Walter VinsonWalter Vinson was born on 02/02/1901 in Bolton, Mississippi. He would rarely perform on his own, preferring to perform as part of a group.
In the mid-1920s, Vinson worked alongside Son Spand, Rubin Lacey and Charlie McCoy.
In 1928, Vinson teamed up with Lonnie Chatmon. Chatmon and Vinson formed the Mississippi Sheiks.
In the early 1930s, the Mississippi Sheiks and related groups such as Mississippi Mud Steppers, the Mississippi Hot Footers and Blacksnakes, recorded around a hundred sides. These songs would include original compositions such as "The World is Going Wrong", "I've Got Blood in My Eyes For You" and "Sales Tax". Vinson claimed he composed "Sitting on Top of the World" the morning after a white dance in Greenwood, Mississippi.
In 1933, the Mississippi Sheiks disbanded. Vinson would then move around the US recording with various musicians including Leroy Carter and Mary Butler. He moved from Jackson, Mississippi to New Orleans and the then finally to Chicago.
By the mid-1940s, Vinson was not appearing in blues clubs often. He would take a break from music.
In 1960, Vinson came back to playing music. He performed at various music festivals and recorded more tracks. By the late 1960s, Vinson's health had deteriorated due to hardening of the arteries and he stopped performing.
In 1972, Vinson moved to a Chicago nursing home.
On 22/04/1975, Vinson died in Chicago.
In 2004, the Mississippi Sheiks were inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame.
In 2008, "Sitting on Top of the World" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In 2009, Steve Salter of the nonprofit organisation Killer Blues raised money through a concert to place a headstone on Vinson's grave. The concert was at Howmet Playhouse Theater in Whitehall, Michigan. It featured blues musicians Thomas Esparza and Lonnie Blonde.