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When it comes to the history of guitar playing, there are a few names that immediately come to mind: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page, to name a few. But one name that often goes underappreciated is that of Alexis Korner. Known as the Father of British Blues, Korner played a crucial role in shaping the sound of British rock and roll. His guitar playing style and innovative approach to music left a lasting impact on generations to come.



Born in Paris in 1928, Korner grew up in a multicultural background that greatly influenced his music. By the time he moved to London in the early 1940s, he had already embraced various musical genres, including jazz, blues, and folk. It was in London where Korner’s musical journey truly began to take shape.

Korner started his career by playing acoustic guitar in various bands, experimenting with different styles and techniques. However, it was his love for blues that eventually drove him to form one of the first British blues bands, Blues Incorporated. With this band, Korner laid the groundwork for what would become the British blues scene, attracting young aspiring musicians who would go on to make names for themselves.

One of the most notable aspects of Korner’s guitar playing was his ability to seamlessly blend different styles, creating a unique and distinct sound. He effortlessly transitioned between acoustic and electric guitar, incorporating elements of jazz and folk into his blues-based playing. Korner’s versatility on the guitar set him apart from his contemporaries and paved the way for future guitarists to explore different genres and techniques.

Another aspect of Korner’s playing that made him stand out was his use of improvisation. He was known for his ability to take a basic blues riff and expand it into a mesmerizing solo, showcasing his technical prowess and creativity. Whether it was through the use of slide guitar or innovative chord progressions, Korner always pushed the boundaries, never content with sticking to the status quo.



Korner’s influence can be heard in countless rock and blues guitarists who came after him. His impact on the likes of Clapton, Page, and Keith Richards, among others, is evident in their playing styles and the music they created. Through his collaborations, Korner played a significant role in introducing British audiences to American blues, bringing the genre into the mainstream and inspiring countless musicians.



Sadly, Alexis Korner’s contributions to music often go unnoticed or underappreciated today. But it is essential to acknowledge his remarkable talent and the legacy he left behind. His pioneering guitar playing and innovative approach to music laid the foundation for the British blues and rock scenes, forever altering the course of popular music.

So the next time you’re listening to your favorite blues or rock guitarist, take a moment to remember the man who paved the way for them. Alexis Korner’s guitar playing was a force to be reckoned with, and his impact on music cannot be overstated. Let’s give credit where credit is due and celebrate the influential contributions of this unsung hero of guitar playing.

Cover photo credit

Alexis Korner 2411720015” by Heinrich Klaffs is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0