"Mannish Boy" (or "Manish Boy") is a blues standard by Muddy Waters first recorded in 1955. It is both an arrangement of and an "answer song" to Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man", which was in turn inspired by Waters' and Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man", in first release it was titled "Manish Boy."
Muddy Waters versions
The original version of "Mannish Boy" was recorded in Chicago on May 24, 1955, under the title "Manish Boy." Accompanying Muddy Waters were Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Junior Wells on harmonica, Fred Below on drums, and an un-identified female chorus. The original version was the only recording done by Muddy Waters between January 1953 and June 1957 that did not feature Little Walter on harmonica and was one of few studio recordings with Junior Wells.
Muddy Waters recorded several versions of "Mannish Boy" during his career. In 1968, he recorded it for the Electric Mud album in Marshall Chess' attempt to attract the rock market. After he left Chess, he recorded it for the 1977 Hard Again album which was produced by Johnny Winter. The song also was included on the live album Muddy "Mississippi" Waters - Live (1979). Waters also performed it at The Band's farewell concert The Last Waltz which was shot on film.
Charts and accolades
In 1986, Muddy Waters' original "Mannish Boy" was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame "Classics of Blues Recordings" category. It was also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". "Mannish Boy" is ranked #229 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
A cover by Jimi Hendrix appears on the compilation album Blues. Paul Butterfield covered the song in 1986 on his album The Legendary Paul Butterfield Rides Again. It was covered by Hindu Love Gods in their album of the same name. The song also appears on The Bocephus Box, a three-CD box set by Hank Williams, Jr., released in 2000. Elliott Murphy covered it in 2005 on Murphy gets Muddy. The Rolling Stones have often incorporated this song, among other blues standards, into their live set, and it can be heard on the albums Love You Live and Rarities 1971-2003. Wolfmother did a cover of the song for their special edition version of Cosmic Egg. Black Stone Cherry performed a heavier version along with "Hoochie Coochie Man" in October 2009 at Rockaplast in Germany.
It was further rearranged in the 2003 Martin Scorsese documentary film series titled The Blues. In the fifth film, titled Godfathers and Sons and directed by Marc Levin, Mannish Boy was redone by The ElectriK Mud Kats (a.k.a. The Electric Mud Band, Muddy Waters' backing group from his album Electric Mud) with vocals by hip hop artists Chuck D, Common & Kyle Jason.
A version of the song performed by "The Mannish Boys" was featured during the credits at the end of the 2007 movie, What Love Is.
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