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Blues pianist Pinetop Perkins dies at 97

March 21, 2011 |  4:03 pm


Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins, a blues pianist known for his aggressive style of playing and his gravelly voice, died Monday at his home in Austin, Texas, according to an announcement on his website. He was 97.

Perkins, seen in a YouTube clip above, woke up with chest pains and died of cardiac arrest, according to his manager, Hugh Southard.

Perkins accompanied Sonny Boy Williamson on the popular King Biscuit Time radio show broadcast on KFFA in Helena, Ark., in the 1940s. He toured with Ike Turner in the 1950s and joined Muddy Waters' band in 1969.

Perkins won a Grammy in February for best traditional blues album for "Joined at the Hip: Pinetop Perkins & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith." That win made Perkins the oldest Grammy winner.

More later at

-- Associated Press