© 2022 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Blues legend Henry Townsend dies at 96

Henry Townsend, at the 2006 Chicago Blues fest (photo from St. Louis Blues Society)


St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis music scene has lost a second legend in two weeks. Blues guitarist and pianist Henry Townsend died Sunday night in Wisconsin, where he had gone to play in a blues festival. He was 96.

Townsend moved to St. Louis when he was about 12 from Cairo, Ill. The player and song-writer, who was known as 'the mule,' later played with several blues greats, including Robert Johnson, and Walter Davis. His recognitions include a spot on the St. Louis Walk of Fame and a National Heritage Award in 1985 for being a "master artist."

Townsend's death comes just two week safter another well-known St. Louis bluesman, Bennie Smith, died.


Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.