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Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater: 1935-2018

| June 3, 2018

Blues legend Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, who passed away on June 1 of heart failure, towered over the Chicago music scene both literally and figuratively. At six feet four, he cut a striking figure, slashing his left-handed guitar with his signature blues, rock and funk riffs. Born in a Mississippi cotton field and nurtured by rural juke joints and West Side blues pioneers, Eddy personified the journey and breadth of blues culture. Young Edward Harrington started out playing guitar in church for the Five Blind Boys of Alabama and moved to performing on stages all over the globe. Greatly influenced by the skill and versatility of jump blues pioneer Louis Jordan, Eddy was able to command a variety of styles and attracted a following from blues, rock and country fans. Genuine and warm, with a steady and positive personality that connected with everyone he met, Eddy was loved wherever he went. Nicknamed “The Chief” for his outsized presence, Eddy Clearwater’ produced 15 solo albums, and a far-reaching blues legacy that will always live on.

“There will never be anyone as humble and grateful for life and his opportunity to play the blues for you then, Eddy Clearwater,” said his publicist/archivist, Lynn Orman Weiss. “He was so honored to be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2016 and to receive proclamations naming it Eddy Clearwater Day on his birthday, January 10th 2018 from Westmont, IL and Skokie, IL, his two residences. Eddy was proud to have lived in Skokie, IL for the past 20 years with his wife, Renee, and their family. He loved the village so much he just penned a song, “Skokie A First Class Town.” Eddy was going to be the Grand Marshall for this year’s Fourth of July Parade. Eddy was family, I was his publicist and neighbor for the past ten years, and we enjoyed holidays and celebrations together. I will continue to celebrate his life, his music, and his legacy.”

Funeral services will be Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at 11 AM at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 Skokie Blvd.,  Skokie, IL 60077. Interment is private. Eddy ‘The Chief’ Clearwater will be honored on Sunday, June 10, at Blues For Breakfast at Motor Row Brewing, 2337 South Michigan Ave., Chicago, from 8-11 AM. The tribute will include Wayne Baker Brooks Band (Original Chicago Blues All Stars/Freddie Dixon (Willie Dixon’s son), Joseph Morganfield (Muddy Waters’ son), Oscar Wilson, Andre Taylor and more.

-Rosalind Cummings-Yeates


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