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Bo Diddley

Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith dies at 75; blues musician

Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith dies at 75; blues musician

At 17, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith left the Arkansas farm where he was raised to travel to Chicago, where he first heard Muddy Waters when his mother took him to a club. Inspired by the great bluesman, Smith never went home. Instead, he taught himself to play harmonica and drums. Between 1961 and 1980, Smith played drums with the Waters band, combining his own deep feel for Mississippi Delta blues with Waters' unique Chicago sound. While Smith can be heard on several of Waters' Grammy-winning albums, he was also awarded a Grammy for "Joined at the Hip," a 2010 collaboration with piano player Pinetop Perkins. Smith, a longtime Chicago resident, died Sept. 16 at...