Eddie Boyd – Key To The Highway
Edward Riley “Eddie” Boyd[nb 1] (November 25, 1914 – July 13, 1994) was an American blues pianist, singer and songwriter, best known for his recordings in the early 1950s including the number one R&B chart hit “Five Long Years”.
Life and career
He was born either on Stovall’s Plantation, near Clarksdale, Mississippi or on Frank Moore’s Plantation, near Stovall, Mississippi.He learned guitar and piano, on which he was influenced by the styles of Roosevelt Sykes and Leroy Carr.
Boyd moved to the Beale Street district of Memphis, Tennessee, in 1936, where he played with his group, the Dixie Rhythm Boys. He then joined the great migration north to the factories of Chicago in 1941.
He recorded for Bluebird Records, accompanying such musicians as Sonny Boy Williamson, Jazz Gillum, Muddy Waters, and Tampa Red, before making his first recordings under his own name in 1947.
He decided to produce his own recordings, and took two demos to Joe Brown at J.O.B. Records, who agreed to re-record the tracks. In May 1952 he recorded “Five Long Years”, which became a huge hit, topping the Billboard R&B chart for seven weeks towards the end of the year.
He signed to the Parrot label, who then sold his contract to Chess. Boyd had two further hits on Chess in 1953, “24 Hours”, and “Third Degree” (co-written by Willie Dixon), which both reached number 3 on the R&B chart.
He went on to record for a series of smaller labels in the 1950s, but an automobile accident in 1957 affected his career. Boyd toured Europe with Buddy Guy’s band in 1965 as part of the American Folk Blues Festival. He later toured and recorded with Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.
Five Long Years (Fontana, 1966)
Eddie Boyd and His Blues Band Featuring Peter Green (Decca, 1967)
7936 South Rhodes (Blue Horizon, 1968)
Praise to Helsinki (Love Records, 1970)
The Legacy of the Blues, vol. 10 (Sonet, 1974)
Brotherhood (Finnish Blues Society, 1975)
My Lady (Lobo, 1978)
Soulful (Magic Angel, 1980)
A Sad Day (Paris, 1980)
Lover’s Playground (Stockholm, 1984)
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