolfEddie TaylorJohn Lee HookerJunior WellsBo DiddleyMagic SamJimmy RogersEarl Hooker, and Muddy Waters.[5] The recordings Lay made during this time, along with Waters’s album Fathers and Sons, recorded in 1969, are considered to be among the definitive works of Waters and Wolf.[citation needed]

In the mid-1960s, Lay joined the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and recorded and toured extensively with them.[5] Bob Dylan used Lay as his drummer when he introduced electric rock at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Lay also recorded on Dylan’s track “Highway 61 Revisited“,[1] and may have provided the siren whistle Dylan famously uses on the track.[6]

Lay’s drumming can be heard on over 40 recordings for Chess Records, with many notable blues performers.[1] He toured the major blues festivals in the US and Europe with the Chess Records All-Stars.

In the late 1980s Lay was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, in Memphis. He has also been inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame, in Los Angeles, and the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland. He was nominated eight times for the coveted W. C. Handy Award for Best Instrumentalist, including a nomination in 2005.

Lay made two albums with his own band, released by Appaloosa Records and Evidence Records, and two recordings for Alligator Records with the Siegel-Schwall Band.[1] His own album, Sam Lay in Bluesland, released in 1969 by Blue Thumb Records, was produced by Nick Gravenites.[7]

He was nominated in 2000 for a Grammy Award for his performances on the CD Howlin’ Wolf Tribute. He was honored by the Recording Academy in January 2002 with a Legends and Heroes Award for his significant musical contributions. He was prominently featured in the PBS television documentary History of the Blues, broadcast in seven episodes, produced by the Academy Award–winning director Martin Scorsese. Lay shot many home movies of fellow blues performers in small Chicago venues in the late 1950s and 1960s,[8] parts of which were included in History of the Blues and the WTTW television production Record Row, by the filmmaker Michael MacAlpin.

In 2009, Lay worked alongside Johnnie Marshall.[9] In 2014, filmmaker John Anderson made the feature film Sam Lay in Bluesland.,[10] a documentary detailing Lay’s life.

Lay was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, in 2015.[11]



  • Sam Lay in Bluesland (Blue Thumb Records, 1969 [BTS 14])

As sideman[edit]

With Paul Butterfield

With Carey Bell

With Bob Dylan

With Lightnin’ Hopkins

With Howlin’ Wolf

With Magic Sam

With Muddy Waters

With the Siegel–Schwall Band


  1. Jump up to:a b c d e Erlewine, Michael. Sam Lay biography at AllMusic
  2. ^ Sam Lay biography Archived 2011-03-10 at the Wayback Machine at All About Jazz
  3. ^ Sam Lay biography Archived 2011-02-28 at the Wayback Machine at, official website of the Siegel-Schwall Band
  4. ^ Sam Lay biography Archived 2011-05-14 at the Wayback Machine at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame web site
  5. Jump up to:a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who’s Who of Blues (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 230. ISBN 0-85112-673-1.
  6. ^ Glover, Tony (1998). The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert (booklet). Bob DylanColumbia Records.
  7. ^ “Sam Lay – Sam Lay In Bluesland (1969, Vinyl)” Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  8. ^ Sam Lay Blues Collection Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine at Historic Films
  9. ^ Bob L. Eagle; Eric S. LeBlanc (May 2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. ABC-CLIO. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-313-34424-4.
  10. ^ “Sam Lay In Bluesland” Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  11. ^ “The Paul Butterfield Blues Band Biography | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum” 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2016-05-23.

External links[edit]


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