Music History

Music History Biographies

Music History Of The Week

Music History Calendar

Johnny Shines

Johnny Shines was born on 26/04/1915 in Frayser, Memphis, Tennessee. His mother taught him how to play the guitar. He mostly grew up in Memphis and played slide guitar at juke joints and on the streets.
In 1932, Shines moved to Hughes, Arkansas. There he worked on farms for three years and gave up on his music career. He met the blues guitarist Robert Johnson, who persuaded him to return to music.
In 1935, Shines went on tour with Johnson in the US and Canada.
In 1937, Shines and Johnson parted ways. Johnson would die the year afterwards.
In 1941, Shines moved to Chicago after spending the previous years touring the southern US. In Chicago, he worked in the construction industry but continued to perform in local bars.
In 1946, Shines made his first recording for Columbia Records. The takes were never released.
In 1950, Shines recorded for Chess Records. Again the recordings were not released. He would continue to play in the Chicago Blues scene.
In 1952, Shines recorded for J.O.B. Records. Many people consider it his best work. The recordings were, however, a failure. Shines lost faith in the music industry, sold his equipment and returned to construction work.
In 1966, Vanguard Records found Shines in a Chicago Blues club taking photographs. He recorded tracks for the third volume of "Chicago/The Blues/Today". The album was a success and Shines became part of the mainstream music scene.
Shines toured as part of the "Chicago All Stars" which also included Lee Jackson, Big Walter Horton and Willie Dixon.
In 1969, Shines moved to Holt, Alabama. He was invited to play at a campus coffee house called "the Down Under" by a University of Alabama student called Natalie Mattson who ran it. Shines would play there several times and would be joined on stage by Mississippi Fred McDowell. Shines would continue to play the international blues circuit whilst living in Holt.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, Shines went on tour with Robert Lockwood Jr (Robert Johnson's stepson).
In 1980, Shine suffered a stroke.
In 1989, Shines met Kent DuChaine and the two of them would tour together for several years.
In 1991, Shines appeared and played on the documentary "The Search for Robert Johnson". In the same year, Shines released the album "Back to the Country". It would win a W.C. Handy award.
On 20/04/1992, Shines died in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Later in 1992, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
If you would like more, come join our Music News and History Facebook Group Community