“He was one of the last great blues guitar heroes. He was an electric God,” said Gregg Parker, CEO and a founder of the Chicago Blues Museum. Rush catapulted to international fame in 1956 with his first recording on Cobra Records of “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” which reached No. 6 on the Billboard R&B charts. He loved to play to live audiences, from small clubs on the West Side of Chicago to sold out venues in Europe and Japan and hi had a particular behavior: “He preferred to go out and play and go back and sleep in his own bed. He was not a show business guy,” his longtime manager Rick Bates said.
Otis Rush after he won the Grammy
Rush influenced artists from Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton to the rock band Led Zeppelin. He was a key architect of the Chicago “West Side Sound” in the 1950s and 1960s, which modernised traditional blues to introduce more of a jazzy, amplified sound. He won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Recording in 1999 for “Any Place I’m Going,” and was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984. Rush was well-known for wearing a cowboy hat when he performed. He was left-handed, using his right hand to fret. The artist had eight children and numerous grand- and great grandchildren.